Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turns out it's been the driest summer in 30 years here in Galicia. Though not, by far, the sunniest. In fact, we've had less sun than usual. But things haven't been as bad as in the UK, where it's been the coldest summer in three decades. Which is certainly saying something. Presumably they've had to have the central heating on the entire year.

Well, both Everton and Pontevedra FC started the season in the same pathetic manner - losing 1-0 to a team just promoted from a lower division. Though Pontevedra's was the worse performance, as they were playing in a league below last season's. Mind you, nothing compares to Arsenal's 2-8 thrashing by bloody Manchester United at the weekend. Good to see that their manager, Arsene Wenger, will survive the humiliation. Possibly.

I was going to going to write that Orwell a was a bit of a bugger - for writing words I don't know (see below) - but then I got onto the topic of US v. British English and found these respective definitions of the word 'bugger' on a page kindly cited by reader. And I decided not to upset any British readers . . .

BRITISH: 1. To engage in or someone who engages in anal sex. 2. A form of address for either a person or item - either jocular ("he's a generous bugger") or less so ("he's a mean bugger").

US: A term of endearment, often used for children. (In spoken English, the British "bugger" is sometimes misheard by Americans as "booger")

Thirty or forty years ago, when I saw the first cinema ads for a male cosmetic, I laughed out loud at the suggestion men would become anywhere near as obsessed with these things as women. Which helps to explain why I'm not a millionaire. Last weekend, in a rugby match of all things, there was a large ad for Dove Skincare for Men in the middle of the pitch. Orwell would surely have made more of this than I can.

I'm pleased to say that at least a couple of the forty or so resident sparrows have returned to my garden. Which reminds me . . . Looking out of my window down on to Pontevedra this rainy afternoon, I was surprised to see that rarest of modern birds - the builder's crane. We haven't seen any of these for quite a while. Which is something of a contrast with, say, five years ago, when they dominated the cityscape. And gave us the hundreds of empty flats now littering the city. And many others, no doubt.

I've mentioned a couple of times what a joy it is to have so many wi-fi cafés in Pontevedra. But sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. And so it was that last night I spent 45 minutes, of the 60 I had available, trying to find one that did. But at least in the second and third I didn't order a drink before I'd scouted the lay of the land.

My elder daughter arrives in a couple of days. I'm guessing she's not going to like the fact that I've extended a habit she deplores - sucking oxygen in through my teeth when drinking - from wine to fruit juices. Modern parents!

Finally . . Does anyone know anything about electric bikes? Are they worth the 1-3,000 euros they cost? I fancy freewheeling down the hill and powering back up it.

Here's another article on Galician wines.

Finally, finally . . . How about someone putting me out of my misery by becoming the 140th person to access my blog via Google Reader.

Finally, finally, finally . . . The waiter who said "Gracias a chi" to me is Brazilian. Whether this is an adequate explanation, I don't know.

APPENDIX 1ORWELL'S WORDS (From Keep the Aspidistras Flying)

- Mingy (Does it have the modern meaning?)
- Cit
- Chiel
- Widdershins (which appears to mean counter-clockwise and, if so, should be brought            
        back, like sennight)
- Aquarelle
- Etiolated (I really should know this one)
- Madder ('the colour of brown madder')
- Strow (?strew?)
- The groves of Ashtaroth.

More anon. Meanwhile, there's a prize for the first reader to correctly define all these. Unless it's, Alfie B. Mittington.


Diego said...

I was going to comment yesterday about the "gracias a chi" incident but got sidetracked with something very important on the internet...

It does have to do with the waiter being Brazilian. The "ti" sound in Spanish does come out as "chi" from a Portuguese speaking person. For example Latina would be Lachina.

Sierra said...

I hope the returning sparrows include the ones who were using my swimming pool as a bird bath and lavatory, and who have been (probably temporarily) scared off by my colourful windmill scarecrow

C said...

I've just become the 140th person to access your blog via Google Reader, although, I'll probably continue to read it predominantly via RSS feed.

Re bugger it means the same thing down here in South Africa as it does in the UK, and yet it's become something akin to the Spanish coño, as it’s uttered by blue-haired ladies, on-air radio personalities and other interesting people.

Colin said...


OK but I'd expect to hear this pronunciation in Galicia as well. And in N Portugal. Perhaps only Brazilian Portuguese.

Colin said...


Would you be the Colin who wrote to my thoughtsfromgalicia gmail address a couple of years ago? If so, I finally sent a reply last week . . .

Mike the Traditionalist said...

@Colin - I have managed to finally get registered on line with Fenosa this morning and can now see my bill etc. on line. Guess they have finally done something to accept my NIE which before was always rejected.

sp said...

A poem I have nicked:

While Titian was mixing rose madder
His model posed nude on a ladder
Her position to Titian suggested coition
So he climbed up the ladder and 'ad 'er

Colin said...

Ta but still no wiser

Colin said...

Congratulations, Mike. But will you be any more able to understand it???

Mike the Traditionalist said...

No but I will be able to change the payment system from one account to another. As far as the information on the bill goes it means absolutely nothing to me. I could be paying for someone's mortgage for all I know!

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