Well, August continues to be like September – or even October – up here in Galicia, while the rest of Spain swelters. Putting it another way, it’s like a good English summer month. Though with temperatures in the high 20s and more sun of an evening. The local papers surveyed some (Spanish) tourists the other day and one Madrileña assured us that folk didn’t all come to Galicia for the sun and the beaches. Just as well, then. But at least our weather forecasters are not so desperate to avoid mention of the rain that they cite it as a positive that the grass pollen season is over and will be now be replaced by the weed pollen season.
I recently rescued a grass snake from the track near my house in the hills. Or, rather, I thought it was a grass snake but diligent research has revealed it’s actually a legless lizard. It’s usually called a ‘slow worm’ in the UK. But, then, you’d be slow if evolution had deprived you of the use of your pins. In Galicia it’s called the escáncer común or liscanzo. Anyway, I mention it because, passing the anglers’ shop today, I decided to see if they stocked its favourite food. Ironically, this is worms. The woman in the shop duly produced a box, took off the lid and revealed a pile of algae. Rather my astonishment, she then turned it over and tipped a writhing mass onto her palm. When I commented that she didn’t seem to have the standard female fear of worms, she laughed and said that maybe up in the interior things would be like that but, down here on the coast, they were used to digging them up and handling them. Be that as it may, the ex-snake has so far refused to touch them. Fussy bloody eater. One-fifty down the drain.
You’ll all be aware of the so-called greengrocers’ apostrophe, as in “Apple’s 80p a kilo”. Well, here are a few examples of an approach that goes way beyond this in a web page I stumbled on today - thes'e document's; it speed's up the process; three occasion's; speeding fine's; citie's ring road's; 6 point's; and village's and town's. Ironically, it was a well-written and informative article.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that George Barrow wasn’t too keen on Galicia and Galicians. But he didn’t reserve his disdain just for this region. Here he is not mincing his words on Andalucians:-
The higher class of the Andalusians are probably upon the whole the most vain and foolish of human beings, with a taste for nothing but sensual amusements, foppery in dress, and ribald discourse. Their insolence is only equalled by their meanness, and their prodigality by their avarice. The lower classes are a shade or two better than their superiors in station: little, it is true, can be said for the tone of their morality; they are overreaching, quarrelsome, and revengeful, but they are upon the whole more courteous, and certainly not more ignorant.
The Andalusians are in general held in the lowest estimation by the rest of the Spaniards, even those in opulent circumstances finding some difficulty at Madrid in procuring admission into respectable society, where, if they find their way, they are invariably the objects of ridicule, from the absurd airs and grimaces in which they indulge,--their tendency to boasting and exaggeration, their curious accent, and the incorrect manner in which they speak and pronounce the Castilian language. In a word, the Andalusians, in all estimable traits of character, are as far below the other Spaniards as the country which they inhabit is superior in beauty and fertility to the other provinces of Spain.
Yet let it not for a moment be supposed that I have any intention of asserting, that excellent and estimable individuals are not to be found amongst the Andalusians.
In truth, it’s becoming clear that old George wasn’t just a Spanish nationalist but was actually a narrow Castilian nationalist. Contrary to what the Basque, Catalan and Galician nationalists would have us believe, there are other regions in Spain apart from Castile:-
Tomorrow - the Catalans!
And Sunday - Spanish women.