So, Spain's golden run of sports' victories continues with this year's Tour de France. The winner's name is Sastre, which evoked the first words of the first Spaniard I met and talked to, 44 years ago. Mis sastre es rico, he told me. My tailor is rich. This was then - and possibly still is - the first sentence in the standard text used for students of English in Spanish schools. Presumably written in the 19th century, when cultured people advised each other of such things on meeting.
What a shame that - given recent developments - few will believe Sr. Sastre's assertion that he achieved his victory without the aid of anyone or any thing. But, then, is there anyone outside France and Spain who doesn't think the Tour de France is even more boring than Formula 1 motor racing, which at least has the virtue of being over in less than two hours? Not a couple of weeks. Which feel more like a couple of years.
My impression is that even the left-of-centre El País is getting impatient at the failure of the government to announce measures to deal with the economic crisis which don't come under the heading of 'social developments'. At the weekend, the paper dismissed the plans to sell public land to developers as of September as 'especially inopportune'. And who could disagree with them?
Well, Google Alerts for 'Galicia' fails to mention my blog yet again this week. However, I did learn this from someone else's:- The reason for Galicia's seafood reputation, particularly in respect of shellfish, is the unique flavour that results from the fresh water from the rivers that create the rías and it is claimed that the cockles, mussels, octopus and squid have a taste that is unrivalled anywhere else in the world and, because of this, the price of shellfish harvested in Galicia is almost double that of the rest of Spain. Hmm. Perhaps twice the price of shellfish imported from elsewhere but possibly not that of Galician produce served up in, say, Madrid.
Hotel occupation in July is reported to be well down on last year, with visitors spending less per day than they did in 2007. Which probably explains why you can rent places by the weekend or even by the day this summer. So, this year at least, the locals will not be making their August in August. Or, at least, not quite.
The local papers report today - possibly at the instigation of the Xunta - that Galicia spends 300m euros a year on healthcare on old folk, compared with a piddling 34m in Cataluña. Translated, this means we deserve more hand-outs from the centre.
In similar vein, Galicia is near the top - an unaccustomed position - in the national rankings of payments for disability benefit. For some reason, we rank 3rd - with 45,000 beneficiaries out of a population of 3 million. Or 1.5%, against a national average of 1.25%. I imagine we'll see more and more of this statistical special pleading over the coming months.
My other [easy] prediction is that the Nationalists will be using the data to whip up a storm of dissatisfaction ahead of next year's elections. I guess I'd do the same in their position. Which doesn't make it any more appealing.
The proprietor of my favourite café/bar in Plaza Verdura tells me it will cost me 2 euros for every pigeon I kill. And looked genuinely shocked when I offered him 50 euros for the lot. Perhaps he thinks they add charm to his place. As ground-bound rats would, for example.
It's common for English names to be hispanicised when it comes to pronunciation but less frequent for brand names to be have their spelling modified. Especially mega brands. So we don't have Huver for Hoover. Which is actually a bad example as it would be pronounced 'Hooba'. However, yesterday I came across MacDonals for McDonalds but I need someone more knowledgeable to tell me whether this is Gallego or Castellano. Or just a mistake.