Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gib still; Oporto; Pix; Pontevedra shops; and Ivor Novello, Noel Coward and me.

Gibraltar: The saga rolls on, with each party using the EU as a weapon. The Spanish government insists it has to carry out 'appropriate' border checks as Gibraltar is not part of the Schengen agreement. Something which it's apparently only just discovered. They have to stop the cigarrette smuggling, they say. Though some of us think resources might be better deployed stopping the ingress of most of Europe's cocaine through the Galician ports and coves. But perhaps the drug smugglers pay more to be left largely alone. But, anyway, the first 3 pages of The voz de Galicia this morning are taken up by 'news' of British plans for/against Spain if she entered the Second world War. Just a coincidence, I guess.

Our Oporto visit: Trying to find our way back to my car, we walked past 3 ladies who seemed to have little to do but stand by the roadside. None of them looked at all appealing. Especially the 50 year old standing by a couple of rubbish bins. Presumably the cheap option. Then, trying to find a road to the airport and turning a corner, we came upon 3 skimpily dressed young woman who could all have been extras in Pretty Woman. Indeed, they could each have played Julia Robert's part. Which was a tad disconcerting for the 3 seconds it took to get past them. They certainly all outclassed Pontevedra's 5 regulars. My guess is they all came from Brazil. But, anyway, here are some more fotos of the city:-

This is the facade of the bookshop with the lovely wooden interior. At times, people are queueing to enter:-

Here's one of the several churches sporting tile work on the exterior. And my daughters and niece on the steps. The couple to the side of them have entrusted their picture to a 3 year old at my side:-

And here's another:-

These are 2 tiled tableaux at one of the city's stations (San Benito?), depicting Portugal victorious in battles. Probably against Spain.

And here's a group of men in a park whom I thought might be playing chess. Then drafts. But it turned out to be cards.

And here are olive trees being grown in the city centre, on the roof of some dreadful modern facility harbouring a bloody Costa Coffee.

Incidentally, in contrast with Spain (the much richer country) I was accosted by only one beggar all day. Odd. Perhaps they shoot them in Portugal.

In her latest post, my daughter talks of Spanish women who only allow cigarettes and the occasional bit of chewing gum past their lips. I'd say I see a minimum of 6 of these a day. Sometimes a lot more. I would take fotos but this would be a tad questionable. And quite possibly illegal without their permission. I suppose I could always say 'Sorry' afterwards.

Talking of Pontevedra statistics, one of today's papers reports that 25% of the city's shops have closed since the crisis began. This seems low to me, though I wasn't surprised to read that the sweet/candy sector has grown. But not as much as the vegetable shop sector. Decidedly odd, unless people are forgoing meat.

I don't know why on earth it's taken me so long but I discovered this morning that the terrace of the town's Parador is a great place to take a morning coffee. A shady place for sunny people, as Noel Coward didn't quite say. As I wrote that, the second beggar in 5 minutes hassled me. Perhaps I should get a rifle.

Finally . . . Ivor Novello was a famous British actor and composer of the first half of the 20th century. Yesterday I discovered we had 2 things in common:- 1. Our name - David Davies, and 2. Our understandable decision to use something else. Noel Coward felt Novello was extraordinarily handsome("The two most perfect things are Ivor Novello’s profile and my wit") but, sadly, he didn't accord me this accolade when we met in the Seychelles, when I was a very young man. Well he might have done but he doesn't say so in his diaries.

Noel Coward twice - sorry, thrice - in one post. Who'd have thought it?


Anonymous said...

Colin, Great photo of the inside of the bookshop yesterday, albeit a tad blurred. Must have been a rich nobleman's house I guess.

Pity no photo of the "ladies" mentioned, I slowed down and looked desperately for a link, but your strong sense of propriety must have got the upper hand.

Finally, my reputation is at stake, a question - Why are all Portuguese tiles painted BLUE? Do they have no other pigments?


Sierra said...

Colin said...

Hard to take a foto when you're flashing past in a car, as it were. The ones we met on foot were not worth fotographing.

The ever-dependable Sierra has responded on the tiles query.

James Atkinson said...

Colin, when you next visit Porto, the do please take a photo of the interior, it's well worth seeing. If I remeber correctly it resembles the insides of a ship, why we never found out. The books are transported to the shelves using a system of trollies on rails, a miniature railway in effect.

James Atkinson said...

My appologies, I see now you have, and it looks even better than I remember it, it also has a cafe upstairs, or at least it did ten years ago.

Colin said...

Hi, James. I didn't see any café upstairs. Or the rails, to be honest but the place was so crowded I was lucky to see anything! Will take a 2nd look next time I'm there. Cheers.

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