Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Scouse comedian, Alexei Sayle, has written a sci-fi novel set in southern Spain, where he has a house. It’s called “Mr Roberts” and sounds like a good buy. He insists there’s a shop down there dedicated to British goods and called Spainsburys. Can this be true?

Talking of books, here’s the final quote from Jane Fox’s excellent treatise on Englishness – “We are no more naturally more modest, fair or courteous than any other culture but we have more rules prescribing the appearance of these qualities, which are clearly very important to us". Which explains a lot.

Here in Spain, inflation has fallen to around 2.5%. Over in Zimbabwe, by contrast, it’s currently running at 231,000,000% a year. But not to worry; the government has just introduced a 500 million Zimbabwe dollar note to help one get through the day. Though it will be worthless tomorrow, of course.

The Spanish government will be bringing in changes to the relatively new driving regulations early in the new year. Prominent among these are the removal of penalties for such things as parking in a bus-stop inset. This used to cost 2 points off your licence but won’t as of next year. Presumably the government could see as well as I could that this wasn't being policed and so the penalty wasn't seen as much of a threat. In contrast, you will now lose 4 points for having a dirty licence plate. And the fines for speeding will increase steeply, meaning - for example -that the two offences I’ve been done for this year will rise from 140 to 400 euros. Easy revenue, of course. Especially if your trap is very skilfully laid. And much easier and more cost-effective than traipsing around town to find the occasional car parked on the pavement or blocking a bus stop.

The price of fish is considered front-page news in our most local paper today. Christmas must be coming. Which reminds me that, at dinner on Friday night, a Spanish friend expressed astonishment that Brits were surprised that fish and seafood are the big items for Christmas dinner here in Galicia. Until a mutual colleague advised him that the Brits, although an island people, don’t do fish. And certainly not at Christmas.

Talking of newspapers – It’s rumoured that it’s going to be illegal for them to carry ads for brothels. If so, I don’t know what the Faro de Vigo will do for lost revenue, as it’s easily the worst offender. In the interests of research, I sullied my fingers again last week, flicking through its rear pages. And was surprised to see that the ads are more explicit than ever, if only because the photos of the girls are now much larger. Oddly, though, some of the faces are pixillated. Possibly the ugly ones who are really working there, as opposed to the unpixillated pretty ones, who aren’t.

By the way, Word’s spell-check gives me titillated for pixillated. Which has a certain logic to it. Though not one you'd expect from a computer.

Finally . . . My [French] partner has just given me this sentence from her English grammar book: - "It was a difficult decision to make but he must make it." There's a prize for anyone who knows in what context this would be correct.

3 comments:

mike the trike said...

You are reading a book and come to the last sentence of chapter four where a man is standing next to a swollen river. The answer to his decision comes in chapter five.

Colin said...

Thanks, Mike. If you mean that the sentence relates to what he was thinking as he stood at the edge of the river and is, therefore, reported 'speech', then you are right. Well done.

Midnight Golfer said...

I had seen the Spainsbury shop here in Fuengirola, and thought it was a clever, but cheesy name. Now, thanks to your blog, and a quick google of Sainsbury, this American has just learned that they were trying to make a play on the UK store's name.

Yes, Spainsbury is real.
No, I didn't know about Sainsbury until today.

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