Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The eurozone: You'll be pleased to hear - well, some of you certainly will - that I've decided to follow the example of the expert on Egyptian politics who pronounced:- "I've given up analysis! There's nothing to do but watch."

Each walk around Pontevedra throws up more closed shops. But also some new ones. The place opposite the Post Office which used to be a cake shop-cum-café has finally re-opened - as an upmarket outlet(Bimba) for ladies' handbags, scarves, et al. As I've said before, I would have thought the town had a surfeit of these already. On one of the paseo streets, an expensive shoe shop is having a closing-down sale, though I suspect reductions from 150 to 130 euros may not entice many. I wonder if the owners are behind the new venture next to Burger King called simply Cheap Shoes.

As I was buying printer ink today, a young delivery-man entered and asked the dependiente two short questions. The second of these was "Which street am I in?" Simple, but we were all still in shock from the first: - "Am I in Pontevedra?" I guess his sat-nav was bust but could he possibly have failed to read any of the dozens of signs on the town's perimeter?

Tonight, of course, sees the Euros semi-final between Spain and our neighbours, Portugal. And I'm writing this just before the match begins, so that I can be sure of having something to post, come what may. On the subject of the quality of Spanish tiki-taka football, here's a nice article from Guy Hedgecoe of IberoSphere. Guy takes a slightly heretical view of things but I certainly know what he means. And I do like his description of Spain's team as containing seemingly countless pixie-like midfielders. Personally, I see nothing wrong in being pixie-like or undersized.

Talking of football . . . One British commentator suggested this week that perhaps the country should give up all aspirations and just accept that its team would never win anything because it can only ever be 'average'. Yes, but stuffed full of players being paid millions of pounds a year for this level of performance.

Books: The situation is really quite ridiculous. My visiting friend, Mike, travels light with a Kindle. Me? As has alway been my stupid custom, I'm reading six real books at the same time. These range from the 84 pages of Pedro Páramo to the 630 pages of Preston's The Spanish Holocaust. My propensity to approach books like this possibly explains why I don't remember a thing about a book five minutes after I've finished it. And why my books are full of marginal marks and are dog-eared for pages I've particularly enjoyed. In theory, this allows me to go back to bits I've really enjoyed after ten or twenty years. In practice, I never have. Too busy trying to read another six books at once. BTW - It's only five books as of this evening. I've finished Pedro Páramo and am looking forward to hearing my Dutch friend, Peter, explain why he rates this as the best novel/novella ever written.

The region of Andalucía has received 41 billion euros from the EU since 1986. The tap, though, ran dry in November last year, when Brussels detected irregularities in the 2010 accounts. The Commission has now sent a team to look further into this. At risk are funds of around 1 billion euros a year. No one in Spain will be very surprised at this news. Nor will they believe the assurances from the local government spokesman that the situation has been addressed and that the tap will soon be re-opened.

Finally . . . There's an Argentinean Archbishop who's been having it off with a parishioner for a couple of years. Or, as it's put in newspaper Spanish, he and she have been in a relación sentimental. Nice. Anyway, the Catholic Church has agreed to let him go. Which seems like a smart move to me.


James Atkinson said...

I know precious little about footie, and although I know there is zero chance of it ever happening, I can't help wondering if we would have a better team if it were drawn from Britain, rather than just England. Would the Germany do so well if they were split say into Bavaria, Prussia, etc?
Purely theoretical of course.

Colin said...

You're right of course James. The team would have included, as just one example, Ryan Giggs, that famous Welshman. I think the team in the Olympics is Britain.

Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

I think you've made the right move about not analyzing politics anymore. This practice could possibly lead you to the insane asylum.


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