Thursday, January 07, 2010

Well, although the forecast was a little worrying, there was no snow between Bilbao and Palencia yesterday. And very little on the Galician mountain roads either. However, there were at least five snow-ploughs/plows parked up on the Bilbao-Madrid autopista, waiting for the stuff. Over in the UK – where the weather is the only news item – there seems to be an acute shortage of these. Having lived through the winters of 47-48 (just!) and 62-63, it makes me smile to see how much fuss is being made of things there. I blame it on global warming. Actually, the biggest laugh came when the Sky News reporter made the breathless comment that it might actually snow in Spain today. You can’t blame the general public for believing all of Spain is like Andalucia but an international journalist? Assuming TV reporters merit this title.

Although here in Spain we’re said to be passing through a period of deflation – or ‘internal devaluation’ as it’s now fashionably called – the price of my fresh orange juice has risen by 6%. Or ten cents. Even 3% - or 5 cents – would be way above the inflation rate but this was obviously not appealing enough. I may be wrong but I’m guessing that the salaries of the hard-working waitresses in this café haven’t risen by even 3%. Anyway, I'm refusing to drink it in protest.

I’ve been reading a book about the Russian empire called “Imperium”. It’s written by a Polish writer with the name of Rysard Kapuscinski. More or less. At one point he stresses that “A nationalistic revolution is sweeping the world today. We will sail into the 21st century upon its waves.” It’s hard to disagree with him – especially if you live in Spain – and it’s this zeitgeist more than anything else which makes me query the survival prospects of the EU political experiment. But perhaps economics will do the job first.

Feeling it best to put some petrol in my tank when I was about 100km from home, I pulled into a petrol/gas station on the autopista and asked for 25 litres of their high-price stuff. “Oh,” said the attendant, “if you want to have less than a full tank, you have to go inside and ask them to arrange it.” So . . . Is this a new truco with which to fleece the customer? Or an indication of a lack of trust in the attendant? Or is there some other explanation? Either way, it was irritating as I couldn’t be bothered to make the journey to the desk.

Finally . . . My apologies to Spanish readers for getting llovizna wrong. I had my suspicions.

And my thanks to all those who advised on the various Gallego words for drizzle. I’m not surprised there’s more than one.


Midnight Golfer said...

Have I mentioned my discomfort at not being able to
pay-at-the-pump in this forum yet? If, not, I have now.

It was one of the first things I missed upon moving to Spain.

I'm still waiting to see any deflation in prices in my own life here in Spain.

Houses for sale in Spain said...

I like the Asturian word for drizle. "Urbayu"The spelling may be wrong though

Colin said...


I think I've been able to pay by card in one or two stations.

But I couldn't in France as my Spanish cards were all rejected. Presumably because they have no micro-chip.

@ HfS.

Thanks. I guess this is the first of these kindly sent by a Gallego reader. But in an Asturian accent.

'In Galician we have “orbalho“, “poalha“, “chuvisca“.

BTW - I suspect the easiest way to make a Gallego laugh is to say Cow in Asturiano.

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