Monday, September 20, 2010

Well, this blog duly passed 250,000 hits yesterday. So I celebrated by not writing a post.

Not really. I got home late from one of those great Spanish lunches that start around 2 and go on until 10. And I was distracted by attempts to fix a non-functioning sound card.

This morning my life – neither for the first nor, I guess, the last time – was dominated by women. Firstly, now that she’s broken the ice after a mere ten years, Pablo’s wife gave me a cheery wave from her car as I walked my dog towards the forest. Then my new next-door neighbour demonstrated she either doesn’t appreciate or care that her shower room is directly opposite my bathroom. (Fortunately, unlike her predecessor, she's young and pretty. But not, it would seem, a natural blonde.) Then, finally, there was the lady who screeched her car to a halt within a couple of inches of my legs in the middle of a zebra crossing on the way into town. I needed the glass of Rioja when I made it to my regular bar.

Talking of roads . . . I wasn’t surprised to read today that there’s no regional law on the height of traffic bumps. The national regulation gives a maximum of 10cm, or 4 inches. But, as the paper confirmed, even in the city of Pontevedra alone, there are many that are well above this. For some of them, you’d be well advised to have an oxygen tank handy. Quite why, only God knows. But it’s amusing seeing drivers trying to avoid getting at least two wheels on them by driving in the gutter.

Pessimism about the European economy is back from its summer vacation, it seems. Here’s the ineffable Ambrose on the financing difficulties facing the peripheral economies.

One of these is, of course, Portugal and it looks as if one victim of further cuts there will be the Lisbon-Madrid high speed train. We know all about delays with the Spanish version of this here in Galicia, of course. But this is not the only link between us and our southern neighbours today. It seems the Portugal-Galicia euro-region is somehow disadvantaged by its small (if trans-national) size in getting its nose into the EU trough. So, lo and behold, a new macrorregión is to be formed, comprising Portugal, Galicia and Castilla y León. That’s how it’s done. If the committee wants a camel, not a horse, extend the latter a bit and give it a hump. Presumably somewhere in East Europe (or perhaps Liverpool!) will lose out, if this stratagem pays dividends.

Finally . . . A letter writer in El Mundo today complained of media commentators using pelota and balón as if they were equivalent in meaning ‘ball’. I was quite happy thinking they were but now have something else to worry about getting right. Great.

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. If this entices you, click here. And, if you enjoy it, please tell her. It’s tough being an aspirant novelist.


Mike the Traditionalist said...

We are lucky in that respect in English because we put basket, tennis, golf etc. in front of ball. I thought balón was only for basket ball and pelota covered everything else so now something new to learn. And to think I am still struggling with por and para.

Colin said...

Who isn't!?