Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Walking past a local school at the end of its day yesterday, I passed first a group of young girls and then a bunch of young boys, all aged around 12 or 13. None of the latter were smoking but all of the former were. I guess this is the first phase in substituting cigarettes for food so that in your late teenage years you can have the stick-insect proportions which are de rigeur in Pontevedra. Then later the lung cancer which isn’t.

Which reminds me – I was startled from my reading in Vegetables Square yesterday by the squealing of two such slim women who were running to noisily greet each other. The one heading towards my table was wearing a top and underwear designed with only purpose in mind and, as she approached her friend, she pushed her breasts even further up and said something like ‘Here they are! What do you think?’. My impression was she was inordinately proud of her personal Silicon Valley. Which only strengthened during the next 20 or 30 minutes, when she used every possible ploy for attracting attention to herself and her new assets. Not that I noticed.

There’s a square called Plaza de España in Pontevedra. And there’s one in Vigo too. And in Ferrol, I noticed last week, when looking for Franco atop his horse. In fact, I suspect there’s a square with this name in just about every town of any size in Spain. Am I alone in thinking it’s impossible to imagine any town in the UK having something called Britain Square? This, of course, is what Gordon Brown is up against in trying to save his Scottish skin by forging some sort of ‘Britishness’ from the material of his happily mongrel populace. It’s just not British to be nationalistic. Or, at least, it never used to be. But devolution of increased powers to the Scottish and Welsh assemblies and rampant Scottish nationalism have resulted in it being OK to fly an English flag now. And not just during football competitions. Must get one. Now that my Irish, Welsh and Scottish grandparents are no longer with us.

The Spanish government is investing in a campaign to bring lots more retired folk here for low season holidays. It’s to be called Hibern Spain. For reasons known only to God and perhaps the PR agency hired to come up with it. I guess it’s related to hibernation. Which is hardly a positive connotation but there you go.

Anyway, I hope it’s a success. With the property market dead, the government desperately needs replacement tax revenues and, if they don’t get them from tourists, they’re going to come after us residents. First in line, it seems, are to be the easy-target motorists. Possibly like the one arrested yesterday who was drunk, wearing no seat belt, without a licence and - would you believe – was on the phone. Now, if he’d only been going the wrong way down the A9, he could have made history. Instead of being just an also-ran.

Galicia Facts

It comes to something when the custodian of good Gallego – The Galician Royal Academy – accuses the Xunta of ‘excessive language normalisation’. This is because the Xunta has instructed all organisations dependent on it to use Galiza instead of Galicia. Which the Academy says will lead to ‘unacceptable linguistic schizophrenia’. Oh dear. Fortunately, though, there’s to be no acronymic war around one such organisation – the Galicia Land Bank. Happily, whether you go with Banco de Terras de Galicia or Banco de Terras de Galiza, you still get Bantegal. But not, of course, if you opt for Banco de Tierras de Galicia. But, then, nobody would these days. Personally, I prefer Galixa but I shouldn’t muddy the waters even further.

And finally – Reader JDM kindly explained why the first German goal on Sunday night was not offside. I was going to give him the much tougher challenge of doing the same for the first Dutch goal last night but the BBC have beaten him to it. To general astonishment, I suspect . . .


Lenox said...

I found a new piece of spanglish today from a builder:
'Las Viviendas Plus son apartamentos y lofs de aproximadamente 40m2 amueblados...'

Matthew said...

I don't mean to be overly fawning in my comments but I had to say your blog is the best addition to my Reader in a long time. In terms of column-style writing, I'm not sure I have read any better.

Colin said...


Lofts - Yes, I've heard that one, too. In fact, I think there was an exchange on it a couple of years back. I'll have to check.

Colin said...


Please . . . be as fawning as you like. Only kidding, though it does remind me of a favourite cartoon, in which a hand-rubbing hotel manager is asking some guests "Is my fawning obsequiousness to your satisfaction?"

Many thanks.


Luis said...

Has the RAG really accused the Xunta of "excessive language normalisation"??? Do you have a link?

What I cannot believe is that the "Xunta has instructed all organisations dependent on it to use Galiza instead of Galicia". First of all because the PSOE always writes Galicia.

Colin said...

These are from today's Voz. Guess you can search yesterday's for the comments I quoted. Or the Diario de Pontevedra. Or El Faro de Vigo.




Luis said...

I had read the articles, but they don't say neither that the RAG has accused the Xunta of "excessive language normalisation" nor that the "Xunta has instructed all organisations dependent on it to use Galiza instead of Galicia".

Colin said...

There is an extract in the Voz archives of an article date 8.6 and headed

La Academia contesta a la Xunta que el único topónimo oficial es Galicia

and containing this text.

Esquizofrenia lingüísticaTambién resulta especialmente llamativo que la comisión, en un determinado momento, reflexionó acerca de la conveniencia de que se aceptasen ambas denominaciones, «pero rexeitou esta posibilidade porque consideraba que un país non debe ter máis ca un nome na súa propia lingua, e que aceptar esta vía sería unha mostra dunha esquizofrenia ling...

Strangely, it won't open. Perhaps you can try. Or get hold of the copy of the paper of that date.

Or you can go on believing I never saw the quotations and so I made it all up.

Luis said...

I do believe La Voz published the text you mentioned but I am afraid that text doesn't support your statements:

- Nobody has ever been instructed to use "Galiza" and the text doesn't say the contrary.

- The RAG has never talked about "excessive language normalisation". In fact the issue "Galicia vs. Galiza" does not have anything to do with language normalisation at all.

Colin said...


This is my final comment. . .

I certainly did read the comments and cited them as quotations. I can't recall which newspaper and I am not going to do any more searching to satisfy you. If you really don't believe me, then [as I've said] you are free to search all the local and national papers [including ABC] and/or to go on believing I am lying. Tu verras.

Luis said...

sorry if I bothered you too much.
I actually asked because I live in England and therefore I miss some news from time to time. And I must admit that even if the first statement sounded a bit weird it might have been true; so I wanted to verify it.

I never thought you were lying, and I apologise if you thought I was implying it. Since you are English and the press is in Spanish I guess you misunderstood something. That's it. I know by experience that these things happen.

But don't worry, I have no troubles droping the topic.

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