Just in case it isn’t already clear, I should stress that I find George Borrow’s The Bible in Spain a rollicking good read. That said, I’m not convinced all the episodes he relates actually took place. Or that, if they did, they involved him in person. The cast of odd characters and unusual situations is just too long and colourful to be truly plausible. But no matter, I recommend it to all.
One of the constants of his account are the references to Catalans doing business all over Spain. Of Valladolid, for example, GB writes:- “It is a manufacturing town, but the commerce is chiefly in the hands of the Catalans, of whom there is a colony of nearly three hundred established here.” As regards Galicia, he relates the response of someone who was told it was a poor region. That might be so, said the chap, but this didn’t prevent enterprising and hard-working Catalans getting rich on the back of her natural resources. I will think of these pioneers whenever I see the ex-fish salting factories along the coast.
As is not uncommon in Spain, the people of Galicia believe their produce is better than any other in Spain – the fish, the shellfish, the beef, the pork and . . . the potatoes. But I have a challenge. I’d like to hear from any Gallego who’s actually eaten new Jersey potatoes the name of the Galicia spud variety he or she thinks is superior to all others. Then we can have a taste-off.
The murderous Basque nationalists of ETA have had more ‘success’ in the last week, killing two Guardia Civil officers with a car bomb. I wouldn’t want to put any ideas in their twisted brains but I’ve thought many times when driving close to the wall around the Pontevedra barracks that it wouldn’t be too difficult to lob a bomb over it.
Finally. . . A public service notice: The latest truco of the tax revenue officers disguised as traffic cops is to place a camera near an un-busy junction and then film everyone who doesn’t stop for at least a micro-second at a Stop sign - even if there is no oncoming traffic visible in any direction. You will then be overtaken by a motorbike cop who will tell you of your offence, some time after you’re alleged to have committed it. And then handsomely fine you for it. So roads joining autopistas could well be their favoured spot. You have been warned.