Monday, July 06, 2009

Well, thanks to the research efforts of trusty readers and myself, we now know that, in 1719, a British raiding party descended first on Vigo and then on Pontevedra. It was under the command of Viscount Cobham, assisted by Vice-Admiral Mighells (“Micheles” in Spanish accounts). The party of 1,000 men which moved on to Pontevedra was led by General Wade but no mention is made in British sources of the elusive General Homobod. But there was a Brigadier-General Honeywood and so I’m naturally left wondering whether his name (like that of Mighells) has been transmuted over time. Incidentally, the British Army records have it that Wade et al ‘marched the 30 miles from Vigo to Pontevedra and caused the garrison there to flee in panic’. I know this to be a malicious calumny. It’s only 27km from here to Vigo. More info here, for those interested.

Briefly returning to the subject of closed shops . . . I was sad to see that one of my favouritely-named places – Don Bacalau (Mr Cod) – hadn’t survived. But I was less than surprised to see that the outlet in Vegetables Square selling nothing but soap had gone under. To be honest, I’d always been astonished it had opened in the first place.

Talking about Vegetables Square . . . At the flea market there on Sunday, I asked the price of a battered Castellano-Gallego dictionary, being prepared to go as far as a couple of euros. So when the guy asked me for 20, I could scarcely refrain from laughing before I put it back. Is the seller really unaware you can get one for nothing on line? In similar vein, my tenants told me later in the day they’d seen an old Cadillac bus at a garage near town, researched it on the net and identified the going price in the USA as around 2,000 dollars. So they called the owner and asked him what he was asking for it. “60,000 euros” was the reply. Presumably he knows something they don’t.

There continues to be talk of mergers between Spain’s troubled saving banks. Here in Galicia, there’s probably a strong case for merging our two biggies, Caixa Galicia and Caixa Nova. But, as a writer points out in today’s Voz de Galicia, standing in the way of any sensible outcome are the ‘Bonapartist’ attitudes of the respective directorates and the urban rivalries arising from their differently located HQs. Some head-knocking is surely required. If unlikely to happen, unless it’s made a serious precondition of a hand-out from Madrid.

Finally . . . I was right that the letter from the Xunta was about one of the three subjects I listed. But I was wrong to be so pessimistic, as it merely advised someone had objected to plans to clean up the forest and I could pop along to some office or other to see the details. And for this I – like all my neighbours – needed a registered letter?

9 comments:

Sierra said...

"...It’s only 27km from here to Vigo..." - perhaps the AP-9 wasn't available?

Ferrolano said...

The history lesson about the Raid on Vigo has been extremely enlightening and has now prompted me to further research the raid on Ferrol, which I believe failed. Can’t win them all!

Your trip to the market sounds somewhat like one of mine to the monthly market in Ferrol. At a “junk” table, I spotted an electrical something or other and thinking that I could repair it, I asked the price. Expecting to be asked for 3 or 4 Euros, I was horrified when a King’s ransom was demanded. Pointing out that the article was broken, I was told that it would not be for sale if it was in working order.

I have often thought that a number of these stall holders do it as a social thing and would be horrified to actually make a sale.

Pericles said...

Curiously, the Daily Express featured the GREAT CAR BOOT BONANZA yesterday.
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/112005

Perhaps it could catch on in Galicia? However, electrical items can be suspect.
http://www.pattinson.co.uk/public/content/Articles/Second-hand_electrical_items_safety_warning.htm

Colin said...

@ Sierra

Possibly not, but they could have used the N550, which is 32km by my reckoning. Or 25 miles at most. Perhaps the references to the the drinking of all the wine they could find give a clue as to why they thought it was further. Or perhaps it was, if they went round in circles en route . . .

Colin said...

@ Ferrolano

Is the failed raid on Ferrol what lies behind the reference to a resolve to attack La Coruña 'giving way' to a decision to go for Vigo and then Pont-A-Vedra? Easier meat. And drink, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Good choice, sir, not buying that galician-spanish dictionary. There is this one on line, totally free, the best one around no doubt. It is superb.

http://www.estraviz.org/?name=Dictionary&file=pesquisar

You just need to learn portuguese to be able to use it, which being in Galiza, is the right thing to do ...

Ferrolano said...

Colin, I like the idea that RN was lured by the “easy meat” and the wine. Although I rather think that other rational or good sense may have prevailed. I can imagine that La Coruña may have been considered a prize target for many years, considering that the Spanish Armada was amassed there before sailing north. Also, that part of this armada came from the naval shipyard in Ferrol, which has for many centuries been one of the principal ports of the Spanish Navy.

The British knowing this may have feared a counterattack from the rear if they had gone into La Coruña. Sailing time from Ferrol to La Coruña is about an hour. An alarm being raised by beacon or whatever method could summon help quite quickly.

An attack by sea of Ferrol would have been considered as very difficult due to the narrow estuary, protected by two castles, San Felipe and La Palma. The failed attack was in essence a land attack following a landing at the Doniños beach with the unprepared troops trying to go over the hills toward Ferrol. Possibly to try and neutralize San Felipe and blockade Ferrol. This last part is supposition on my part. Who really knows??

Colin said...

I'm still confused as to whether the failed raid on Ferrol (celebrated every year with much gusto) was a prelude to the Vigo/Pontevedra escapade or whether it was in a different era. I'll do a quick google now .. . .

Colin said...

No, it looks like the Ferrol raid was in 1800, not long before Britain and Spain became allies against the French.