Well, after the wettest 2-3 months in recorded Galician history, the arrival of a (promised) week of sun has produced an explosion of activity. And just in time for the Carneval activities postponed from last weekend. The birds are singing for all their worth - possibly because they can fly and feed for the first time in 10 weeks - and humans are doing everything you'd expect them to do. Which, in the case of my neighbour, the lovely Ester, means hanging towels out of every window. And, in the case of one company, it means finally turning up to fix the gutters that were holed by hailstones in the last week of December.
Here's a funny thing . . . I saw the word salvaescaleras in an ad for a stair-lift. As its literal meaning is 'save stairs', I thought it rather neat. But, when I checked in the dictionary of the Spanish Academy, it was to find the word wasn't (yet) recognised and, therefore, didn't (yet) exist. Against that, you can find it here. All of which reminds me of the super-fast stair-lift which moves you so fast up the stairs you arrive before you have time to forget what it is you're going upstairs for.
I drove from Santiago to Pontevedra this morning and discovered, once again, that the speed signs on the N550 are utterly confusing. On this 50km trip, the speed limit is sometimes 100kph; but it never says so. The only indication is that, having driven through a 50kph stretch, you meet an (illogical) sign saying End of 70/80. As the Trafico web page won't tell me, I don't know how many points I have left on my licence and so I try to stay totally within the law. At times, the only way to be sure of this is to drive at 50kph, even though there's a long snake of traffic behind me. They must love me.
I could, of course, take the autopista that, as is common in Spain, runs virtually parallel to the N road. But, with time to spare, I decided to save myself the expense. And in this I'm hardly alone; use of the toll roads has dropped almost 35% over the Crisis years, taking some of the private owners to the edge of bankruptcy or, in one or two cases, into it. That said, I'm not aware of any of them foregoing an annual increase or, God forbid, announcing a decrease that might bring back some volume.
Finally . . . Driving with my Dutch friend, Peter, out of the town of Bertimaráns this morning, I stopped at a zebra crossing to let a bent old man traverse it from the left, as a bent old woman was doing the same from the right. Being (necessarily) old friends, they stopped in the middle for a 3-minute chat - with consummate disdain for the new-fangled combustion engine. What could we do but laugh? And then I mowed them down . . .