I’m a little confused by what’s going on in one of the wi-fi cafés I use. A couple of weeks ago, a computer terminal was installed at each end of the place and I assumed we were moving away from the system of giving your table number at the bar so they could check what you’d had from a scrap of paper on a numbered board on the wall and charge you accordingly. And, indeed, for a day or so we were issued with an invoice spat out by the computer, which we then took to the counter and paid against. But then things went back to how they’d been before, the only difference being that the board now has the receipts from the computer and not the bits of paper written by the waitresses. I’m not clear that this is progress, despite the increased expense of the new system. But I do know this is one of the few places in town where the prices have risen in the last two or three years. And that I’ve lost a plug socket for my laptop.
I see that the funeral parlour illegally built next to Pontevedra’s main hospital seventeen years ago will be demolished on 12 August. And then re-built. Maybe.
Please don’t tell Alfie but I accepted an invitation from a friend who’s a founder member of one of Pontevedra’s oldest peñas and attended the bulls last night. You can tell where the peña’s real loyalties lie from its name – Gin Kas – and, in truth, the program of eating and drinking both before and (long) after the actual corrida was way beyond my capacities. As I’ve said before, the Spanish take their merry-making very seriously and are ruthlessly efficient at it. The bullfight itself naturally evoked all my ambiguities about this "art form" but was at least notable for the six very clean kills. Though I doubt I’ll ever get used to people cheering the still-less-than-instantaneous death of an animal on these grounds. The score, of course, was the same as ever – Toreros 6: Bulls 0 – and the latter are never going to get promotion to the Primera League until they shape up.
Tonight is the last of the corridas and, therefore, the last time this year the poor residents of Pontevedra’s old quarter will have to suffer the binge drinking, urinating and vomiting (the botellón) which accompanies them. They have protested, naturally enough, that the botellón is no longer permitted in the city and that, furthermore, it doesn’t rank as one of the traditional fiestas for which an exception is made to the noise regulations. But deaf ears have been turned to their complaints, at least for this year. Which is, ironically, what you need to allow you to get any sleep at all on these two weekends of the year.
Finally . . . For those here in Spain irritated by telemarketers, here’s some sound advice from David Jackson. Incidentally, I find David’s blog slow to open, so don’t worry if this happens to you.