Monday, January 18, 2010

In our neck of the woods, there’s an annual festival which involves throwing stones over the church roof, while people are walking along the other side of it. With predictable results. But I see this is not the oddest of such Spanish events.

I wanted to talk to my ‘asesor’ in each of my two banks this morning. This can’t be done by appointment so, having presented yourself, it’s pot luck whether you have to wait and for how long. Perhaps because it’s Monday, there were queues in both banks, so I decided to make my enquiry by email. At times like this, I always recall the comment in John Hooper’s book, The New Spaniards, to the effect that Spanish companies needed to realise the rest of the world doesn’t feel it necessary to transact everything face-to-face. Or, putting it another way, they need to get better at responding to ‘impersonal’ contacts. But, anyway, I have to report that one bank responded right away by email and the other spent the afternoon trying to get in touch with me on a mobile phone I’d left in my other jacket. That said, both of them basically asked me to return to the bank to discuss the options. It’s progress, I guess but imagine this happening every time I spoke to my bank in the UK.

I see in this month’s Prospect magazine that you actually burn a decent number of calories while doing brain puzzles. As it happens, I usually tackle a cryptic crossword while I’m walking Ryan in the woods but this is now starting to be problematic. His advanced age of nigh-on-16 years means his sight and hearing are slowly going and it’s not good for me, while concentrating, to inadvertently walk out of his reduced field of vision. For, when I turn round, he’s half way up another track and is then clearly confused as to the source of a whistle which he could, until recently, easily place. I guess I’ll have to get a long lead. Or stop burning calories I didn’t know I was burning.

Finally, if you’ve any interest in knowing the viewpoint of a Galician Nationalist who doesn’t feel the need to be abusive and who can remain civil in the face of provocation from me, take a look at the Comments to my posts of the last couple of weeks. There you’ll find a dialogue between me and José, at the end of which we identified a little common ground but amicably agreed to disagree on the rest. Particularly on the issue of compelling bad Galicians to be good Galicians.

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