Saturday, December 08, 2012

Today was another holiday – The Immaculate Conception, I think. Or possibly the Virgin Birth. Anyway, the shops were all open. Except the two I wanted, of course - the picture framer and the Mercadona supermarket. Ended up in Carrefour, with half of Pontevedra it seemed. It's dealing with such uncertainties in life which makes the Spanish so spontaneous. And creative.

According to a letter in El País, there's a two kilometre stretch of road up near León which is never completely cleared of snow and is thus unusable as an approach to the town throughout the winter. The reason is that the Junta of Castile y León is responsible for one third of the road, the provincial government is responsible for another third and the town council is responsible for the final third. And they can't coordinate their respective snowploughs. Assuming this is not an apocryphal tale or an attempt to initiate an urban myth, it must rank as a comment on Spain's increasingly unworkable Constitution.

On this subject, it's good to see the Madrid is doing something to attack the excess layers of government in the country. However, rather than get rid of, say, the fifty provincial governments (diputaciones) they've announced they're going to eliminate some mancomunidades. No one seems to know what these are, and they certainly don't get voted into power, but the dictionary has them as free associations of town councils. So their abolition won't actually involve any reduction in numbers or complexity. But it's a start, I guess.

A couple more silly car names:-
The Mercedes Ener G
The Smart Forjeremy (Yes, that's right – Forjeremy. Perhaps he was killed in the making of the car.)

Not having a Twitter account – actually, I do but I've forgotten what my name is – I didn't witness Thursday's spat between Donald Trump and Alan Sugar over wind farms in Scotland. Neither man has ever had the slightest appeal for me so I was pleased (and amused) to read in the Daily Telegraph this morning that they were “two of Christendom’s more grotesquely inflated egos”.

Finally . . . The winter of 1962-3 in Britain was one of the coldest in hundreds of years. Why do I mention this? Because a TV program last night had Aker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore and this beautifully evocative tune and that winter will forever be intertwined in my mind. Along with a (pretty unrequited) love affair. How powerful such musical stimuli can be. Incidentally, another program had as its musical theme Peggy Lee's Is That All There Is?, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

13 comments:

Anthea said...

Stranger in the Shore - theme tune for a TV drama series of that name about a French "jeune fille au pair" in the UK. It was also when I discovered that my father and I actually enjoyed some of the same music.

Colin said...

Nice.

Sierra said...

Think you are getting your provinces (e.g. Pontevedra) and regions (e.g. Galicia) mixed up - 17 of the latter. 50 of the former

Ian Harrison said...

I remember the winter of 62/3, but not for music. The football field at school got permafrost and even when the thaw came, it took 3 weeks to unfreeze!

Tendrils Of My Existence said...

There's something especially refreshing in reading about the things that are going on somewhere wholly unfamiliar. I imagine what it would be like to live somewhere where the ownership of a road is divided up in three sections. Sounds like the sort of thing you'd read about in a book. I can picture a scene with a crotchety old man grumbling about the inadequacies of the place.

Colin said...

@Sierra. Oops. My excuse is that I was watching Strictly Come Dancing while writing the post. Have corrected it. Ta.

Colin said...

@TOME. Or several of them!

James Atkinson said...

In 62/3 We couldn't go to school for over 2 weeks's as we were snowed in, alas and alack! The Winter of 1946/7 was a real corker, or so I am told, but I wasn't around then.

Colin said...

I was. Just!

Azra said...

Out of interest, how many of Spain's unemployed is shopping up a storm this Christmas?
PS. I bet you don't miss the British Winter...

Colin said...

Well, it depends on how many (especially in Andalucia) draw both a salary and the dole. And no one knows what this number is. Or is even prepared to guess, I suspect.

No, I certainly don't miss it going dark at 3.30 in the UK. Mind you, it can get cold here (down to 2 or even zero) but that usually means sun. Worse is 7 degrees and cloud/rain. I wonder which country has the best winter in the world.

Ferrolano said...

Colin, I certainly remember the cold, cold winter of 62/63 – which probably put me on the road to leaving the UK for warmer climes. More importantly from that time period, I well remember Acker Bilk and his smash with “Stranger On The Shore”. A year or so later, I saw him live at the Ringwood Jazz Festival and some ten years later, when living in South Africa, I again heard a live performance of the music from Acker B when he appeared in Durban. A great piece of music and a wonderful performer.

Colin said...

Indeed!

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