Saturday, March 30, 2013

In one way, I'm sorry to be leaving the UK next Wednesday. For the country's most popular steeplechase – the Grand National – is run the following Saturday, at Aintree in Liverpool. And I was planning to buy a ticket for the Merseyside over/underground railway and ride it back and forth all day Thursday. With my camera. Why? Because this will be Ladies Day and the orange-faced, ill-dressed, high-heeled beauties of the whole of Merseyside will be strutting their stuff, whatever the weather. If you want to get an idea of what this jamboree looks like, take a gander here. If you think you detect one particular woman being snapped more than any other, that's Coleen Rooney, the wife of Wayne. Both of them, of course, are Scousers, even if he did abandon Everton for Manchester United.

Talking of clowns and under-clad young women, here's an ad produced by Indian employees of Ford's agency there. Given the recent reports of gang-rape in India and the allegation that there's a rape there every twenty minutes, one can only wonder at the lack of sensitivity. While finding it basically a good idea to take the piss out of Berlusconi.

In his book, Voices from the Sea, Norman Lewis talks of a Curandero. This translates as:- Quack, medicaster, an artful and tricking practitioner in physic. Lewis has him coming to the village every autumn to guide the fishermen to the most promising grounds. I wonder if the word is still is use today and, if so, with what meaning. Anyway, here's a few more extracts from the book.
  • Medina del Campo – The Spanish equivalent of Stockton-on-Tees.
  • The fisherman remained uneasy about the suggested road, largely because, if it came to be built, people would be likely to stand on it, looking out to sea, thereby in some cases – however innocent their intentions – bringing bad luck to the fishing.
  • The public sentiment of Farol was that those who were obliged to leave the village were instantly exposed to evil influences, which increased almost mile by mile until Figueiras – seen as a huge, bewildering and utterly immoral metropolis – was reached.
  • Don Alberto used the grand old unit of measurement, caballerĂ­as – denoting the area a horse could be ridden around at a brisk walking pace in one hour.
  • It was a period when the Civil Guards had decided to renew their harassment. All the boats had to be checked to ensure that all their atheistic names were not showing through the purposely thin coating of paint with which they had been covered, and the occasional stubborn heretic who had repainted eyes or even stars on the front of his boat was called to the casa cuartel for official rebuke.
  • Don Ignacio [the village priest] thought that the democracy of foreigners was misunderstood by a people who had never encountered it before and who were encouraged by it to presumption and lack of respect.
  • In 1950 a male tourist was not allowed, in theory, to go about in shorts unless he covered his knees with handkerchiefs. . . . In the same year, a local girl was sent to a correctional unit run by nuns for wearing a two-piece bathing costume.
Sad to relate, Alfie Mittington has decided to forgo further blogs on Cyprus and the EU. You can see his rationale here. Hard not to have sympathy for/with him.

Finally . . . My mother's cleaner came today. Being of that generation, my mother got up early to clean the place before she arrived. More than that – she removed every item from every surface and placed them either on her bed or on the dining table. My first reaction was to laugh but then I realised, if I'd done that over the years, I'd have avoided breakages made by those of my cleaners who were clumsy. Viz. all of them.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

'Curandero' is still very much in use today, particularly in the area where you live, my dear fellow. When all other remedies fail, or the Gallego simply hates hospitals, he goes to see the nearest village Curandera, who will prescribe certain herbal medicines and prayers, and is often successful. Also against the evil eye, by the by... I always regard these good women as something in between the Priest and the Doctor, with the license of neither.

Yours, Alfred

Perry said...


Old units of measurement can reveal much about ancestor societies.

Swedish mil or mile is now set at 10kms. Various tax deductions, for example regarding journeys with one's private car on the job, are measured in mil by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).
Ell is from elbow to tip of middle finger.
Clothyard is a medieval unit of measure for cloth, fixed at 37 inches by Edward VI of England: also used as a length for longbow arrows.
A Hide was originally an amount of land sufficient to support a household, but later in Anglo-Saxon England became a unit used in assessing land for liability to "geld", or land tax.
During the Middle Ages, an acre was the amount of land that could be plowed in one day with a yoke of oxen.
Medieval wood-framed houses were measured & taxed by the number of bays therein; a bay being wide enough for a pair of oxen to rest whilst still being yoked together.

All about taxation. Nothing changes.



CurarCuranAsVeces said...

Generally speaking curandeiros enjoy a good reputation among the older gents of the rural world. Even some urbanites seek them out after conventional medicine fails them.

Colin Davies said...

@Perry. Thanks for all that. Fascinating.

Colin Davies said...

@CCAV. Thanks for that confirmation. I'm guessing that most of them are female.

Lenox said...

We have had some useful help from curanderos in the past. They enjoy a good reputation as a rule in the quinto pino...
Good ones ('white ones') don't charge, but might take a 'donation'.