Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I drove up into the mountains with my neighbour Pablo today. He of the wife who’s recently started to greet me after ignoring me for years. Anyway, it was inevitable we’d get on to Galician cuisine and equally certain he’d tell me he didn’t like spicy food and found it quite incredible I could enjoy this without being as keen as he is on octopus. Or raw razor clams. There were other odd comments – well, odd if you haven’t heard them a hundred times – but perhaps the strangest one was his reason for not liking mackerel. Eating this, he insisted, was like trying to swallow a wool ball because it’s so dry. And here’s me thinking it’s an oily fish and that there’s little tastier that fresh mackerel. For the record, we also disagreed on the attractions of a ton of potatoes covered with a sauce made of oil and sweet paprika. Which is ubiquitous here. As is the opinion it’s the pinnacle of culinary achievement.

Incidentally, Pablo is not alone in his disregard for mackerel; almost no one rates it here. Which is why it's the cheapest fish in the market, selling at around 2 euros a kilo. Or 80p a pound. Which is great for the rest of us.

Back down in Pontevedra, I see that the sign-writers are having another field day. This is because all the city roads are now limited to 30kph, or about 20mph. It’ll be interesting to see if this makes any difference at all to the accident statistics. And whether any action is taken in respect of the numerous drivers who use a mobile phone while on the move.

Still on cars . . . I saw one tonight with the licence plate - 0000 GST. Which struck me as odd. And possibly not what you’d want on a getaway car. I wonder if, as in the UK, it’s valuable because it can be traded.

Electricity . . . The bad news is that prices will rise 3% in a month or two, just in time for the winter bills. The good news is that my electricity supplier is now estimating my usage every second month at only 10% more than the actual.

Finally . . . Seeing a picture of a mangled car in the paper, with only the sports wheels identifiable, it’s pretty easy to guess the sex and age of the driver and the day and time on which he/she met his/her destiny with a tree. Male, 18-30, Sunday morning and between 4 and 6am, to be exact. So it was with the latest example I saw yesterday. Surprisingly, the driver was not over the alcohol limit and must have been delighted he'd survived and probably won’t be prosecuted. However, he might spend the rest of his life feeling bad about his mate in the passenger seat losing both his legs.

Tailnote for new readers: My elder daughter has now net-published five chapters of a novel which is “A fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalised Cuba, it’s being e-published at the rate of at least a couple of chapters a week. Click here, if this entices you. If you enjoy it, please tell her. It’s tough being an aspirant novelist.


Lenox said...

Best number-plate (supposing that it existed) would have been from Orense some yeras back:

Colin said...

Quite. But you mean 'Ourense', of course . . . .

Sierra said...

Neighbour LU 0000 00

"that prices will rise 3% in a month"

You'll be lucky - today's news "the cabinet will be obliged to increase electricity prices by 5.6% from October"

Sierra said...

P.S. Is it a coincidence that mackeral is "caballa" and horse is "caballo", or gives a clue to their respective taste sensations to the Spanish?

Colin said...

The Spanish know what horses taste like????

Colin said...

Or they just think that caballa is a mare???

Mike the Traditionalist said...

There used to be a butcher shop near my mother-in-law's house here in A Coruña which only sold horse meat but it closed some time in the 80s. The sign hanging outside the shop had a painting of a horse so you couldn't mistake it for a normal butchershop.

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