I now read that not only does the law demand you leave at least 30cm between you and the next car when you park but that the maximum is 50cm. If the police really do enforce this here in Pontevedra, there’ll be few of the populace left un-fined. But I take comfort from the last campaign I can recall. This centred on stopping people crossing the roads anywhere except via the notoriously dangerous zebra crossings. On Day One, this was duly enforced by policemen who looked decidedly self-conscious and embarrassed. Thereafter, they reverted to previous duties, whatever these are. Issuing and then cancelling parking tickets, it seems to me. Oh, and creating traffic chaos by descending on road junctions and roundabout in duos and trios, furiously blowing whistles and issuing contradictory hand-signals. But it all adds to the gaiety of life. Especially if, like me, you are a passing pedestrian.
I read in another blog – I fancy Notes from Spain – of how people who bring families find it hard to adjust to Spanish life. One factor mentioned was the ‘mañana mentality’. But, of course, you have to take the rough with the smooth and this perceived negative must be a major contributing factor to the lower cost of living here. Lower staff to customer ratios, longer delivery lead times because products are not held in stock, etc. etc. Did I mention it’s now 3 weeks since I ordered a laser printer from the Canon dealer in town and was told it would take a week? And all they had to do was get it from the main dealer in Madrid.
Back in the UK, intrusive surveillance has been taken to a new extreme. Some of the ladies who guide kids across zebra crossings near schools are to be issued with hat-cameras so they can film the drivers who shout at them. Doubtless there’ll be a new TV program soon, giving us clips of these atrocities.
On a more macro plane, comfort comes this morning from a Times correspondent who believes that most of the current global crises – though not Global Warming, I guess – have been caused primarily by speculators and are now past their peak. However, the writer feels there’s worse to come for European economies, though without saying why.
It hasn’t been easy to get ginger over the years here in Pontevedra and - as it’s essential for my world-famous stir-frys and curries - I was pleased to see a little bit nestling in a basket in the window of a greengrocer’s I was passing. As I paid for it, the elderly lady next to me asked what on earth it was. So I checked with the rather younger ladies to whom I give a conversation class on Monday evenings – i. e. I talk and they listen – as to whether they were familiar with it. Only one was, possibly because she was raised in Mexico. But I hear the new Indian restaurant down in Vegetables Square is thriving, despite the fact – or possibly because – the milder dishes all taste as if they’ve had a kilo of sugar chucked in. The owners of the Delhi Restaurant are, of course, from Bangladesh. Probably sugar importers.
Another day, another memory lapse on my part and another stolen umbrella! But, hang on. The chicas behind the bar are laughing and saying things like “You and your bloody umbrellas”, before handing me the bright orange and blue monstrosity I’d counted on no one having the chutzpah to nick. It’s so annoying when your prejudices are unconfirmed.
Finally, it’s not often I get the word greengrocer into my blog twice. Or even once. But here’s a good example of the ‘greengrocers’ apostrophe’, from the article I cited above about surveillance in the UK - The move comes after 1,400 such incidents were reported to council's throughout the country last year. And this in a British national paper! Time to emigrate.