A few Spanish vignettes this Sunday evening, the day after the first night of our big annual fiesta . . .
- Driving through the backstreets of Pontevedra at 9pm last night, trying to find a place to park and avoiding the crowds of drunken girls as young as twelve.
- Walking cross the bridge – having given up trying to find a parking spot – and bumping into both informally dressed aficionados on their way back from the corrida and couples in formal evening wear, on their way to the annual debutantes' ball (yes!) in the summer premises of the Liceo.
- Taking a wide-eyed visitor down the piss-streaked streets and safely through the closely-massed ranks of young people getting ready to vomit – but not fight - the night away.
- Starting a dinner of pork ribs with friends at ten minutes to midnight.
- Walking back home after 1am in the opposite direction from the families coming to the fair and the market stalls on the Alameda, now that the fireworks were over.
As for today, I was up early to drive to my house in the hills so I could cut the lawn before the arrival of a couple wanting to view it. Happily or unhappily, my neighbour called to say there was a meeting at 11.30 of the villagers to discuss matters related to our water supply from the deposits in the hills behind my house. Having presented myself for this, I quickly realised it was going to be entirely in Gallego, a language in which I'm not fluent. There then passed a long two hours dealing with eleven (yes!) agenda items. Virtually all of these were about works already completed and how much we all owe. The rest were mostly about works that are planned and how much these will cost us. But excitement – among other emotions – arose when the president announced that someone in the village was stealing water from the central supply, though I'm not sure how. He called for “thoughts” on this, though definitely not “suspicions”. The highlight, for me, of the meeting was the draw to see which poor soul would have to take on the office of vice-president. Recognising that my lack of Gallego would (fortuitously) disqualify me, the president nominated me for the honour of drawing a number out of the bag. Which has probably made me at least one enemy in the village.
Tonight was the last bullfight of the year, followed by a major procession through the city centre. Sadly, the weather gods have a cruel sense of humour and plastered us with the Atlantic Blanket from midday onwards. Which won't have been too good for either the corrida or the procesión. This, by the way, was to be in honour of one of Spain's countless virgins. An historical perspective, of course, as there aren't many around these days.
Finally . . . A fascinating – and accurate – article on the seriousness of the situation we face now that eurosceptics have been proven correct in their opposition to the one-size-fits-all economic policy of a not-yet-suprastate. Tasters:- “A little schadenfreude on the part of eurosceptics would seem to be in order. It is a measure of the depth of the trouble we are in that there is virtually no gloating at all. . . . I am not sure that even eurosceptics understand that their triumph has been pyrrhic precisely because they were against the consensus of otherwise sensible European politicians and bureaucrats. If they had been fighting marginal extremists, it would have been a different matter. As it was, they were up against an EU that ran economic policy without thinking about what do if the strains in the currency became too much, or if it imposed too much pain and trapped countries in perpetual austerity.” More here.
No one, it seems, has much idea about what will happen next. Though M Sarkozy is said to have plans (for French hegemony?) which he'll be trying to get Mrs Merkel's endorsement of on Tuesday. Yet another big week in store, then.