Tuesday, July 07, 2009

If you think I exaggerate about noise in Spain, read Lenox on the subject, here. In Galicia, 50,000 families are reported this week to be affected by excessive noise from nocturnal revellers. Against that, in the year since it came into force, only two people have been prosecuted under Pontevedra’s new law to ban binge drinking in the streets of the old quarter.

Likewise, if you feel I exaggerate about drug smuggling in Galicia, click here for an interesting development in the port I can see from my window.

It’s funny how coincidences arise. I mentioned recently that the USA is unpopular here for “essentially history-related reasons”. I was, of course, referring to the war of 1898 which resulted in Spain losing all of her remaining colonial possessions, including Cuba. Well, it turns out this disaster for Spain was something of a compensation for a bellicose American public which had been denied a confrontation with Britain around a border dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana. This had been averted – after much American anti-colonial sabre-rattling – by Britain conceding to the US demand for arbitration. Which took place in Paris and, ironically, found in 1899 in favour of the colonial power.

The running of the bulls began in Pamplona this morning. This is one of the few things I watch on Spanish TV. So, naturally, the satellite in our community is on the blink again. Watching on a portable TV this morning, I think I finally figured out why the course is always wet, causing the bulls to skid and crash at one corner in particular. It’s the consequence of the early-morning operation to clean up all the immense debris from the previous night’s revels.

Which reminds me . . . Our big fiesta month is said to be August but, in truth, things get rolling in July. As this happens every year, it would make sense to have the program of events out early this month. But it never is. When I asked the helpful young lady in the tourist kiosk yesterday when I could expect to see one, she thought maybe by the middle of the month. By which time some events will have taken place. This is not much of a problem for me as I come into town every day and can operate on the fly. But I have tenants in my house in the hills and, being foreign, they arrive with the ridiculous notion it’ll be possible to plan things in advance. Poor misguided fools.

Actually, I had a minor triumph at the tourist place. Having suggested the middle of the month for the bumper guide to events in July, August and September, she then apologised for not even being able to give me the standard monthly guide to normal events in July. “Don’t worry,” I replied. “I got one from a pile in the new museum last night, when visiting an art exhibition.” And then I knocked her down with a feather.

Finally . . . A comment on Wimbledon from a fine English journalist:-

“Every year, Wimbledon effortlessly exhibits everything that is pathetic, weird, embarrassing and unattractive in England and the English. And every year, with glib, blind vanity, England and the English assume they are exactly the reverse, an advertisement for all that is enviable and exceptional in the old place.”

No one can say I'm not even-handed.

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