Saturday, September 11, 2010

There was an odd little incident in Pontevedra yesterday, reported in today’s Voz de Galicia. At 9 in the morning, in a street I use most days, a young man parked his scooter on the pavement - for maximum convenience for himself and maximum inconvenience for pedestrians. Nothing terribly unusual in this, you might say. And you’d be right. This time, though, the pedestrians – parents taking their kids to a nearby school – asked him to remove the machine. And when he refused, they called the police. Now, I don’t know whether it was the national, regional, provincial or local force which responded but they can’t have been all that busy, as three of them turned up. The young man proved equally impervious to the arguments of the police and, after an hour, an official “Witness Wagon” was summoned, he was booked and his scooter was carted off to the pound. Clearly, then, he was one of those people I cited yesterday who feel the rules are not really for them. And was determined to prove it. Apparently on the grounds that his law-breaking wasn’t doing anyone any harm. I don’t, by the way, know what function the Witness Wagon (Furgoneta[?] de Testigos) serves but I guess it operates as a mobile office in which people are interviewed and statements taken.

I was rather taken today by this 1815 list (by Byron, no less) of the eight stages of a drinking bout – these being silent, then talky, then argumentative, then disputatious, then unintelligible, then altogethery, then inarticulate, and finally drunk. Now, I’ve never heard of “altogethery” but my guess is it corresponds to the Spanish custom (obligation?) of everyone talking or arguing simultaneously. So, if we assume that there’s no silent phase in Spain and that “altogethery” is a permanent overlay for all the others, there can only be six stages to a Spanish drinking bout. Possibly only five if, as is often the case, inebriation is avoided. And, these, days we can probably add a ninth to the British version – aggressive.

So, the French are up in arms because their retirement age is being raised from 60 to 62. Have they no idea how lucky they are, compared to their EU compatriots? Do they care? I imagine not.

En passant, I did check my utility bills. It was the gas unit prices which increased by 21-32%, not the electricity unit prices. The speciality of my electricity supplier is grossly over-estimating my usage every second month, despite having ten years of data. Thank God they're not responsible for predicting the performance of the Spanish economy.

Finally . . . The Voz de Galicia today reported that the Galician Xunta is trying to ensure there are places in Spain to buy the boxes for the new Portuguese toll roads. It also answered my need for data on the alternatives for getting to Oporto airport, once the Portuguese put tolls on the trunk road. So, for those with an interest in this, here it is, from the border at Tui:-
Via the A3: One hour, Euros 7.05
Via the A3, A27 and A28: One hour, 24 mins. Euros 4.04
Via the N13: Two hours 45 mins. Free.

Tailnote for new readers: My elder daughter has now net-published five chapters of a novel she describes as “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 do go and you enjoy it, please comment. It’s tough being a novelist. And the father of a novelist.

Non-Google Advert: Looking for accommodation for the ETU triathlon European championships in Pontevedra next June? Click on the Contact Me button above for details of a great place just outside the city.

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