I’ve often wondered why there's more illegal downloading of music and films here in Spain than anywhere else in Europe. The answer came in a news report this week of scientific study in the USA – It’s more carbon friendly than buying CDs and DVDs.
Like many Brits, I developed a singular distaste for Peter Mandelson many years ago. But I’m now on the verge of a sneaking regard for him. For one thing, compared with his boss Gordon Brown, he appears relatively uncomplicated and pragmatic. But, more importantly, anyone who can respond to the accusation he called the editor of The Sun a c***t with the straight-faced claim that he said ‘chump’ deserves serious consideration for even higher offices than the several he already holds. King, perhaps.
I drove to Santander on 12 August and, though I tried hard to keep to all the speed limits, I wasn’t too surprised to receive yesterday an email from El Tráfico accusing me of an offence that day. But, once I’d calmed down and my brain had started working again, I started to smell fish. So off I hove to a cyber café to open the PDF file on one of their machines rather than mine. Sure enough it was a request for personal details. They’re clever these crooks and the logos of the Guardia Civil all looked accurate to me. But today’s papers confirm it’s a scam. Though possibly a virus vehicle, rather than a phishing expedition. So be warned .
One of the things that Annette Meakin points out in the book mentioned below is that Galicia got trains before it got roads. I thought of this when passing the high-speed AVE works on the north edge of Pontevedra this evening. For, though our regional trains still take hours and hours to get anywhere, we’re promised an ultra-rapid link to Madrid within the next 6, 9 or 10 years. This seems to be our destiny.
Which reminds me . . . The Xunta has decided to increase the moneys it will give to low-cost airlines next year. Their strategy is to operate "One international airport with three terminals in La Coruña, Santiago and Vigo." God help us! I'll be in Oporto on Sunday, where I expect to find them still rolling in the aisles.
I was also interested in AM’s reports on the tobacco and linen industries in Galicia a hundred years ago. Now both long gone, I believe. But what she doesn’t mention are the Albariño wine-growing areas north of Pontevedra and along the Miño. Presumably because there weren’t any. But she does mention the centuries-old Ribeiro wine area around Ribadavia.
In Chapter 26, she goes to town on the flora and fauna of Galicia but doesn’t mention the mimosa which cheers up my January and February. Like the ubiquitous eucalyptus – which she does talk a little about – this seems to have established its grip here rather recently.
I would have said that Chapter 19 was Ms Meakin at her most lyrical but I’m currently re-formatting her valedictory final chapter, where she really goes off the rails. Even resorting to Shakespearean English to convey her emotions. But that’s for tomorrow . . .
Finally, I think I’ve said she must have been a Catholic but, in fact, she was C of E. Presumably very High Anglican, given the religious detail she revels in.
Today’s additions to Galicia: The Switzerland of Spain . . .
Chapter 19: La Bellisima Noya [Noia].
Chapter 22 : Orense [Ourense
Chapter 23 : Monforte and Lugo
Chapter 26 : Trees Fruits and Flowers