Local councils around Spain are reported to be finding it difficult to pay their bills. Especially the smaller ones. Councils, I mean. Not the bills. This problem is particularly acute here in Galicia, where there’s the highest density of tiny councils in the country. So, as with the troubled cajas/caixas (local savings banks) there's talk of amalgamation in the air.
Speaking of councils . . . I guess it all depends on where you are on the safety-obession v. pragmatism spectrum how you will respond to the news that few of these in Galicia seek any evidence of the safety of the fairground attractions which move around from town to town during the fiesta months. This, of course, has become a hot issue after the recent death of a child on one of these. Personally, I’m such a coward that I’ve never gone on any of them – even as a child. So it’s all academic to me. But I’ll be trying to keep my daughters off them in the future. And my grandchildren. Should I ever get any.
An article in El Pais yesterday was headlined “Why are we so bad at learning English?”. The usual suspects were arraigned and, thank God, the ridiculous theory that Spaniards are genetically disadvantaged was rejected out of hand. The writer stressed that the huge Franco-inspired dubbing industry has done Spanish kids no favours at all, in contrast with their peers in neighbouring Portugal. True, but does anyone see anything changing in the foreseeable future? Just a few tears now and another bout of soul-searching in a few years time.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times over the years that Spanish cartoonists always portray capitalists in 19th century US garb, complete with stovepipe hat. I was reminded of this today by this comment in a British newspaper . . “Just as in cartoons burglars still wear striped jerseys, so only in our imaginations do ironmongers wear brown warehouse coats and milkmen white coats and peaked caps.”
I doubt there’s a greengrocer's shop in Spain these days which doesn’t ask you to use plastic gloves when handling the produce. I have to confess I never have. But this is because I select by sight, not feel, and thus always buy the item I pick up. Until today, that is. When I used a glove to break off a piece of ginger from a large hand of the stuff. Only to have the checkout girl take it from me with coin-besmirched fingers and put it on the bare weighing machine. Perhaps she realised that ginger has a protective skin. And perhaps she didn’t.
Finally . . . From a notice on the gates of the town cemetery I learned today that even the dead in Spain have summer hours for visits. Presumably to allow them a clear run through to a night on the slabs.