Monday, August 06, 2012

If you live in the UK, you'll be aware that the one criticism guaranteed to kill a government proposal is that “It's unfair because people are being subjected to a post-code lottery.” In other words, folk in the Outer Hebrides are not getting exactly the same costs/benefits as folk in Central London. Contrast Spain, where the 17 'autonomous communities' on the mainland and the 2 'enclaves' in North Africa have 19 different pension rates. At the top end is the Pais Vasco, at 1,023 euros a month, and at the bottom end is poor Galicia, with a mere 697 euros per month. The national average comes out out at 831 euros per month. Or a fraction under 10,000 a year. Or 192 a week.

A couple of developments today in my search for a decent internet connection. Firstly, I read that the Spanish Consumers' Association had voted Movistar(Telefónica) the worst company in Spain for the last 3 years. The second was that, on the recommendation of a reader, I went to the BT Spain site and requested a call-back. I immediately got an email and, when I got home, found they had, in fact, called me and left a message. Bloody 'ell, given how much I hated BT for years, it's a tad hard seeing them now as consumer-oriented. But everything's relative, I guess.

The Consumers' Association, by the way, are in a spot of bother with the government. They've taken to criticising the austerity measures and their impact on consumers and the government is so unhappy it's threatened to make the Association illegal. Which doesn't sound terribly democratic.

Another new Spanish word – Un knowcoster. Perhaps it has a place in English.

And another new phrase – Tim Lliví. This, it seems, is the Spanish rendition of 'Team GB', provided it's pronounced con castizo madrileño en la 'elle'. Whatever that means.

And a phrase I can't translate – Un perejíl de muchas salsas.

All of which reminds me that we foreigners are occasionally (and disrespectfully) referred to as guiris. You may or may not know that this comes from guirigay, or 'gibberish'. Nice.

The Spanish property market is a thing of wonder. Expert Mark Stucklin encapsulates here something we guiris have experienced, with astonishment - Silly as it may be, too many vendors in Spain think they will get a better price if they price themselves out of the market. The net result, of course, is that a property can stay on the market for years.

For one reason and another, my mother doesn't like Andy Murray. She took his singles victory badly; but was immensely cheered by my telling her he'd lost the doubles final. It takes all sorts.

Our Ambrose is not a fan of the euro but he nonetheless admires what he regards as the Venetian cunning of Messrs Draghi and Monti, as they scheme and manoeuvre to keep the show on the road. Click here for why.

Finally . . . Click here for 10-11 fotos of yesterday's Vikings in today's Correo Gallego.

Finally, finally . . . If synchronised swimming, why not ballet?


FrancisDrake said...

Explanation of "guiri."

The Spanish people are very image-conscious and extremely regimented like the Japanese. Anyone who breaks even slightly the multiple codes of "normal" behaviour" is ridiculed mercilessly.

"Guiri" is the combination of gilipollas and ridiculo. Now in Spanish GI is pronounced hard (he) so it is softened for the convenience of the speaker by inserting the vowel u (guitar).

Something to always remember about the Spanish. Any people who are cruel to animals will also be cruel to people.

Colin Davies said...

I think you stretch credulity with your origin of guiri.

But I agree with you re 'regimentation', though it's an informal mechanism. It's what makes the beaches empty for large chunks of the day. Coming and going like sheep.

Ferrolano said...

Colin, Un perejil de muchas salsas – alguien que está metido en todos los saraos. Sarao – Reunión nocturna de personas de distinción para divertirse con baile o música. So Colin, there is your definition, now, what have you failed to tell us about your nocturnal wanderings in and around Pontevedra??? Perhaps you are the true “Night Owl”

Colin Davies said...

My secret it out. I am the Duc de Ponters znd spend my nights between saraos and vampiristic revels. Accompanied by an owl.

CaroleH said...

Thanks for putting on the viking photos. I looked for familiar faces...