Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I wanted, last night, to cite an article about the Duke of Edinburgh's sense of humour but, just as I was about to post my blog, I realised it was in The Times and so protected by a pay-wall. So, here is the headline and the opening paragraph:- "The Duke of Edinburgh is a monument to a vanishing form of humour. We should celebrate him while we still can. . . . The Duke of Edinburgh is notorious for his “jokes”, but he really only has one, single, transferrable joke, and it goes like this: foreigners are odd; they look peculiar, eat strange things, and may be lumped into groups according to national or racial characteristics; this is funny. " The author adds that the Duke is insensitive to peoples' feelings and that his sense of humour is of an "ancient and creaking" form. The days of such humour, he stresses, are long gone. Well, in the UK maybe but certainly not here in Spain. Which leads regularly to (foreigner) accusations of racism, when the humour is applied to black footballers, for example. And most Spanish take the same stance as the Duke is said to when they come under the same criticism as he does.

Well, if Tony ever did take on board my request, it didn't take much time for him to revert to form. At 8.15 this morning he was bawling at his two sons as loudly as ever. I felt for my two visitors trying to sleep in. Especially poor Sarah, who has the room on the other side of the wall from the boys.

Historian Paul Preston has a new book out, called "The Spanish Holocaust". The review in IberoSphere is harrowing enough, so one can only imagine what experience the book itself offers. Interestingly enough, the publication coincides with a storm around the section on Franco in a new National Biography Dictionary, published by Spain's Royal Academy. Astonishingly, this has been penned by someone from the far right and takes, not unexpectedly, a sympathetic view of the dictator. Specifically, the author claims that Franco ruled "authoritatively" and not dictatorially. Which will be a surprise to the relatives of all the dead catalogued in Preston's book. That said, I see that the blurb for ITV's documentary series on the Civil War, refers to an "Authoritarian State". Anyway, here's The Guardian on the Franco biog and the outrage it's caused.

There are any number of words in Spanish which mean 'slut' or 'whore', most notably the feminine versions of masculine forms which mean something relatively innocuous. Like golfo and golfa. Lout/slob and tart/whore, respectively. But I came across a new one today - fulana. Needless to say, the masculine form means the relatively tame "a so-and-so", or "such a one".

A perspective . . . This list - displayed in Plaza de Sol, I believe - contrasts the increase in some everyday staples - ranging up to 400% - over the last 11-12 years. In contrast, the waiter's wage has increased by only 3.5%.

Finally . . . Regular readers will know I think the Spanish can be amongst the most friendly, generous and 'noble' people on the planet. But also that they can come across as astonishingly inconsiderate of others. Parking my car below the local supermarket this morning, I saw a nearby car straddling two bays. And, despite the fact that parking is at a premium everywhere in this city, I saw four more examples of this as I made the short walk to the lift. My view is that the drivers should get back to find their cars scratched. Though, given their thoughtlessness, there has to be some doubt they'd be capable of putting two and two together.


Justin Roberts said...

I don't know about Galicia but here in Andalucia the parking bays are often exactly as wide as the average car, so you have to take up more than one just to get in and out of the car...

Colin said...

I think the bays are big enough in the supermarket park. And the cars were all parked diagonally across two bays, rather than in the bay but a little bit over the line.

Ferrolano said...

From my observation throughout Spain, the size of parking spots s great if you drive a Fiat 500, but forget it if you drive a Ford Mondeo, in which case, once parked you need to wait for the person in the next spot to remove his car before you can get out of yours. Generally, parking spots are too small; which doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t exceptions!

Colin said...

Yes, I've scraped my car in flat carparks down in Malaga. But the bays in Carrefour carpark in Poio are big enough for the largest Mercedes. No excuse for double-bay-parking. Just plain selfishness.

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