At the top of Veggie Square – in the Casa da Luz – there's a large Turismo office, I went there today and here's the brief conversation:-
Good morning. Do you have anything on the French Way (Camino Francés)?
Well, no. This is a municipal facility. You need to go to the office dealing with Galicia.
OK, is that in Santa María Square?
No, that's only for the Rías Baixas(The Lower Estuaries).
OK, is it the one in the kiosk in front of the town hall?
No, that's run by the town hall. It's the one by the ruins of the San Domingo church. Off Michelena.
I've just been there and it's closed.
Ah, yes. It doesn't open Saturday afternoons. You'll have to go back on Monday.
(Sotto voce). Quite.
Damn this Spanish parochialism. Why doesn't common sense prevail? Is it because the four offices in Pontevedra mean four budgets and four people to exercise patronage and employ friends and family? Especially for translating stuff into almost-English.
What there isn't in Veggie Square, by the way, are there or four shops that were open before I went off to the UK for a month. I can't say I'm surprised as I never rated the chances of most of them, even in good times. Presumably they weren't money-laundering operations.
This talk of nepotism and croneyism inevitably takes us to Ourense, up in the Galician hills. Here the ex-president of the provincial government has finally been indicted for filling virtually every one of the posts at his disposal – more than 100 – with family members. Though not for engineering his son's succession to the post of president. Anyway, there's a bit of tussle taking place in the city over the possible modification of the project to build an AVE(high speed train) station at a cost of 67 million pounds(sic) or whether to dump the British architect, Norman Foster, and go for something cheaper. The president is naturally going with the original project but I'm sure this is on aesthetic grounds and not because of the commissions lost on a reduced-price project.
The Star Spangled Banner is a 'direct descendant' of a song written by an Englishman in the 18th century for a gentleman's club in London.
The tune used by most US universities for their graduation ceremonies is Elgar's very British anthem – Land of Hope and Glory.
I learned this, incidentally, from a BBC podcast which centred on the fact that just about the only heritage not celebrated by Americans is an English one. Which makes the origin of these important compositions rather ironic.
[A propos the News]: More is worse.
Every Spaniard's ideal is to carry a statutory letter with a single provision, brief but imperious: "This Spaniard is entitled to do whatever he feels like doing” - Angel Ganivet
[Blues refrain] Don't care how great you are. Don't care what you're worth. When it all ends up, you got to go back to mother earth.
Finally . . . I mentioned Pontevedra's Porcos Bravos the other day. Reading their blog today I noted they'd invented a new word – Pintochear, which I take to mean 'To stop at for a pint' And this is where they've done this in Liverpool, which is far more pubs than I've been in. Or even know about - The Brewery Tap/Robert Cain Brewery; The Poste House. The Sandon; The Globe; The Ship & Mitre; The White Star; Ye Hole In Ye Wall ; The Roscoe Head; The Baltic Fleet; Lion Tavern; The Cornmarket; The Thomas Rigby´s; The Peter Kavanagh's; The Vines; Ma Eggerton's; Ye Cracke; The Philharmonic; The Central Commercial Hotel; The Crown Hotel. Should anyone know of any other good pubs in Liverpool, I'm sure they'd welcome recommendations.