One of the pluses of being slightly middle-aged and clearly not Spanish is that, at revels such as those of Friday evening in Ortigueira, merry Spanish youths will come up to me and, instead of threatening to maim me, will start to chat and then beam with pleasure when I respond in Spanish. Similarly, this group of youngish folk hailed me for a chat early on Saturday morning.
And, while the young lady was off checking the text of the plaque for the Lady with a Duck on her Head, the chap with the hat warned me off Galician women, using one or two adjectives I didn't recognise, and one or two I did. He was delighted to hear I'd formed VOGA - The Victims of Gallegas Association - but disappointed when I told him it was only open to foreigners.
Walking across the Ortigueira alameda early yesterday morning, I was musing on the conundrum that the Spanish can be exceptionally civil while, at the same time, indulge in behaviour which would be almost unthinkable in other countries. Just a few minutes later, as I was taking a coffee and croissant, a woman came into the place, having left her dog outside. For the next 25 minutes, the dog yapped non-stop. And I mean non-stop. As the large window was wide open, the noise was inescapable and I had to resort to i-Tunes and my earphones. The funny thing was, I seemed to be the only person in the place to notice the noise, never mind be annoyed by it. Pathetically, the woman occasionally moved to the window and flapped a hand at the dog as if to reassure it. It had nil effect. After she'd finished her coffee and a chat with some guy she knew, she left and untied the dog. Whereupon the little rat ran into the café and tried to ingratiate itself with the customers. Including me. Even more pathetically, the woman made strenuous attempts to catch it, at which she finally succeeded. She tried to give me a semi-apologetic glance or two - or she may have been trying to elicit sympathy. Either way, I icily ignored her.
Spain: Expect the unexpected: I went to 4 pharmacies before I could get some pills I needed. Ignoring the 18th century one in Ortigueira, this is how the other 3 conversations went:-
We don't have the branded product. We do have the generic product but because the doctor prescribed the branded product, we can't give you the generic .
We don't have the branded product but we have the generic product. I'll have to check something though. . . . Sorry, the generic product is a few centimos more expensive than the branded product [sic] so we're not allowed to give it you.
Pharmacy 3: We have both the branded product and the generic. Which would you like?
Would anyone like to guess from this what the prescribing rules are?
I have the details of at least thirty 42" TVs, from which I'm trying to pick a Best Buy. Sorting them today, it struck me it would have been a good idea to note which shops they were available in.
Well, with one thing and another (especially property frauds), it had to happen - Spain has fallen down the list of attractive retirement options for the Brits. And Germany is said to represent an excellent alternative for those looking for stability. Details here.
Finally . . . I need to correct my slander on the second bed in Dixie's mobile home; he told me midday yesterday he'd not known how the ladder worked and, when shoving the bed back up into the roof, had found two relevant slots for it at the end of the bed. I chose to believe him.