Friday, June 06, 2008

The three-hour lunch I enjoyed on Wednesday was hosted by the mayor of a town not too far from La Coruña. This morning I finally got round to looking at the tourist brochure he kindly gave me. This lauds the town’s attractions under three headings – What to see?, Where to eat? and What to do?. I suspect the question mark is particularly appropriate for the last of these, as the list runs:-
- A free guided tour by the Council of significant places
- The possibility of visiting a bakery to see how our famous bread is made, and
- The possibility of having a guided tour of the sewage works, to see how it functions
Desperate times, desperate measures.

Talking of which - Only a day or so after our Economics Minister again insisted things aren’t that bad and forecast 2008 growth of between 2.0 and 2.3%, the OECD has issued a projection of 1.6%. But there is some good news – Things are worse in the UK. Which – says the OECD – is ‘uniquely vulnerable to the direst financial conditions since the early 1990s’. But, to be honest, reading about the respective economies I often find it hard to figure out which one’s being written about, so similar are the details of inflation, house-price falls and unemployment rises. So, successful convergence. Brussels must be pleased.

On a more micro level, I see that, down in Pontevedra, the sex shop is boarded up. Tempting as it is, I’m not convinced this closure is a result of the economic downturn as, in eight years, I’ve never seen anyone either going in or coming out. In fact, I’m not even sure the front door is real. And it’s too late to check now. Maybe I can get a souvenir photo of the window display for you before all trace of the place has sadly evaporated.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of a brothel which opened last year behind a petrol station opposite a friend’s house up in the hills. It used to be called Club Tu & Yo [You and Me] but the name was recently changed, possibly because the place was ‘closed down’ as being illegal. Anyway, the point is that most of the letters were skilfully re-used in renaming the place Club Tony, with the ‘&’ being transformed into an ‘n’. As I said earlier, desperate times. I wonder if the patrons of the rear rooms ever notice there’s a nice view of the Ria de Pontevedra from the window.

Roadside brothels are, of course, a common feature of Spain’s landscape and I wasn’t surprised to see one at a roundabout just south of the town mentioned earlier. These ‘Clubs’ usually have their signs, walls and/or neon lights in garish pink but this one was painted a turgid green. Surely not first sign of the industry jumping onto the ecology bandwagon?

It’s a long time since I reported any Spanglish but I came across un sparring yesterday. This, naturally enough, appears to mean something like an aggressive verbal interchange. In this case, the treatment being received by the Leader of the Opposition from his [somewhat disenchanted] party ‘barons’ ahead of the party’s annual conference. Better than un stabbing en el backo, I guess. Though I suspect this won’t be long coming. Followed, I guess, by un etting tu, Brute. Or more likely Espe.

Finally – It really does begin to look like Thursdays are going to be bloody mushrooms day. But at least the sun has finally started to shine.


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