Sunday, October 11, 2009

My visitor and I made a brief trip to the seafood festival in O Grove, along our coast yesterday evening. This is a lot bigger now than it was when I first went over ten years ago. And it was rather startling to see the coaches descanting dozens of villagers straight into the glass-bottomed boats that plough up and down the ría in ever-larger numbers. Prior to queuing for their tickets to over-priced seafood in a big tent.

But anyway, as we walked back to the car, Mike commented on how much the coastline was like that of northern California. Which prompted the thought that there’s actually a link between them. That well-known privateer – or as they call him here – that bastard pirate, Francis Drake.

In an interesting BBC podcast, I learned of a new book in which acquaintances are described as ‘those people filling the gap between intimate friends and strangers’. It struck me that those people whom most Brits would describe as ‘acquaintances’ are more likely to be termed ‘friends’ here in Spain. Which is a little ironic, as they are owed very little more consideration than complete strangers. As I’ve said a few times, one’s true duty of care here is to your family and those really intimate friends who are effectively members of it.

When it comes to the Spanish property market, it seems you can pick your statistics and draw your own conclusion. Or draw your conclusion and pick your statistics. Some people think prices are collapsing and others don’t. I wonder whether both are true. Where you are keen to sell - a builder, a developer, a banker with assets to be got shot of or just someone with a mortgage you can’t service – you will drop the price drastically. But where you’re a private seller who has no urgent need to sell, you will ignore any objective investment analysis and hold on to the property until the good times come round again. Possibly even increasing the price by 5% annually during the years of famine. Newer properties would tend to predominate in the first category, I guess, and older properties in the second.

Finally . . . My thanks to those Spanish readers who wrote to say toparse con is still used today among speakers of castellano. Strange to relate, all my Gallego friends at dinner on Friday night endorsed the view it was equivalent to Shakespearean English and no longer used in modern Spanish. I can’t begin to guess at the reason for this dichotomy. Anyone got any theories?

3 comments:

Midnight Golfer said...

There are plenty of everyday uses of Shakespearean English, despite the centuries in between.
Since I couldn't think of any, I googled it:

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/35/messages/1292.html

...among others.

My wife, a Madrileña, confirms the contemporary usage of "toparse con" as well.

CafeMark said...

I think you've summarized the property market quite well (applies both in the UK and in Spain). It's obvious that the government and banking sector will do whatever they can to prop up house prices. In the long run of course prices will rise again, baring a major disaster or war. So, it makes sense to be patient if selling a house (if you're able to, of course). Why offer a 50k discount when you can probably avoid it (and maybe even make more money) by waiting a year or two?

Colin said...

Yes, quite. am now looking for a long let, to tide me over.

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