Saturday, February 09, 2008

We’ve been assured by the government that our current economic travails are in no way its fault. Furthermore, they’re apparently just a bump in the road and things will be fine shortly after the PSOE’s return to power. Meanwhile, Spain’s self-employed have been told they, too, will get the annual €400 bribe promised to other taxpayers. But not those of us living off capital or on a pension, as far as I’m aware. Which ranks as ageism to me. But this is probably another ism which doesn’t officially exist here.

Which reminds me, the Leader of the Opposition has decided to play the immigration card, which may or may amount to a race card as well. Like Sarkozy in France, he’s suggested that immigrants sign a binding contract and, more importantly, that they be expelled from Spain after their first crime. Provided they’re not from the EU, of course. Say, Rumania, for example. Implementation of this latter policy may prove a little problematic, I suspect. And I wonder if it‘ll be used to send home all the Chinese entrepreneurs who commit the crime of keeping their bazaars open at hours which suit their customers.

Hillary Clinton is reported to have received the support of 64% of Hispanic voters. The reason I’ve seen adduced for this is that they liked what her husband did. Which seems odd to me but there you go. Anyone got a better theory? Anything to do with policies?

This is how the voting is going among Spanish friends on the issue of how long it will be before Spain has una presidente. The 4-year progression matches the electoral process:-
4 years – 4 [Aguirre, after Rajoy is ousted for failing]
8 years – 2 [Fernández de la Vega]
12 years – 3
16 years – 2
20 years – 1
More than 100 years – 1 Possibly not a serious response.

Incidentally, not one of these thirteen people expect the conservative PP opposition to win the general elections in March. Which will be some compensation to Graeme at South of Watford for the looming shadow of his bête noire, Esperanza Aguirre. And I have almost 8 years to consider moving on from Spain.


More fun down in Pontevedra’s old quarter last night. This time the mock cortège of Ravachol, a [very] large stuffed parrot, which was ultimately immolated in the town’s main square. This ceremony marks the end of the temporary farewell to the good times [carne, vale] and the real beginning of Lent. All over Galicia, effigies are burned after similar processions. Along the coast, they're usually massive sardines but we have a parrot. As I hinted the other day, any lady you see at this event dressed in natty widow weeds and fishnet stockings is as likely to be male as female. So not a night to risk chatting up anyone.

Returning from the fiesta event on the night of Shrove Tuesday, I noticed a heron [garza] standing rather transfixed in the middle of the river, not three metres away from me. The object of its stare was a large tawny owl [cárabo], which fled to a nearby roof on seeing me. As I went to get my bins from the car, the birds flew at each and performed a short aerial battle which, fortunately, ended victimless. And which left me wondering what enmity drove them to this. Surely the owl wasn’t after the fish and the heron wasn’t after the rats below the bridge. Was it something one of them said? Perhaps that classic English yob line, “Are you looking at my bird?”

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