Spain's bullfighting industry is not in good shape. Corridas are now banned in Cataluña and elsewhere and recession-hit ticket sales are way down on earlier years. Worst, the numbers who profess an interest in the activity (never called a sport) are declining with each passing year. All in all, then, who can blame aficionados for getting excited about the return of the corridas to the TV and, now, by a stellar performance from Spain's leading proponent of the 'art', José Tomás? At the weekend, José catapulted himself into the pantheon of the greats by taking on all six bulls and despatching them so successfully that he earned eleven ears and a tail. If you know nowt about bullfighting, let me tell you that this is truly exceptional, reducing observers and critics alike to tears and stretching to the limit the ability of the latter to coin appropriate superlatives. I say Tomás despatched all six bulls but one of them, in fact, was pardoned for his 'nobility' and courage and was allowed to leave the ring to, one hopes, a nice bit of studding. All-in-all, it may have been a once-in-a-lifetime event and you can read more about it, in English, here. The irony is it took place in France, at Nîmes. Lucky Frogs, some would say. Barbarians, others.
The 19th century author of The Bible in Spain – George Borrow – also wrote a couple of semi-autobiographical novels. The first was entitled Lavengro and the sequel Romany Rye. In the former he writes of visiting a pub called The Silent Woman, which is an unusual name for a pub. But not unique, as there appear to be several of them in the UK and at least one in the USA. The sign for each of them appears to be a woman carrying her head in her hands.
Late this afternoon, the young lad from next door told me his Mum needed me to come urgently. And so I went, to find Ester in quite a panic about something called a libélula in the house. I didn't know what this was but, from the description, I had the impression it was some sort aggressive insect some 6 inches, or 10cm, in length. With Ester and the kids hovering in the hallway, I ventured into the lounge, pulled back the curtain and discovered a 3 inch dragon fly. Which I caught in a tissue and released, on Ester's instruction, at the far end of the garden. To show her gratitude she went shopping with me and, having paid for her own stuff, used her Large Family discount card, to bring down my bill as well. The checkout girl didn't turn a hair but I can't see this happening in the UK.
The feisty woman who's been the Presidenta of the Madrid region for a number of years has announced her surprise retirement from politics. A number of commentators have suggested the PP Party will be losing its most liberal member. Since some regard her as being to the right of Genghis Khan, this came as a surprise to me. And then I recalled that the PP politician charged with reviewing the abortion laws is a member of the extreme right Opus Dei group of the Catholic Church. And we were back to relativities again.
I saw a reference today to a Saturday night show I used to watch when I first came to Spain – Noche de Fiesta. Or 'Party Night'. This was remarkable for two things or perhaps 3, technically. The two hostesses were astonishingly pretty, both having been Miss Spain. And the show ran from 11.30 to 2.30am. Giving you an idea why peak viewing time in Spain falls after midnight. Or it used to; perhaps things have changed now.
Finally . . . This foto shows just how unreliable at predicting retail trends I am. The shop opened 3 or 4 years ago and is not in what you'd call a busy street. So I inevitably forecast it wouldn't last through the recession. But it has so far, despite no visual evidence of customer afluencia, as they say here. So, maybe there are other reasons for keeping it open than turning a retail profit. And I can be forgiven my error.