Saturday, July 20, 2013

Street protest, Spanish practices, Student practices, Festive mascots and Evasive politicians.

There are signs that Spain's voters are increasingly willing to protest publicly at the bare-faced dishonesty of her politicians and the regular insults to the intelligence of her populace. Whether this will effect the slightest change is altogether another thing.

You may have noticed that this article was by the Daily Telegraph's correspondent in Madrid, Fiona Govan. Thinking that she looked rather like the friend of a friend, I looked her up on Google Images. Which brought up a raft of rather odd fotos. Perhaps the explanation is that most of them have a Spanish connection. And may well have figured in articles by her.

Talking of things Spanish . . . Some friends of mine have been in dispute with the Tax Office over a sizeable amount demanded as part of the capital gain made on the sale of a property. Unfortunately, this took place just 15 days before the date after which no tax would have been payable. And the mistake was down to an adviser who's a personal friend of my friends. So, they feel they can't sue her for professional negligence and bring her insurance into play. I wonder how many Anglo-Saxon couples would have approached things in this way.

Last night I gave my first class to two young daughters of my neighbours. Both of them speak English extremely well but wanted some help in tackling a Cambridge written exam. When I asked the elder one - who's studying to be a brain surgeon - what in particular she had difficulty with, she mentioned angiforms and transformations. Fine, I said, thinking What the hell are they? Having since checked on the internet, I suspect I misheard her as regards the first one. The second seems to merely mean re-writing sentences.

When the young ladies told me they were both at university in Madrid, I expressed my surprise they weren't doing what most other Spanish students do - living close enough to their mother to bring their dirty clothes home at the weekend. Whereupon - a little sheepishly - they admitted they had an aunt living in the capital city and were able to visit her at the weekends. Indeed, the medical student confessed her aunt lived opposite the hospital where she was studying and she went there every day for her midday meal. How we laughed.

I mentioned that today sees the start of a new annual fiesta in Pontevedra - El Entroido de Verano. But that's not all; this has brought in its train a new mascot for the city, to go along with Ravachol, who is a parrot, not the famous anarchist. It's Furcinho the chameleon. As to why, your guess is as good as mine. Though the evidence is the whole thing is something set up by the town's hoteliers to improve their occupancy rate. Let's hope they were successful.

Finally . . . I was right and wrong about the President of the Constitutional Court - He hasn't resigned but neither has he apologised. He's brazening it out, saying he's been a member of the PP party for many years, even though this isn't permitted to judges of this court. Well, why not? Resignation is not exactly a well trodden path in Spain. And brazening it out is the model currently promoted by no less a personage than the country's President, Mariano Rajoy. Who'll be gracing us with his presence in his Pontevedra hometown pretty soon. And who, I'm told by local friends, will be treated as usual, as a saint rather than a sinner. Possibly because he'll have been to Confession. And if God has forgiven him, why not we mortals?


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