Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reading through the Galicia chapter of Richard Ford’s Handbook for Travellers in Spain, I’m forced to the conclusion – from the numerous references – that he assumes all 19th century travellers carried trout-fishing equipment with them. Perhaps they did. And, if you think old George Borrow didn’t pull his punches, you should take a look at what RF has to say. Though possibly not if you’re Galician.

Talking of negativity . . . I see the British government has also thrown a bucket of cold water over President Zapatero’s grand scheme for the next ten wonderful years of the EU. Following on from the massive success of the Lisbon Treaty. But we can probably put this down to typically arrogant British disdain of anything Spanish. Though I do feel some of us have moved on a bit. The man himself is now doing his best to save face, though possibly finding the international community less susceptible to his mendacious and pollyanna-ish way with words. I imagine he’ll be keeping a low profile from now on. Though my friend Alfred might disagree. He’s sent me this message today, suggesting President Z may have other arrows in his quiver . . .

The name is MITTINGTON, not WITTINGTON, you orthographic Liverputian!

Other than that, the fact that Frau Merkel, like a Walking Walkyrie, ruthlessly sabres down Don ZP's neatest scheme to solve an internal Spanish problem, because she is loath to have the Mediterranean food-stamp nations dictate economic policy to the Bundesbank, does not imply that it wasn't meant that way. The Titanic also sank, but the original plan was that it would reach New York!

Just watch the cunning fellow! He'll find another way!

Alfred.

Well, Yes, Alfie. But the Titanic was not only meant to stay afloat but everyone thought it would. Did everyone think Zap’s kite would fly? Or do you believe he knew it wouldn’t? Is he really that perspicacious? Or devious? Well, OK. Yes to the last one. BTW – Sorry about calling you Wittington; after all, you’re not a Dick, are you? Don’t know what I was thinking of.

Talking of Spain and Britain, I see the Banco Santander is now advertising its intention to be Britain’s biggest bank. I find it hard to see them being larger than, say, HSBC in international terms so I’m guessing this means that, after the takeover of the ailing Abbey and Bradford & Bingley operations, they’re on the verge of having more branches than anyone else in the UK. This is a very Spanish way of looking at banking and I’m wondering whether their British outlets will, as here, be stuffed with people sitting at desks down the side of main hall, waiting for folk to walk in off the street without an appointment. Nice, but expensive, I would have thought.

Finally . . . I made some hotel bookings today for a group of friends coming to do the Camino with me end-May/early-June. I wasn’t too surprised that most of the receptionists volunteered that May was “rather a long way off” to be doing this. But the good side to this why-bother-now attitude in this last-minute country is that you can cancel and get all your money back until a month before the dates. Simply because no-one else will be even thinking of booking until then.

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