Earlier this week, El Mundo carried an article by Britain’s Svengali, Lord Mandelson, on the challenges faced by the EU over the next 5 years. Why, for God’s sake? Given his own problems and those of Mr Brown and the Labour Party, surely he’s got more important things to do. And surely there’s someone in Spain better qualified than he is to write such an article. Perhaps he’s cheap.
And while I’m posing questions . . .
1. How come I’ve never been accosted by any of the Mormons I regularly see on the streets of Pontevedra – either in town or at home? Do I not look like a good conversion prospect?
2. Why do Spanish adults think the pavements are for bicycles as well as pedestrians? I mean, you can (almost) forgive immature kids and adolescents for swerving past you, but their parents?
3. Why do Spanish papers of all stripes regularly carry syndicated articles from Anglo commentators such as Timothy Gorton Ash and Henry Kamen? Aren’t there enough good journalists here, where it’s still a respected profession?
4. Why, when you ask for your bill and give your table number in perfectly serviceable Spanish, does the waitress hold up three fingers when she says “Tres euros.” These are not difficult words to understand.
Anyway, there’s a large roundabout on my side of the river, at the centre of which is the city’s fire station. The road around it has been re-configured several times over the years – to allow access to the nearby new Guardia Civil barracks, as well as to the AP9 autopista and several other roads. In fact, you now need an IQ of at least 120 to get round it safely. And some experience of orienteering would surely come in handy. So I wasn’t surprised to read yesterday that the police claim that, at least once a week, someone goes the wrong way round it. And we’re not talking foreigners here. Not even Portuguese.
Finally . . . You’ll appreciate that beaches are important in fun-loving Spain. We have dozens of them along our coast and along the sides of our famous rías (estuaries/fiords). But this hasn’t stopped the Pontevedra council from paying for a new one to be constructed along the river, not far from the centre of town. And it’s now open.
Which is more than can be said for the bus-stop. But it can’t be long now. I saw a group of six be-suited men inspecting it this morning. Or at least chatting about it. Photos soon.