Thursday, June 13, 2013

I was walking across the bridge into town this morning when a cyclist passed me on the road, without a helmet. I was shocked. A cyclist on the road and not the pavement. Unprecedented.

The Spanish word chorizo not only means, well, 'chorizo' but also 'thief'. Hence the cartoon in one of our local papers yesterday of a large baguette from which protruded the feet and the left arm of a person lying within. In the fist at the end of the arm was a Spanish flag. The title of the piece? Bocadillo de Chorizo or 'Chorizo' Sandwich. Says it all really.

A UK charity has awarded a gold medal to a Spanish dog for 'an outstanding act of bravery'' and 'exceptional dedication to duty and social commitment'. Forgive me, dog-lovers, but this is ridiculous. A dog has no concept of bravery and even less of reward in the form of a gold medal. It would have been more appropriate to honour its trainers. By which I don't mean its protective footwear.

Whenever the Pontevedra council raises a paving stone in the old quarter, it finds Roman remains. So it was, a few years ago, that they discovered by chance the original approach road to the Roman precursor to Burgo bridge, across which wend pilgrims on the Portuguese Way to Santiago. And then they found medieval houses alongside the road and even a Roman milestone. As this was back when money fell like manna from the sky, big plans were laid for full excavation and a museum. Indeed, work started on the project and, before long, you could walk both around and above the site and, if you were fluent in Gallego, read all the helpful notes. They even changed the road lay-out parallel to the site, removing a roundabout and permanently changing the traffic patterns across the bridge. A couple of years later, the observation gantries went. Then the extremes of the site disappeared back under grass. Then work stopped completely and the site became a feral cats' home, as does every place here when it's abandoned. Next all the buildings and roads were covered in sheet plastic, offering even more protection to the cats. Finally, it was announced a few weeks ago that the remaining remains would be covered in sand and then grassed over. So, all that one can hope is that this time a record has been place in the archives so that, when the good times return, someone will know exactly where to look. Which hasn't always been the case here - judging by the surprise which greeted the stumbling on a huge defensive ditch (fosa) below the city walls a few years ago. But at least in that case, after a year or two of doing nothing, the ditch was covered over and a nice little museum set up in it. As for the Burgo bridge site, this is what it looked like a few days ago. Enjoy it while you can.



I've just finished the Domingo Villar book I mentioned yesterday, lent to me earlier this week by visiting friends. Quite enjoyable but one minor aspect slightly annoyed me. There's a couple of references to 'flat-bottomed boats' in Vigo harbour or visible from Rande bridge. But anyone in Galicia would know these aren't boats but batías, or mussel-rafts. A sort of nursery for the creatures, which grow on chains hanging below the rafts. And are harvested when 'ripe'. Lots of pix here. Of course the reason for this mistake is that the translator isn't from Galicia and has gone with one of the standard dictionary definitions of batea as 'flat-bottomed boat or punt'. Not really good enough.

I mentioned a week or two ago a busy café that had been converted into the town's nth boutique. Well, I was told today that the owner hadn't planned to retire but had received an offer he couldn't refuse. My informant added it all only made sense if the place had been set up for money laundering. Passing it today, I wondered how this could be done if no one - as it seems - ever shops there. And then it dawned on me that there's really no need to have actual customers, just chits that evidence transactions that bring cash into the business. Ladies of straw. I was reminded of these three adjacent boutiques in a tiny street that goes up from Vegetables Square to the main square and which could hardly be described as a busy shopping thoroughfare. To say the least.





I should stress I'm not suggesting for a second that any of these fine establishments is involved in anything that isn't entirely above board; I'm simply repeating the idle gossip of the town and academically musing on the abstract subject of money-laundering.

To finish the subject of balconies - here's some handsome examples on a building which 5 or 6 years ago was a black shell. Shame it wasn't beautifully restored 10 years ago, when it would certainly have gained at least some tenants and wouldn't now be totally unoccupied.


Finally . . .  My Ferrol friend, Richard, has sent me this foto of impressive galerías in La Coruña. Pertinent facts:-
  • 5 out of 6 floors are gallería'd. All but the ground floor.
  • It's raining.
  • The wind is blowing hard. You can't see this but it always is there.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in one of these houses and its not always raining, coruña is not santiago and we have days of sun and good climate here. And i dont think that there are particulary bad wind, maybe in winter but not all the year.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


When it comes to Bravery, it still makes more sense to give a medal to a dog than applause to a bull fighter.

ABM

Colin said...

Always a pleasure to hear from your Portuguese eyrie, Alfie. But, putting aside the pros and cons of bullfighting, do you still believe it's not brave to put yourself in the position of having a horn through your thigh? As happened again this week, I saw somewhere. Or your eye socket, as happened last year.

Colin said...

Always a pleasure to hear from your Portuguese eyrie, Alfie. But, putting aside the pros and cons of bullfighting, do you still believe it's not brave to put yourself in the position of having a horn through your thigh? As happened again this week, I saw somewhere. Or your eye socket, as happened last year.

Colin said...

La Coruña: OK, I will retract some of my comments tonight.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


I still believe that Bullfighters lack Balls, my dear Colin.

http://alfredmittington.blogspot.com.es/2012/09/do-bullfighters-have-balls.html

Colin said...

Ah, yes. The immoral-balls-so-not-brave-but-merely-reckless argument. How could I have forgotten that?

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