Walking into town this morning, I concluded I’d been wrong to worry the ugly public works around the Alameda wouldn’t be finished by the start of the big Fiesta next week. For all the heavy machinery has gone, meaning we can now all ignore the fences and the barriers and once again take a short cut across the place. Later, though, I read in a local paper that the works have only been suspended so that the stalls and the fairground can be installed. So, todo bien que termina bien.
Taking said shortcut, I couldn’t help but notice that the “deaf and dumb” Rumanian girls are back in town, soliciting for their phoney charity organisation. I used to wonder how they could remain free to harass us but that was until I read that Spanish law doesn’t think that anyone 14 or under can commit a crime. But I still snitched to a local cop.
I feel duty-bound to give you some of the nice things George Borrow said about our local cities . . . . Of my own he wrote that “Pontevedra, on the whole, is certainly entitled to the appellation of a beautiful town, some of its public edifices, especially the convents, being such as are nowhere to be found but in Spain and Italy. . . . The whole country in the neighbourhood of Pontevedra is inconceivably delicious.” And of Vigo, he says “Well may the people of Pontevedra envy the natives of Vigo their bay, with which, in many respects, none other in the world can compare.” Later on, though, he talks of Galicia’s ‘localism’ being worse than anywhere else in Spain and is shocked by the antipathy shown by the residents of Santiago towards those of La Coruña because the latter had just taken over the role as capital of the region/country. He’d probably feel much the same now, watching the fight between Pontevedra and Vigo for pre-eminence in the province of Pontevedra. Or the arguments that take place over how each of our three tiny international airports are to be enlarged.
Getting close to Asturias, George gets the benefit of this comment from his Madrileño servant, Antonio:-“ I have nothing to say against the Asturians . . . they are not thieves, neither at home nor abroad and, though we must have our wits about us in their country, I have heard we may travel from one end of it to the other without the slightest fear of being either robbed or mistreated. Which is not the case in Galicia, where we were always in danger of having our throats cut.” But this rather points up the comment I made yesterday, viz. that things have improved immeasurably here in Galicia. For now we are only beaten by Navarra and – of course – Asturias when it comes to low levels of crime.
There is an expression which GB mentions several times, as being reassuringly quoted to him on numerous occasions . . . . No tengas usted cuidado. I’m only familiar with the positive version of Ten cuidado and I’m wondering whether the former was an 18/19th century equivalent of No te preocupes. And while I’m seeking advice from (sane) Galicians, here are a few Gallego (I guess) words I’d like to know the meaning of. It has to be said that George is not always reliable when it comes to spellings, so you may need to think around the word a bit . . .
Estadéa/estadiño – some sort of celestial spirit.
Duyo – the Devil?
Broa – type of bread?
And still on translation . . . Here’s how one paper today described Lily Allen’s body, scarcely concealing its astonishment that she could be the new face of Chanel:- Menudo y robusto. I take this to mean 'Small and stocky' but am wondering whether there’s a more diplomatic way of translating the Spanish.
Finally, on George . . . Here`s a telling local ditty he quotes, presumably having translated it himself:-
May the Lord God preserve us from evil birds three,
From all friars and curates and sparrows that be
For the sparrows eat up all the corn that we sow.
The friars drink down all the wine that we grow
While the curates have all the fair dames at their nod.
From these three evil curses, preserve us Lord God
And finally, finally . . . One of the local papers has praised the organisers of the lamb roasting event I attended in Moraña on Sunday. It suggests, though, that next year they might provide a guide on cutting up a lamb carcase. Given how many people saw their dinner ending up on the floor. I have to say that neither of mine did.