My daughters rang me at 6.30 last night to say they were on their way from Madrid. Good call, as I was expecting them a day later. They arrived at 1.40, when my lovely neighbours were still sitting in their garden chatting. As I helped Faye get her luggage out of the car, Hannah went straight upstairs and surprised poor Ian, who was sleeping in her bedroom. Good start.
I'm no longer surprised that both kids and adults ride their bikes on the pavement here. And around the pedestrianised areas of town. What still gets me is the speed with which they do this, especially down the slopes. Sometimes it's little short of crazy and, for those of us who read magazines as we walk and have our eyes on things other than approaching traffic, pretty dangerous. But no one else seems to care. Live and let ride.
By the way, instead of 'pedestrianised', the Spanish use the word 'humanised'. Which is more appealing, I think. Until you get an inhuman bike wheel between your shoulder blades. Or, worse, between your legs.
Down in Andalucia they're even more worried than elsewhere in Spain that their hundreds of thousands of new properties aren't shifting. So they're going to mount a marketing campaign overseas. But the budget is going to have to be in the hundreds of millions if it is to stand any chance of counteracting the negative publicity around the land-grab practices of the Valencian government, the illegalisation of properly acquired properties and the demolition of the Priors' house. Frankly, I think they're up against it.
To be more positive . . . An organisation called Eixo-Atlântico do Noreoeste Peninsular has brought out a guide to the Etno-Gastronomic delights of the (euro)region in question. Which is Galicia and North Portugal. 84 colour pages, all in English. Which will have cost a bit. Shame they couldn't chuck some of their budget in the direction of a native speaker, to check the Foreword by the President. “I sincerely expect it helps you to enjoy it and to know us better, because if there is something we have learnt these years is that who knows us learns to love us and always repeats.” Oddly, they do seem to have got someone to do the text proper.
Here's one of the several articles I've seen this summer on Galician wines. I'm citing it as the writer endorses my regular comment that Mencía is a terrific grape that deserves a bigger following. And because Terras Gauda is one of the best Albariños on the market.
And also because I'm reminded of the point someone made a while ago – viz. that the reason wine experts use the terminology they do is not only because they're pretentious sods but also because they have better taste buds than you and me and really can differentiate all the flavours they ascribe to the wine.
Having mentioned Albariño, I might point out there's been a revolution in pricing of this 'premium' wine. Not so long ago, you couldn't get a bottle for less than 8 euros. Now the floor price is around 3.50. I guess this is what the economists mean by 'internal devaluation'.
As more and more friends get a Kindle, I increasingly fear I won't be able to hold out against the purchase of one. Meanwhile, though, here's my daughter's second novel – The Second Death of Juan La Roca - available for all you existing Kindle readers at only 77p. Less than the price of a newspaper.
Well, that link went smoothly, don't you think?
Finally . . . Here's a sobering thought. From Fay Weldon: - You end up as you deserve. In old age you must put up with the face, the friends, the health, and the children you have earned. With my daughters here for a while, I'm learning (again) what this means.