Monday, June 18, 2012

Dear reader:

To the best of my recollection, this is what I wrote for Saturday's post. I've re-written this while going up and down on Brittany Ferries' excellent boat, the Pont Aven. I mention this as it allows me to share a secret with you. When you're checking in for a ferry, time your arrival at the cubicle as close to the deadline as you're happy with. This has three advantages:-
  • You won't have to wait in a queue to get to the cubicle
  • You won't have to wait an hour or two to board; you'll go straight on.
  • Best of all, your car will be on the bottom deck (3) and you'll be first off the boat, leaving all those who diligently checked in early, to wait 30-60 minutes to get off.
But please don't tell anyone else about this.

But now the serious stuff . . .

In the never-ending saga of the eurozone crisis, tomorrow's elections in Greece and France (frections? Frogections?) are widely expected to make things worse. If only because M. Hollande's socialist party gains strength. Meanwhile, it's good to see the executive management team getting its act together, with Mrs Merkel attacking the French president on Friday for allowing the French economy to stall. Adding that his policies could destroy the eurozone by bringing the sovereign debt crisis to France itself.

Sticking my beck out, I'd say there's now a consensus that the eurozone can only be saved by full fiscal and political union. For only then will Germany release its tight grip on her purse strings. Trouble is - there's also a widespread belief that these will take so long to achieve, the Project will collapse before they happen. Putting this another way, the road to Armageddon is shorter than that to Nirvana. The timelines are out of synch. Which raises the question - Where should one have one's money on the day the collapse shakes the world? The USA? China? Germany? Mars? Certainly not Spain, I guess. In the meantime, bigger and bigger cans will no doubt be kicked down quite a few roads. But with an ever-shortening time gap between initial euphoria and eventual fear. 

But to be positive - Europe's leaders will chew over broad proposals for "fiscal union" at a summit in late June but France is opposed to any major loss of sovereignty. One EU diplomat said Germany itself seems to be schizophrenic. "If they would actually tell us what they meant by fiscal union, we may get somewhere. I don't think we will have anything beyond a roadmap from this summit," he said.

And:-The German government has begun opening the door to shared debts for the first time in a profound change of policy, agreeing to explore proposals for a €2.3 trillion stabilization fund in order to stop the eurozone’s crisis escalating out of control. Officials in Berlin say privately that Chancellor Angela Merkel is willing to drop her vehement opposition to plans for a “European Redemption Pact”, a “sinking fund” that would pay down excess sovereign debt in the eurozone.

So, it looks like we're safe to the end of June. Which, doubtless, will allow Europe's elite to take July and August off.

You wait months - if not years - for the word scatological to come along and then two arrive at the same time. After mentioning it yesterday, this morning I heard it during a discussion of Joyce's Ulysses. Naturally enough. And just as I was typing the word Naturally just now, someone on the radio used it. What, I wonder, are the odds on that.

Finally . . Shortly before I left Leeds, my younger daughter gave me a gift and a Father's Day card. The message read - Relax on Fathers' Day. To which she had added - Why change an established routine? I suspect she meant this as a bit of a dig but I rather took it as a compliment.

Finally, finally . . . It took me only ten minutes to get off the boat today. A great deal less than usual. 


Perry said...

The conflating and confusing translation of eschatological & scatological, as having one meaning in Spanish explains, in part, why English is a more satisfying language. Mind you, Schadenfreude is a most useful noun that has deliciously passed into common usage in English, but do the Spanish enjoy it?

How, one wonders (wun oneders) would (wood)the cavalier Spanish deal with revelling & revealing, feeling & felling, kneel & knell? After all, vela is either a sail or a candle; hauling one up could be fraught with difficulties.
BTW, fraught translates as llena, but that only means full. Full with difficulties; just doesn't cut it really. The matices are missing.

Colin said...

Funny, I was just thinking about this sort of thing as I drove down the hill before walking into town across the bridge.

James Atkinson said...

Listening to radio 4 on Sunday I was informed that Ulysses is probably the least read modern classic. I would have thought that prize belonged to Finnegans Wake, or is that not consdered a modern classic? About 10% of Ulysses makes immediate sense to me, Finnegans Wake Zero.

Candide said...

OMG if all depends on the Germans' own (or anybody else's own for that matter) grip on their -own, I repeat- purse's strings.

Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

During the latest rounds of "The fleecing of the Spanish language" I find it quite offensive, and surprised, to read some of the comments presented here. I think too much emphasis is erroneously being placed on the conceived (lack of) distinction between 'eschatology and scatology'in the Spanish language.

I'm very happy for Perry that he finds the English language to be more satisfying. As far as the enjoyment of "Schadenfreude" by the Spanish, I'm willing to bet that nothing could have surpassed the level of enjoyment the German people experienced during the 1940 bombing of London... Que aproveche!

SF Bay Area

Colin said...

Points taken, Jorge. Bit I did check about the translations of the English word and found they were both represented by the same word in Spanish. Id be pleased to know if you would use different words in Spanish, which I would then put in my next post. All the best. C.

Perry said...


English has borrowed many loan words and expressions from the Romance languages. It's that which is so satisfying. We mock continentals yet, we are aware of our own shortcomings. It's our sense of humour.

The bombing of London during the Blitz was is response to Wellingtons bombing Berlin. Hitler was incensed and fortuitously ordered Goering to change tactics, from bombing airfields, military installations and factories to bombing cities. This respite enabled the RAF to regroup and recover. London took its punishment and Germany was wrecked.

Recovery of both nations was costly, but since then, pro rata, the EU has & will cost the people of Europe far more disruption and despair for no gain.

I would urge you to read these books, by Dr. Richard North.

Colin said...

@James. You are surely not alone.

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