Spain's post-civil-war dictator, Franco, is buried in a (Catholic) basilica in the Valley of the Fallen in the hills outside Madrid. This is pretty grotesque but doing anything about it is naturally a sensitive issue, especially among those for whom Franco is a saint whose qualities are much needed in these difficult times. The PSOE socialist party naturally disagrees and believes his remains should be moved and that the huge monument he built on the back of slave labour should be dedicated to all who fell in the vicious '36-'39 war. They're right, of course, and it will happen one day but probably not just yet.
In search of a book yesterday, I went into a librería new to me. My first impression was the positive one of the wonderful smell that I associate with Penguin paperbacks of my youth. My second was that there was no system whatsoever in the organisation of the books. And no labels at all on any of the shelves. Finally, there was the problem possibly unique to Spanish books - some of the titles on the spines were written one way and some the other. Meaning constant head shifting as you try to read them. So I gave up and left for another book shop. Which was closed.
It's reported - scarcely credibly - in the UK press that the Pope is about to appoint the first female cardinal. This, it's said, would be the first woman to sit in the papal conclave since it was formed in the 12th century. Ignoring Pope Joan, of course.
There are many sentences in Bertrand's autobiography which bring one up with a start. This is perhaps the best couplet:- I went out bicycling one afternoon and suddenly, as I was riding along, I realised that I no longer loved Alys[his wife of 7 years]. I had no idea until this moment that my love for her was even lessening. Russel resolves to tell her, adding: I had no wish to be unkind but I believed in those days (what experience has taught me to think possibly open to doubt) that in intimate relations one should speak the truth. Not surprisingly, poor shocked Alys "retired for a rest-cure for some months". Presumably what we would term these days "entered The Priory".
Pontevedra Parking Practices:
1. I may be small but I'm still entitled to block the zebra crossing.
2. It was a tough choice but I finally plumped for parking on the pavement and not the zebra crossing.
And my flashing hazard lights mean I'm not really here. Or, if I am, it won't be for long. Just waiting for my wife to come out of the shop.
Finally . . . I read this week of something which I'll try to recall whenever I'm tempted to feel sorry for myself. Somebody prominent in 19th century British life (a bishop, I think) lost all 5 of his daughters to illness within one month. He then lost both his son and his wife. His desolation is almost unimaginable. But he still carried on performing his duties. Those Victorians were really something.