Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The Diario de Pontevedra reported the other day that “Sardines have abandoned the ría(estuary).” Which, I guess, is a nicer way of saying “Rapacious local fishermen have completely fished out the ría and there isn't a single bloody sardine left.”

Yesterday I was reading in a cafe, next to a table of four twenty-somethings. Three of them were talking at the level which is normal for Spain. Loud. But the fourth, a woman, could only converse by shouting. And her 90 decibel laughter could have stripped paint. I gave her a few good British stares but to no effect. Today, I'm taking my coffee in the only place in town without a blaring TV or three. It's a bit more popular than it used to be but the average age is well above 50. So the level of noise is quite low, even though most of the women are talking all at the same time. All that said, a gathering of nine of them has amassed behind my back and the aggregate hubbub is quite something. They've even forced me to move my table and chair. They might have apologised but I have my ear-phones on.

Any lovers of snails should get themselves down to the local village of Santa María de Sacos next Sunday, where there's a gastronomic fiesta. And, yes, she is called Saint Mary of the Sacks. Or Bags. No idea why. Given how many Marys and Virgins there are in Spain, I guess it's hard to be different.

Today was the anniversary of the birth of Daniel Defoe, in 1660. The Voz de Galicia tells us there was a Galician sailor connection with the writing of his 'Robinson Crusoe'. And gave us 3 options to guess at:- 1. A surname, 2. The first US edition, and 3. Information about the island. My recollection is that Defoe based his story on the experiences of a sailor marooned on an island off South America. So I'm going with option 3. Which would be wrong, as I've just checked and found the sailor was Scottish. So now I'm foxed.

There isn't a public parking place in town now where you're not 'guided' into the space by, effectively, a tramp. One swallow doesn't make a summer but I might well have seen a change for the better today. A driver was being pointed into a slot by a young woman in an elegant mac and F-me boots. She probably gets more than the normal 50 cents.

Poor Mrs Merkel. She turned up in Athens in the same green jacket she'd worn for the European Cup match between Germany and Greece. Which Greece lost, of course.Was she rubbing it in? Or was she badly advised? Or just slipshod.

Am I in danger of getting inured to the reports of corruption? Today we learned that the Dean of the Medical School of the University of País Vasco has been accused of diverting funds his way. And someone has told me the President of the Galician Xunta has been revealed to have authorised payments of more than a million euros to a company owned by his sister. Though this may only be a scurrilous – but plausible – rumour ahead of the regional elections on 21 October.

Here's a surprise – Brussels says Spain is amongst the slowest EU members for implementing judgements against them. I wonder if she's yet paid the huge fines imposed after the outrageous flax scandal of 1999.

Finally . . . My ultimate bit of proselytising – For those of you who went to the Arthur Alexander link and enjoyed what you heard, here he is singing one of my great favourites – Willie Nelson's plaintive number Ain't it Funny How Time Slips Away. And here's Elvis delivering what I see as an inferior version. Enjoy. Especially the one with the wonderful piano backing.

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