Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, it didn't take long for the governing PSOE socialist party to initiate an internecine - and highly public - battle for the leadership of a party which can't possibly win the general elections next year. Forty-eight hours, to be exact. Following a bizarre initiative on Monday from an ex regional governor who wasn't thought to be in the running, the leading candidate yesterday delivered a coup de main against both the current President and his main - female, young and Catalan(!) - opposition. Fun to watch, especially as, if I were at the top of the party, I'd be doing my utmost to avoid being forced to put my hands round the poisoned chalice. But two things seem clear; firstly, there ain't going to be a democratic process involving all party members; and, secondly, this show will run and run. True socialists must be close to depression.

Arriving at my usual morning café, I heard a motor-cyclist shout at the woman he'd just nearly hit on a zebra crossing - "You should look!". Then he shouted this a second time but this might just have been code for a face-saving apology. I am not yet privy to all the nuances of Spanish culture. And won't be for at least another thirty years.

I take my morning coffee in a place near a secondary college. At 11, this is taken over by teachers having the sort of long break my teacher daughter in the UK can only dream of. Today they were joined by a couple of 16-17 year old female pupils, dressed as if for the beach. I suspect the male teachers must have problems knowing where to look. Or at least the hetero ones. Perhaps they wear eye-patches.

I can't believe it's taken me more than two weeks to go to my favourite tapas bar for my favourite tapas dish - zamburiñas en/al ajillo. Most of you won't have any idea what this is but, if you ever make it to this beautiful city and its gem of an old quarter, contact me and I might be willing to reveal both what zamburiñas are and where the bar is.

I touched on Spanish productivity the other day. As I don't toil for my pennies, I can't really comment on Spanish working practices. Though I do have a couple of Anglo friends who've been known to spit blood on this subject. What I can say is that, when I shop in Liverpool or Leeds, I always get what I went out for. But, if I leave the house here with a list of 6 things to get, I'll be very happy if I come home with 3 of them. I can't explain why this happens; it just does. Meaning quite a lot of time wasted. Oh, and my (British) handyman didn't come this morning because the shop hadn't got the metal plate for my gate he'd been promised for today.

Talking of local customs . . . I was awoken at 8 this morning by Nice-but-Noisy Tony at his bellowing best. I responded by putting on Radio Gold (hits of the last 40 years) at a volume which would have disturbed any other neighbour. Or at least caused him/her to ask whether there was any reason for my unusual behaviour. But experience shows that indirectas are useless with Tony. So, this afternoon, I grasped the nettle and, for the first time in 6 or 7 years, bluntly asked him not to shout so much in the mornings. I tied this request to the visit of two young women, whom I said would be out all night and would want to sleep in. And I suggested he take a British approach and just belt his sons, if they didn't get out of bed quickly enough. I must say he seemed lost for words, almost as if he were mulling over this suggestion. But we will see.

Finally . . . The encampment of Los Indignados in Pontevedera. At lunchtime, there were 13 small tents, a large canopy, 5 dogs and about 10 people milling around. Most of the latter were young women.

At 7.45 this evening, there weren't an awful lot more people, even though an event was scheduled for 8.

This is Pontevedra's Alameda, originally the orchard of the convent attached to a nearby church. It comes into its own in August, when the city has its main fiesta and the place is covered in stalls and a fairground. Then again in September for the Feria Franca, the medieval weekend. This picture is taken from one end and the encampment is just about discernible at the other, taking up - I would think - about 3% of the total space available. So, on the half-full principle, plenty of scope for growth.

The encampment proper, with a heated discussion taking place on the right.

A side view.

The kiddies' section.

A view from the other end of the Alameda.

The Musical section.

One of the notice-boards. I was intrigued to see that another one was listing what the campers wanted by way of writing materials and food. Plus "Teachers of Tai Chi and Gym". Perhaps boredom is setting in.

But what a great place for all the city's scruffy travellers and their dogs to spend their unproductive moments. Most of the day and night, in other words. Who knows, there may  even be a Grass Section, obviating the need to walk across the bridge to the more established gypsy encampment below my house.

The Main Event, at 8.30. Maybe a hundred people. Less than heart-warming, I fear.


Dirk van der Woude said...

There is this Google command define:zamburiñas

Indeed they look great!

Colin said...

Carajo! My secret is out!!

ANA said...

Oh dear, I thought our camp ( the one in Huesca)was getting a bit pathetic looking but last night there seems to have been a bit of a surge in interest with a few more bods, bongos and dogs on strings than yours! The latest is we must all draw out 150 euros on Monday ( something on a par with what Eric Cantona suggested a while back.)

ANA said...

Actually, it's 155 euros in remembrance of the day it all kicked off. Don't think they realise most banks don't let you draw out fivers.