Spanish Individualismo: An Englishman who travelled around the Iberian Peninsula in 1810 wrote:- “The Spaniards are brave, acute, patient and faithful. But all their characteristics are insulated. All their exertions are individual. They have no idea of combining, either publicly or privately, in a manner to call forth their respective talents and render every one useful to the common cause. The Germans may be said to combine too much and the Spaniards not at all.” So, not much change there. Except, very obviously, when it comes to football.
I've been thinking about writing an opera set in Liverpool. But, would you believe, some Italian called Donizetti beat me to it in 1824, with Emiglia de Liverpool. And this was before the Beatles, for God's sake!
I have to confess that when one of Richard's Ferrol friends spoke of moving to the next church on Saturday, I had no idea this was slang for 'bar'. And am now wondering whether this is confined to Ferrol – which has some excellent bars, by the way – or whether it applies Spain wide.
I thought I'd come across a new word in the Spanish press at the weekend, viz. disyoque. Both Richard and I were stumped and there was nothing in the online dictionaries. Later in the day, though, Richard came up with 'disk-jockey' and this seems very likely. Even though the dictionary term is un discjocky.
There's no doubt, though, that un cuponing is a new term to me. Yet another English gerund brought into service for the Spanish language. It's the practice of selling you (or offering, at least) coupons that can be exchanged for whatever. The hook is the significant discount. The practice is said to be very new but is almost certainly at least a century old.
Changing Spain: There's a Spanish institution known as el puente, or 'the bridge'. This is stretching holidays which fall on Thursday or Tuesday (quite a lot of them, in fact) by taking Friday or Monday off as well, giving a 3-4 day holiday. During which one can fly to Prague, for example. I don't know what impact this habit has on national productivity but it certainly does nothing for the image of a country concerned to be more productive and competitive. So, it's not surprising that Madrid is taking tentative steps towards abolition of the practice. Though, as every one of Spain's 17 'autonomous communities' has to agree, progress could be glacial.
So, what percentage of all the countries in the world have NOT been invaded by the British? And which country has been most frequently invaded by the pugnacious islanders? See here for the answers, plus some details. Or rather Don't, as the Daily Telegraph has today introduced a pay-wall. As with The Times, I'll no longer be able to link to articles there. But I can tell you that the Brits have, at one time or another, invaded 90% of the world's countries and that the one most invaded by us is, of course, our dear neighbours, France. Couldn't happen to a nicer people.
I can, though, still cite The Guardian – though I wonder for how long – and here's an article on the mysterious appearing/disappearing lady of North Korea, who may still be the wife of Kim Jung-un. On the other hand, she may not.
Finally . . . I leave you with, firstly, the references for an excellent gallery of fotos of all the magnificent houses in Ferrol, Part 1 and Part 2.
And, secondly, with a few fotos of houses in Betanzos, which lies between Ferrol and La Coruña.
A school with features reminiscent of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba.