Wednesday, August 29, 2012

As every foreigner living in Spain (every Hispanic country?) knows, the Spanish not only have a different approach to surnames than anyone else in the world but are also blissfully unaware they're the ones marching to the beat of a different drum. Essentially, everyone in Spain has at least two surnames – not those of either parent and maybe not even those of their siblings. So, when you or I show up with our single surname, confusion reigns. If you're lucky, you'll have two forenames and one of these will be re-classified as a second (or first) surname. But as different organisations chose different forenames for this purpose, it can all lead to fun and games, especially when a computer is involved. So it was, down at a car dealers the other night, when the salesman was entering my details and I told him I had only one surname. “Well”, he said, “we'd better do everything by hand as the program won't operate unless I fill in that box.” So, of course, we entered a forename to get over this hurdle.
What all this means is that I can be called by any of my three names – David, Colin or Davies – with me never knowing whether they're using what they think is a forename or a surname. You just get used to it.

I read a travel article today where the author said the standard description of Galicia as wet and windy (or something like that) was 'increasingly untrue'. Myself, I simply regard it as untrue and I wonder what this statement means. Either it's true or untrue. Or the writer thinks global warning is having a discernible but gradual effect on the region for the better. I also have difficulty with the label 'remote'. You can fly, drive or train here in as little as an hour from Madrid. Which doesn't seem remote to me. Perhaps it's code for 'backward'.

This is how you prepare the foundations of a house in Galicia. Where there's quite a lot of granite.

And here, if it works, is short reel giving you a taste of the noise I had 8 hours a day for a couple of years when they were building the (illegal and as yet unoccupied) houses behind mine. Nice, eh?

Talking of houses . . . one of the features of the Spanish property market is that no one ever gives an exclusive contract to an estate agent/realtor. Which means places get festooned with boards. Here's one example at the low end of the scale. Given the number of properties now on the market, sign-making must be one of the few growing businesses in the country.

Finally . . . The Tour of Spain came back to town today, causing a lot more disruption than yesterday. By 10.30 this morning my road was closed at the bottom of the hill, meaning I had a far longer than usual walk into town. This despite the fact the first cyclist wasn't due until 14.05. Anyway, here are three pretty pointless pix of competitors.

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