Friday, July 10, 2009

Well, things certainly took a different turn in Pamplona this morning. One of the six bulls did what it’s not supposed to do but what we all tune in to see – it stopped and turned on the crowd, killing one of the participants. This is the 15th death in the history of this event but it’s hard to see it leading to any pressure to change things. Health & Safety not being in Spain what they are in the USA, or even the UK. Not to mention the litigation and insurance backcloths. I might add that I didn’t actually see the bull-run this morning, as I still have no signal from the community TV and my portable set refused to give me a picture of the relevant channel. But, no matter. Given what happened, TV España naturally showed it a zillion times later in the morning.

Talking of rules and restrictions, there’s said to be a plethora of new ones on Spanish beaches this summer. As someone has said, the jury is out on whether this is a true societal change or merely a revenue exercise on the part of desperate and opportunistic municipal authorities.

I did get to Pontevedra’s archive this morning. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t that, after filling out the requisite forms, I’d be given a box containing original papers from the year 1589! Sadly, the yellow, dog-eared documents were covered in what appeared to be the scrawl of a 16th century spider and I couldn’t make much of anything. Though the words armada enemiga (enemy army/fleet) jumped out at me from one page. This reflects the fact that 1589 was the year Francis Drake attacked La Coruña and then sailed down the coast to destroy a monastery on the island of Tambo in the Pontevedra estuary. Coincidentally, this is the name of my street here in Poio. And the only bit of the sea visible from my house in the hills. There’s no evidence that Drake sailed further into the Ría and landed at Pontevedra itself. But the good burghers must have been terrified he would. It seems his parting shot was to chuck a statue of the Virgen of The Graces into the sea but you won’t be surprised to hear this was later miraculously rediscovered and restored. Drake seems to have had a thing about statues of virgins. Repressed sexuality, presumably.

Back to mundanity . . . . The Spanish Consumers’ Association reports that electricity prices have risen 23% in just a few years. Which is certainly likely to be true, though you’d never know it via communications from the supplier companies. Which number exactly nil. Monopolies are monopolies, whether they’re national (Spain) or ‘national’ (region). As it happens, I looked at my water/rubbish bill for the first half of the year today. There are 6 items on this and each of them rose between 2 and 13% in January, without any indication as to why. I should add that 95% of these charges – to me at least – are fixed. I could consume nothing and the bills would be much the same. What a cosy business.

Finally, I saw a wonderful example of the inconsiderate-parker’s art in town this morning. A woman left her car on a zebra crossing at the corner of a small square, meaning that the bus couldn’t make the turn. I managed to get my camera out before the horn of the bus brought the driver out of the café but didn’t realise it was set on video. So I only managed to get the car moving off. But you get the picture . . .


kalebeul said...

I haven't heard of Drake landing in Pontevedra, but I do remember the bit about hundreds of his followers celebrating the taking of Coruña by drinking the contents of the wine cellars and then being slaughtered en masse as they slept it off by the surviving natives. Hawkins' men died there in great numbers too, from a surfeit of Galician beef. And it rains a lot.

Colin said...

Rain here? Hardly ever. At least not on the house I'm renting out.

More on Drake tonight. As it says in the Parador leaflet, there's no evidence to support the belief he knocked our city walls down.this was some other English bastards, allied with the disaffected local nobility.

If Hawkins men died of a surfeit of ternera, possibly it was because they were in fruitless search of some which was not just tender but actually tasted of beef . . .

Which should lose me a few readers.