Thursday, August 28, 2008

If Graeme over at South of Watford is to be believed, El Mundo is little more than the Spanish equivalent of a Rupert Murdoch tabloid. If so, I don't know whether it had a more illustrious past. But I do know that Britain's Daily Telegraph did. And this makes all the more depressing its relentless slide downmarket towards tabloid status. So great is this, I've been forced to start reading Murdoch's Times. Anyway, I thought I'd seen incontrovertible evidence of the Telegraph's decline this morning when it printed the phrase after his whereabouts was discovered. But, I have to confess I was wrong. As this site says, this is a word that can be treated as singular or plural. And just because I've never seen or heard the former doesn't mean that the Telegraph is now rubbish. Other things do.

Although it doesn't matter to me - firstly, because I'm retired and, secondly, because I don't go to the beach - I've long held the suspicion that the weather, here in Galicia at least, is worse at the weekends than during the week. And now comes evidence that this is actually so. According to a UK report - "Scientists say the mechanism by which Spanish rainfall comes in weekend clumps depends on weekday cycles of atmospheric pollution." Which is no consolation, of course. No wonder you can't move on the coast roads for lemmings when the sun does actually appear at a weekend.

But, in fact, I did go to the beach today, as my visiting daughter wanted to visit one of the Islas Atlanticas. The day didn't start well as we parked at least a mile away from the embarcation point and so had to leg it to be sure of getting aboard the 12 noon boat. Then the heavens opened within five minutes of the boat arriving and we found ourselves sharing a small bar-café with several hundred shouting, smoking, table-and-floor- space-stealing Spaniards. But the sun finally emerged, things gradually got better and my daughter ultimately professed herself well pleased with the day. Three conversations worth relating:-

Me: [To two Spanish women near where we parked the car]. Excuse me. Can you tell me where we board the boat for the islands?
1st woman: Oh, what is your native language?
Me: English
1st woman: Oh, I only speak French, apart from Spanish.
Me: Well, we can try it in French, if you really want.
2nd woman: It won't make a difference. We're not from around here. We haven't the faintest idea where the boat goes from.

Me: [To said daughter] It looks like another thunderstorm is coming on.
Daughter: We can shelter under these trees.
Me: Not a good idea when there's lightening.
Daughter: Well, we've both got rubber-soled shoes on.

As I stretch out on the sand with a piece of clothing over my face:-
Daughter: Are you having a siesta, Dad?
Me: No. I thought I'd just suffocate myself with this sweatshirt.
Daughter: Don't let me stop you, you grumpy sod.

The boat to the island left from Vigo and picked us up in Cangas. On the way back, it naturally stopped first at Cangas. So, the most amusing sight of the day . . . The various couples who got off at Cangas, walked to the end of the quay, looked quizzically at their surroundings, then at each other and then raced back towards the boat before it left for Vigo.

Finally - Tuesday's photo was identified by Maria [Not Martin, her husband!] as an anenome. Yesterday's is provoking a bit of controversy . . . Maria says it is an oleander [nerium oleander], whereas Midnight Golfer feels sure it's a bottlebrush [or callistemon]. Having been to the cited web page, I wonder whether the one below isn't, in fact, the said bottlebrush. Albeit without its very characteristic red flowers.

I throw this open to the jury . . .


Midnight Golfer said...

If it please the court, I beseech the jury to consider the silvery-grey color of the stems, with their nodular sections of seed capsules, which can be seen in the lower left of this new photo. Also, the leaves are a tad bit too narrow, and bunched up with more irregularity that the slightly broader and more smoothly distributed leaves of the oleander.

Lenox said...

Political Blogs. Those which are either so right-of-centre that they make you really quite angry (I dunno... Michelle Malkin or Ann Coulter) or the left-wing blogs that are always themselves so angry they save you the trouble (ejem. Michael Moore). Neither side can see anything good in the other. Ever. Under any and all circs.
In Spain we have two lefties that I know of, Graeme's effort and Tom Clarke's The Bad Rash. Then there's one to the right, our old mate John with 'Iberian Notes' (currently on hiatus).
All of them, like the dreadful Fox News, 'fair and balanced'.

Colin said...


Yes, I totally agree. Though, without having seen some of the sites cited. But I enjoy Graeme's stuff because although - and he will love this - he sees everything through a prism - it is well written and informed. He reminds me of my half-Spanish ex stepson who started off as an anarchist, moved to Marxism and is now doing a PhD in political science, possibly as a reformed Trotskyist. He writes knowledgeably and beautifully but I don't understand half of what he says because of the Leftie jargon. But don't anybody tell him as he asks for my opinion and I really wouldn't want that to stop . . .

Must try Tom Clarke's The Bad Rash.

Tom Watkinson said...

I've actually become a semi-regular (about twice a week) Torygraph reader, despite myself. This has very little to do with the Daily Telegraph, and a lot to do with the fact that it's the only British newspaper apart from the Sun I can buy here on the day of publication (except at the weekend, annoyingly, as it's when I have the most time to read the damn rag). This is, as expats know, the luxury of all luxuries.

Fortunately, my local Vigo newsagent on Gran Via doesn't yet harbour any suspicions about my real political inclinations. The other week, he asked me in all seriousness how the words 'Daily Telegraph' were pronounced! He's also promised to try and get the Sunday edition specially delivered for me. Danger! Clearly, it can only be a matter of time before I start fulminating about declining moral standards in general over my G & T con hielo.

Colin said...

Tom, I'm worried on your behalf. . .

I'm sure you know you can get all the papers on line. though it's not the same as reading them over a glass of wine outdoors.

Tom Watkinson said...

Yes, you're absolutely right. What's more, I'd rather spill my Ribeiro blanco onto the court circular section of the Daily Telegraph than into my laptop.