Saturday, June 15, 2013

Spain, like the UK, has a list of what are considered to be dangerous dogs. Apart from the usual suspects, it features the boxer breed. Which would come as a surprise to many of us, I suspect. It certainly did to the writer of a letter to El País this week, in which she stressed the dog was so good with kids it had official 'nanny' status in Britain. Be that as it may, it seems to have blotted its copybook here in Spain.

Being importuned by beggars is a risk taken by everyone who takes a coffee or beer in Pontevedra but rarely have I found myself, as I did today, being panhandled by 3 at virtually the same time. Including the gypsy crone who hasn't bothered me for more than 10 years. A sign of the times, no doubt.

God knows why I haven't come across this expression before since it encapsulates life here but here it is - Saltarse las normas a la torera. 'To flout the rules'. Torera itself means a bolero jacket or a female bullfighter but I've no idea how the idiomatic expression comes about. Perhaps someone could oblige. If anyone knows.

It's good to see that the Spanish president and the leader of the Opposition can come together in a cross-party agreement to tackle an issue in a non-partisan way. But it's a shame this had to be opposition to Brussels rather than, say, tackling corruption or reforming the political system to cut out surplus layers. In other words, they can get together to talk and oppose but not to take action. That's politics, I guess.

A week or so ago, the Spanish national rail carrier, RENFE, introduced a raft of cancellations to its services. The thing is, though, they didn't bother to give out any details in advance. Leading to a degree of chaos, as people arrived to take trains that no longer existed. Hard to imagine a better(worse?) case of poor customer orientation.

The latest development in the Is-princess-Cristina-a-crook saga, is that some whistleblower has admitted that the 15-16 employees on the payroll of the company used by her husband to move pubic money into his private pockets were fictitious. The other development is that, whereas one part of the Tax Office is saying she's got no case to answer, another is saying she certainly does, as her annual returns were, well, imaginative. All the more surprising, then, that she took part in a public engagement this week. The first for quite a long time. Perhaps she's been assured she's untouchable.

The EU: If Germany won't push off, will Italy? Given that - The country has one great structural problem: it is in the wrong currency with an intra-EMU exchange rate overvalued by 20 to 25%. See here for more on this.

Finally . . . A milestone has passed in the UK. There are now politicians there who are aspiring to be party leader and who use the modern(kiddies') pronunciation of modúhl and not the correct one of módel. Ditto hospitúl and hóspital. And several other assaults on my ears at least. The impact of Estuary English, I suspect. Newsreaders next, I suspect.


Perry said...


Bing translates Torero as masculine bullfighter & torera as bullfighter,
however I am not aware of any female bullfighters other than a Rejoneador.

Thus, a female Novillero or Matador would be so unusual as "To flout the rules." Similar in some ways to S. Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

ALaTorera said...

"Saltarse las normas a la torera" really means to flout or ignore the rules with the boldness of a bullfighter.

Ferrolano said...

So would the translation become; “to (he or she) blatantly flout the rules”

Perry said...

Culture shock approaching:

"Trust a woman to flout the rules, eh!".

Naturally, there'd be a couple of ***kin*s in that sentence, in order that the listener is left in no doubt as to the seriousness of the flouting. Not to be confused with flouncing.

ALaTorera said...

Ferrolano is absolutely right.

Perry is getting confused by the clause "a la torera." Comapre with: "merluza a la romana," which has nothing to do with a Roman lady but with a tasty dish for those of us who love hake.

Colin said...

My thanks to all.

But I'm still unclear why it has to be a feminine bullfighter.

I'm sure Perry is garnering female fans in the dozens . . .

Anthea said...

It's probably "a la manera torera" - adjective agreeing with feminine word manera.

Colin said...

Yep, could well be.

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