I see President Zapatero “brought some glamour” to the Labour party annual conference in the UK. Where he allegedly gave Gordon Brown some advice on winning elections. If he went on to give him suggestions on how to deal with a recession, then every street in Britain could soon look like this . . .
Talking of our friend Señor Z, I regularly say I wouldn’t want his challenge of running this fissiparous country. And now there are even fewer reasons for wanting to be in his shoes. For, apart from the fact that the powerful PRISA media group is gunning for him, it’s beginning to look like the Czechs may kibosh the Lisbon Constitution-disguised-as-a-Treaty just as Spain takes over the running of the EU in January. I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for the man. And two Goth daughters as well!
It’s a commonplace statement in Spain these days that young women smokers far outnumber the young men. Sadly, the legions who think it’s glamorous, sophisticated and appetite-suppressing seem ever younger. But I must say I was a little surprised to see the postwoman dragging on a cigarette this morning as she handed over my mail as I was leaving the house.
However, things could get worse. For I may have experienced my first true Spanish chavette. For which the local word is marula and the more-aggression-denoting national word is perhaps macarra. Anyway, I was standing at a zebra crossing when she, naturally, drove straight past me, with her radio blasting from her open front windows. Which may or may not have been as black as all the others. But I caught up with her at the bottom of the hill, where she was shouting obscenities at the hapless trainee driver – a sister – trying to pluck up enough courage to manoeuvre her coach out onto the roundabout. The cursing proving ineffective, our female friend then initiated a chorus of angry horn blasts. I do hope this isn’t another sign of the changing times here. I can get this experience any day in the UK.
Presumably as a result of a dispute with his neighbours, a house-seller in nearby Sanxenxo has put up a sign saying he’ll only take offers from gypsies. A few years ago, I joked to my neighbours that I’d happily accept from a group of them a price higher than anything I could get for my house from a family from one of the two nearby settlements. But none of them saw the funny side of this. Even though a gypsy family could well have been quieter than Toni.
Well, I read my first Twitter message today. But only because someone arrived at my blog because of it. So, many thanks Graham Hunt (I believe) for your very kind comment. And welcome to the three new Followers of this blog of the last week or so.
Today’s additions to Galicia: The Switzerland of Spain . . .
Chapter 4: The Salve Regina
Chapter 6 : Santiago
Chapter 7 : Architecture
Chapter 16: Santiago de Compostela
Chapter 21 : Vigo and Tuy [Tui]
Chapter 22 : Orense [Ourense]
Frankly, unless you’re a pious Catholic, I wouldn’t bother with Chapter 4. Likewise, unless you’re very keen on buildings, you might want to give Chapter 7 a miss. However, if you’re a Galician nationalist, both are compulsory reading as source material for future boasts about the ancient Kingdom of Galicia. Or Lusitania anyway. That said, if you’re a true nationalist, you’ll already have read the book as Galicia Inédita, despite it being in Castellano. Incidentally, this is another example of the Spanish custom of changing titles for no apparent reason.
If you read Chapter 21, you’ll quickly note Ms Meakin has rather more to say about tiny Tui than about pretty-large Vigo. I’m guessing this is because the latter doesn’t have a basilica or cathedral to get flushed about.
Finally, I’d just like to say the prehistoric rock drawings Ms Meakin mentions towards the end of the Pontevedra chapter are only a couple of hundred metres from my house. Though you’d be hard pushed to find the pine wood she talks about. It’s all bloody eucalyptus trees now.