Monday, October 26, 2009

It’s not only in the UK that there’s widespread concern about the loss of respect for teachers and the low level of authority they now have. It’s a media issue in Spain too, though my impression is there’s a long way to go here before things are anywhere near as bad as in Britain. Here’s the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, opining on the subject today. I suspect the madness will end during the currency of my daughter’s career as a teacher. She’s only got 38 years to go, after all.

Another topic I can’t get away from is that of zebra crossings in Pontevedra. In his book, Cronicas Ibéricas, David Fernández de Castro follows our hero George Borrow to modern Pontevedra, where he (rightly) marvels at our jewel of an old quarter and (more dubiously) notes not only that there are more crossings here than in any other town in Spain but also that drivers actually stop for pedestrians waiting to use them. Well . . . even I have said this courtesy is on the increase but, next time David’s here, I must take him down to the roundabout at the Poio end of the La Barca bridge.

Talking of local cities, take heed if you’re going to be visiting Pontevedra’s ancient enemy, Vigo. For the second time in a year, falling masonry has landed on someone’s head in the street. Last time it was a baby in a pram and this time it was an unfortunate Dutch tourist. As GB noted, Pontevedrans have long accused Vigo of having no decent buildings and I guess they’ll now say the unprepossessing place is simply falling to bits. With some justification, it seems.

Of course, if you are going to be in Vigo, the warning in the last paragraph will be as useful as those in canyons telling drivers to beware of falling rocks. What exactly are you going to do to prevent being hit?

I sense another fashion wave has hit the young women of Pontevedra, possibly assisted by yet another return of the summer. Which gave us 25 degrees today. As ever, I wonder whether the combination of a belted shirt, tight leggings and what in Britain are called ‘fuck-me’ ankle boots is a local, regional or national phenomenon.

Despite being an Everton supporter, it was thrilling to see Torres score a magnificent goal yesterday, to set Liverpool on the road to a great victory against the hated Manchester United. Given that Everton lost to lowly Bolton and now stand little chance of honours this year, I’m increasingly tempted to do what few in history have ever done and change my team allegiance. Or at least support both of them. Purely out of civic pride, you understand. At least until some sheikh buys Everton and pumps squillions into it.

Finally (and wearily) . . . . My friend Cade has written (abusively, of course) to demand I permit his comments. He’s also kindly warned me I might be in physical danger if someone were to report my ‘xenophobic/racist’ comments to certain Spanish forums. Presumably he regards it as racist for me to say this doesn’t reflect well on the Spanish and their capacity for civil discussion. But, anyway, if I were to be cited, I guess we’d have a pretty good idea of by whom. Sad, sad, sad. Thank God he’s not a true representative of either the Spanish or the Galicians. And not only because he lives in the UK.

As I await my fate, friends have urged me to reveal the message which finally drove me to bar his comments and also to identify his blog. They say he does a comprehensive job there of hoisting himself on his own petard. Well, OK, here’s the former and in it you’ll find the latter. Happy reading. I won’t be bothering myself.

Incidentally, there is an amusing side to all this . . . Cade says he wants us to ‘resume our dialogue’. Dialogue! The boy has a lot to learn. Especially as he claims he’s not insulting me but only ‘describing you accurately’ - a defence commonly heard here from real racists to justify their colour-related comments about, say, English footballers. Maybe Cade’s more Spanish than he realises. Oh, and his blog would have a more amusing name if I hadn’t pointed out to him that in one message he’d used ‘dribble’ when he meant ‘drivel’.

Stop Press: My daughter in Madrid has sent me a message saying I should write about the tight-fisted-ness of the family of a famous French footballer in that city. But I think I’ve probably got enough enemies on the horizon right now. Maybe later.


Liliana Sampaio said...

Bad situation for teachers here too. And, guess what? I am a teacher, so I know what I'm talking about...

Mr. cade is stubborn, isn't he? And childish too.

Até logo, senhor Davies!

Colin Davies said...

Hola, Lilly

I thought you might be a teacher. Of English, of course.

Yes, Cade is stubborn and childish. But, happily, he also has the ability to make us laugh. Even though this is not his intention, I suspect.

But one can have too much of a good thing, so I am ignoring his blog, even though it's kindly dedicated to me.