I went to a presentation on Clickair’s imminent Vigo-London flight last night. As the slide-show began to roll – cue plane taking off – the first line of the accompanying song was ‘You are a falling star’. Which I, for one, didn’t feel was terribly appropriate. Especially to a nervous flier like me. So I was rather glad I missed out on the raffle for 10 tickets which I woke up for. But it was a close thing and I was saved by a single digit.
My recent quoting of William Chislett’s views on Spanish family life drew the comment from reader Pamela that things perhaps aren’t quite as hunky-dory as they seem. Certainly, I think it’s true that the Anglo perception that Spanish families are, on the whole, happier than those in their culture is exactly that – a perception. Spanish friends confirm that there often are problems and tensions within the family but that it’s simply not done – for reasons of honour – to wash dirty linen in public. And I can attest that any Scouse-type aggressive humour at the expense of one’s relatives tends to be met with looks of stupefied amazement, if not downright shock. It’s just not done here. Some would argue this is a form of hypocrisy but I doubt you’ll get many Spaniards to accept this. Hypocrisy is a uniquely British disease, it seems. On the other hand, it’s commonplace to hear here in Galicia that land issues are responsible for bitter and long-lasting family feuds. But no names and no pack drill. That would be at least dishonourable or, worse, ignoble.
The other comment which drew readers’ comments recently was about the quality of wines in Spain, particularly the reds of The Rioja and the reds [Mencia] and premier white [Albariño] of Galicia. I’ve now forced myself to enter my nearest Carrefour so as to check my claim that it’s possible to find poor quality Rioja and Albariño on sale. Sure enough, the lowest priced bottle of Rioja was a mere €2.55, though you could buy six in a box and bring this down to €1.60. There was also a bottle of Ribera del Duero at €2.80 but the lowest price was for a bottle of Mencia [from Xuan-Carlos’s favoured Bierzo region] at €1.35. Shocked at all this, I not only forgot to check the Albariño prices but also to put a €6.00 bottle of Mencia from our region’s Ribera Sagra area in my basket. Which was a bit of an embarrassment at the check-out. When I accused the woman behind me of stealing it. Not really. But I did have to go back for it.
And that’s the sort of day it’s been. Under a sky still laden with rain. Thank God I’ve still got 500 pages of Paul Preston’s biography of Franco with which to cheer myself up. And a bottle of Mencia, of course.