Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Imagine Tony Blair had popped up a year or two into Gordon Brown's tenure as Prime Minister and roundly criticised him and his policies. Well, this is more or less what's recently happened here in Spain, with ex-president Aznar taking to the airwaves to lambast his successor, President Rajoy. As if this weren't bad enough, Aznar has also indicated his willingness to return to politics and to take up the poisoned chalice of leadership. Naturally, he's not doing this out of misplaced egotism or because he's 'against anyone' but because he's 'with the Spanish people'. In other words, because he likes to kick a man when he's down. Somewhere last week I read or heard that power physically changes the brain chemistry and predisposes one - thanks to increased testosterone - to acts of alarming self-interest. This looks like a case in point, with Aznar insisting he'll do 'what his responsibilities, his conscience, his party and his country want him to do'. As far as he's concerned, this means seizing the reins from President Rajoy and steering Spain back to the sunny uplands of dynamic growth. Dream on, Sr Aznar. While meanwhile creating chaos in the party which you led into electoral defeat in 2004.

One of the odder - and more disturbing - sights of the pilgrimage destination of Santiago is two young and one old women kneeling with heads bent and arms out holding a placard detailing their plight. For no reason I could easily defend, I suspect all these beggars are Romanian. Possibly of the same family. Anyway, my impression is they remain motionless in one of the busy thoroughfares for the entire day. Incredible. And and almost medieval.

Which reminds me . . . As you enter Santiago at the end of the French Way, you walk between the cathedral and the magnificent university buildings and then through a short tunnel into the huge Obradoiro square in front of the cathedral's main entrance. As you pass through this, your ears are inescapably assailed by a deafening combo of loud drums and Galician gaita. Which is why I call the place The Valley of Death by Bagpipes.

And talking of things religious . . . I see Pope Francis has been called on to perform a few exorcisms early in his career. Well, I guess it's logical; if you believe in the supreme Good, you've also got to believe in the supreme Evil. Who'll want to crop up from time to time, to remind people he's still there, unvanquished.

I also see that the Catholic Church is considering canonising a young girl who was cured of an 'incurable' condition after her father had gone to a convent and prayed for her recovery with the nuns therein. So, what are we to think? That all the numerous prayed-for kids that didn't recover after copious prayers went to Hell?

I wish I could tell you where we are with the issue of whether Princess Cristina will be in the dock alongside her husband, accused of one financial crime or another. But the problem is every few days one judge reverses the opinion of another on the matter. Or sometimes his/her own previous decision. As of now, I think she's heading for the dock but who knows about next week? While we wait on events, see here and here.

A new bit of Spanglish? Reports on the events in Woolwich have thrown up the word cúter, which turns out to mean both a Stanley knife and a 'cutter/sloop'.

Finally . . . For those who want to see more of Galicia from their armchair, here's a site which offers virtual tours of various cities (including Pontevedra) and of the several Caminos de Santiago which enter Galicia from all points of the compass. HT to my Ferrol friend Richard for this.


Anonymous said...

Lose the space in front of camino camino

Works fine then

Colin said...

Many thanks. How odd.

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