Friday, October 09, 2009

Well, the plumber did turn up at 10.30. Actually at 10.15. By my rule of thumb, this is 8.15 UK time – first thing or primera hora – and I was duly impressed. However, I never got to tackle him on the issue of why the new boiler would cost me rather more than my neighbour. The wind was extracted from my sails by the immediate sucking in of his breath through his teeth and the comment that it wouldn’t be possible to use the existing chimney for the exhaust fumes. So we’d have to put the new boiler on another wall and install pipe extensions. New estimates will be forthcoming soon but I’d bet my life on them being even higher than the ones I’ve had already.

My old friend visiting from the UK may be in his early 60s but he’s a lifeguard during what they call summer in the UK. So, despite the rain, he’s taken to swimming each day in the pool of the community in which I live. Which should help my reputation for eccentricity. Tackled by a Spanish friend as to whether the water wasn’t very cold, he replied it wasn’t exactly warm but a lot better than the river Mersey in mid August.

My friend is a fan of the Lidl supermarket chain and yesterday he popped into one of Pontevedra’s two stores to try to get the peanut butter product which had caused such confusion and consternation in another supermarket chain the day before. He couldn’t find it but he did manage to get some pumpernickel and also a tarta de Santiago for under four euros. So imagine his surprise when he saw the same thing in the window of the city’s most fashionable cake shop today for just under nineteen euros.

By the way, the product he chose in the first supermarket when he couldn’t get peanut butter was a jar of almond paste. Should you ever be tempted, you should know this is essentially molten sugar into which possibly half a grated almond has been chucked.

Finally . . . For my galegofalante readers, here’s Manuel Rivas making the same point in El País today as I made yesterday on the bizarre importance being given here to the issue of whether we should say/write A or La Coruña . . . Mentres os grandes e pequenos medios informaban con amplitude do contido do sumario xudicial do caso Gürtel, o maior escándalo de corrupción política en España nas últimas décadas, os medios públicos de Galicia, radio e televisión, ensaiaban a cegueira e o silencio, mentres dedicaban o precioso tempo a sacar en procesión outra vez o espectro do L do topónimo da Coruña.

Which reminds me . . . A Spanish friend told me today she'd bumped into my visitor in the street a few minutes earlier. She said this in English and I asked whether toparse con wasn't the Spanish equivalent of 'to bump into'. She insisted this was gallego and finally conceded that, if it was also castellano, no one used it these days? Spanish readers - Is this really true? But don't, of course, answer if you're old-fashioned.


sp said...

I've had the Lidl pumpernickel and it's now a regular purchase. Those tartas de Santiago look pretty good, but are they really? I'd love to know.

Colin Davies said...

They seem OK to me. What the extra 15 euros might be for, I cannot guess.

Dugan said...

As a native speaker, I can confirm that "topar(se)" is alive and well in Castìlian: "me topé con Pedro de camino al bar", etc.