Friday, October 15, 2010

Interesting to read this in the context of the Chilean miners – “At least five wives have been forced to come face to face with mistresses whose existence was kept from them by their husband.  One miner has four women fighting over him in an effort to claim compensation offered to the families. Some of the men have children from numerous women.” Complicated times. Perhaps some of them will soon be looking for another bolt-hole.

Which reminds me . . . Reading Naguib Mahfouz’s masterpiece, The Cairo Trilogy, I’ve been surprised by three things about (Islamic) Cairo in the 1920s and 30s – the casual adultery, the hard drinking and the fact that obesity is women is seen as attractive. On the last of these, here’s a relevant sentence or two – “She seemed a massive chunk of flesh. . .  As plumpness was the key to her beauty, she took extraordinary care to maintain her weight.  . . Her sons’ thinness enraged her and she said, disapprovingly, “I’ve told you a thousand times to use chamomile to improve your appetites.” I guess things are different in Egypt these days. As least as regards standards of beauty.

Incidentally, I don’t, offhand, recall the purveyors of natural products promoting the fat-generating qualities of the chamomile plant. The kiss of death, I imagine.

I sometimes have the feeling that – despite still being more popular than the leader of the opposition – President Zapatero must rank as the lamest of ducks. Here’s Guy Hedgecoe of Qorreo addressing one of the consequences of this – significant doubts (and PSOE fears!) about whether he’ll stand for a third term in 2012.

I’m a bit late with this but I wasn’t over-surprised to see an advert for Christmas on British TV on the first day of October. In fact, I’d expected this in September, as is usually the case. What did rather take me back was the supermarket avoiding the mention of Christmas and referring only to “25 December”.

And talking of dates . . . It’s really looking quite possible we’ll have an anti-smoking law with (yellow?) teeth by early January. Though not by January 1, as this would interfere with New Year celebrations, it’s reported. It was amusing to read that “There is some doubt as what will constitute a ‘terrace’ in the legislation, when there is a ‘semi-closed’ space, with an understanding from the Government that a terrace on the Canary Islands is not the same as one in Galicia”. Not when it’s raining anyway.

Finally . . . No, there was no one working on the site behind my house today. And so I was more than usually interested to see it’s been decided there’ll be one less fiesta in the official calendar for next year. Hard times, obviously. But there’ll still be quite a few. Hard to share the view of some that this will impact positively on Spain's productivity.

Tailnote for new readers:  Exciting news. The first eight chapters of my daughter’s novel can now be read and/or downloaded in pdf form, for easy reading. It’s 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.

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