Monday, October 08, 2012


The postman rang twice this morning. After I'd signed a form and given him an (incorrect) ID number, he handed over what he said was a letter from the Town Hall. “So, is it a fine?”, I asked. “Yes, I think it is”, he said. Annoyed, I ripped open the envelope to see what new offence I was accused of. But it was a letter about the fine I incurred three weeks ago, with PAID printed in red across the top of it. This is the third document I've received in respect of my offence of wearing ear-phones while driving – the ticket from the cop who booked me, the confirmation that I'd paid from the Office of Fines, and now this perfectly pointless document, delivered by registered mail. No wonder we foreigners think the Spanish love paper.

Wild boar are in the news again. Up near Lugo they've been ripping up farmers' crops and fields. Worse, they've been doing the same to the fairways of a golf club. So the bloodthirsty locals are demanding they be hunted to perdition. Which the will surely happen, if only because they've annoyed those who can afford to spoil a good walk.

If the Diario de Pontevedra printed anything today about yesterday's Anglo-Galician Seven-a-Side Cup, I missed it. Given the 14-2 score, though, this was probably a blessing.

I recently mentioned the politician – and head of the Council for Spanish Citizens Abroad – who'd told his team that rules, like women, were to be violated. Frankly, I'd have thought the comment about rules was bad enough but it's no surprise he's been forced to resign for the comment about women. Rather more astonishing is his claim he was going for personal reasons – after being in the job for less than a week! - and was not being forced out. A truly pathetic attempt to save face. Exacerbated by the standard Spanish defence of "I didn't mean to offend anyone. So no one should have been offended."

In a book about Galicia written in the 1920s, I saw bacalau translated, not as it normally is as 'cod', but as 'stockfish'. The explanation turns out to be that “Stockfish is unsalted fish, especially cod, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks on the foreshore, called "hjell". So, there you go.

Talking of words . . . I stumbled on yet another bit of Spanglish today: Le finning: This is the cutting of fins from sharks. It seems this is a practice not restricted to Chinese boats. The fact that the Spanish word exists probably tells you which other country's fishermen go in for it too. Though I think their defence would be they also use the rest of the shark, rather than just dumping the finn-less carcass back in the sea.

Britain's Daily Telegraph has been running a series on Galicia for a while now. Here's their latest piece. It's OK as far as it goes but the travel data is incomplete. Leaving me wondering who's paying for the publicity. The DT stresses that Galicia is a secret. Not now it bloodywell isn't.

John Carlin is a great commentator on English and Spanish football. But here he is on Spanish society. I wouldn't gainsay anything he's written. Call it Friendism, Croneyism or Nepotism, as someone has said, it's the besetting sin of Hispanic societies. Starting with the motherland.

Finally . . . Here's the Economist on Sr Rajoy and his (mis)handling of the challenges he faces. Which would daunt anyone, I believe. Stuck as he is in the middle of a nutcracker, Sr Rajoy – The Ambiguist - is certainly in need of cojones. Not a good time for the resurgence of the rumour that his marriage is a fig-leaf.

10 comments:

fm said...

Buenos Días.
Muchas gracias por asistir al partido.
Tienes a la organización de The Anglogalician Cup a tu disposición.
Estamos en contacto.

Saudos e apertas.

Perry said...

Colin,

Wikipedia has an article about stockfish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockfish

Below is a clip of a 1966 documentary about cod fishing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Git-48_CPww

The Santa Maria Manuela is restored.

http://santamariamanuela.blogspot.co.uk/

All the best,

Perry

Colin said...

@fm

Muchas gracias, Fran(?).

Si, estamos en contacto.

Un abrazo.

Colin said...

@Perry.

What a beautiful boat. And a magnificent restoration.

Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Colin,

Good article from Carlin. I left at 23. And I am not back yet.

Moscow

Colin said...

Which is how many years . . . . . . .?

Anonymous said...

Colin,

Many. I agree with Carlin. The Spaniards here in Russia think along the same lines. Here they are doing a tough job, on the front line, where 12 hour days are common.

Having said that, it is a bit like that everywhere. It is a question of degree. In some countries it is worse even. In England you have access to some jobs even today only if you have been to the right school&university - or at least your chances grow exponentially.

France, is a bit of the same but perhaps a bit less.
Thinking about it, perhaps Carlin doesn't know really what he is talking about - journalists don't live in the real world because they don't have a real job. There are many spanish companies exporting abroad, not just Zara. Those directly involved with export did not usually get their jobs through amiguismo/enchufismo/clientelismo because essentially they work in a competetive environment.

Sierra said...

You ask who is paying for the publicity - if you go to the Telegraph Galicia "Homepage" - link at the bottom of the article - you'll find it was obviously not Lugo province (appears not to have any attractions) or the airlines that use Santiago airport (not shown on map).

Anthea said...

So, the Telegraph gives info about flights from London. Those appear to be the only flights.

Clearly only southerners can visit Galicia. Rough northerners must stay away or travel to LOndon first.

Ryanair flights between LIverpool and Porto finish in November 4th until next spring.

Great

Colin said...

Bad news. Even Oporto out of the equation!

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