Friday, March 05, 2010

Bullfighting; Prostitution; The Pope in Galicia; Galcian wolves; and the AVE.

Never one to miss a chance to display her right-wing credentials, the Presidenta of the Madrid Regional government, Esperanza Aguirre, has responded to the debate in the Catalan parliament about a ban on bullfighting by suggesting UNESCO declare it part of the world heritage. Rather like Mrs Thatcher sticking out of a tank around the time of the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, she felt it necessary to drape herself in a matador’s cloak before providing us with comments some see as designed to further her chances of taking over the leadership of the PP party from Sr Rajoy in due course. For what it’s worth, I think she’ll do it.

In Graham Greene’s charming 1984 novel, Monsignor Quixote, the final chapter takes place up in the Galician mountains. Specifically in an unnamed village dominated by wealthy “Mexicans” who’ve corrupted an only-too-willing priest with their ready money. And then, finally, in the monastery in Osera/Oseira - to give it its short name. Anyway, there can be little doubt the village is Avión, which is dominated by large houses of little class or style financed by the proceeds of prostitution in Mexico. Which Greene, for some reason, neglects to point out. As you’d expect, the village has its own little airfield, for the doyens of the place who can afford to fly back and forwards from Mexico in their own jets. Probably from one ugly house to another.

Talking of Galicia - I think it’s now widely known that the Pope will be giving a boost to our Xacobeo year by visiting Santiago in November. Which means the king will have to haul himself up here as well. But the good news is the Curia has advised me El Papa is boning up on the place by reading my web page and this blog. Honest. Now, if I could just get him to rent my lovely place in the hills.

And still on Galicia . . . The number 12 is a good one to bear in mind when considering the progress of the AVE high speed train here. 2012 was when we were supposed to be connected with Madrid; 12 years is now the best guess for how many years of delay we’ll suffer; and some folk feel the 12th of Never would be the most accurate forecast for completion of the works. But we will see. At least we should be able to get from Vigo to La Coruña on it within 3 years.

And finally on Galicia . . . There was a report in the papers today of an 80 year old shepherd being attacked by a 15 year old wolf up in our mountains. It seems the struggle would have been more titanic if the wolf hadn’t had only three legs and if either of them had had any teeth. I doubt they’ll be making a film of it.

A new bit of Spanglish, possibly only invented this week. From an ad in today’s papers:- Descubre los Must de la temporada. Conveniently, Los Must are defined as “What you can’t go without. What you must have.”

Finally . . . I have one or two quibbles about Google’s Gmail but, by and large, I’m impressed by what they do. No more so than tonight when the computer asked me “You’ve mentioned an attachment in your message but there isn’t one. Have you forgotten to add it?” Or something like that. Impressive. But a tad frightening. Which is true of Google as a whole, I guess.

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