Thursday, October 30, 2014

Corruption yet again; Samaín; Alowín; Currybanger; Niche work; Unfinished viaduct; & Juhith Durham and the blues.

Inevitably, here's the Financial Times on corruption in Spain. And here's just one example of the depths to which Spanish politicians can sink - An ex councillor of the far-left IU party faked cancer for 5 years so as to get a permanent pension. Perhaps some of the medical staff were relatives.

On happier matters . . . The end of October still sees the celebration here in Galicia of Samaín, the Celtic festival of Samhain. Perhaps for not much longer, though, as Trick and Bloody Treaters are ever more common during 'Alowín'. It has to be said that the celebration of Samaín probably hasn't been taken place continuously since Celtic days; more likely it was resurrected during the rise of nationalism in the 18th century. As it did with other pagan festivals, the Catholic Church highjacked Samhain and made it All Saints. Or All Souls. I can never remember. The cited article will surely tell you, if it's important.

And here's an article from the Olive Press on how the Spanish go about celebrating Alowín.

As if this partying weren't enough, thanks to the town's rugby club, we have the Pontevedra Oktoberfest which starts tomorrow. I'm looking forward to enjoying the currywiener which I heard about only last week. This is the sausage successfully invented in the 1940s by a German city keen to gain a place in the pantheon of sausage producers there.

Incidentally, this is the time of year when one sees quite a few cars driving round with ladders sticking out of the window. These are being taken to the cemeteries for the cleaning of niches that can't be reached from the ground. Failing one of these, you can usually rent one from the church.

Talking of cars . . . I'll soon be driving to Santander, enjoying the fantastic views from a spectacular multi-billion euros viaduct across a valley or two. Or maybe not. Since this was opened a year or so ago, it's regularly been closed as a result of fogs rising from the river below. Sometime after an horrendous accident. Now I read that the solution is going to be a tunnel. By this I suppose they mean they'll enclose the autovía from above, rather than than dig a tunnel in the ground below. So, many more millions.

Pronunciation: I've long known that you have to spit out the T at the start of Spanish words. Otherwise they just don't hear it. But I clearly still don't do this well enough. When I asked a shopkeeper today if she had any Tic-Tacs, she said Yes and pointed me at the Kit-Kats.

Did You Know?: A quarrel, apart from being what you thought it was, is also the bolt used in a crossbow. The word derives from the French carré, or 'square', from the shape of their heads.

New Spanish Anglicism: You've heard of un lifting. Now meet un antiaging.

Finally . . . Listening today to the wonderful Judith Durham of The Seekers, I wondered if she'd ever sung the blues. Turns out she was originally a jazz and blues singer and that there's a CD of her early performances. Which I've ordered. MP3, what's that?

Which reminds me . . . I have a cartoon on my study wall in which a pianist is saying to the audience: "No, I really do have the Blues. I'm clinically depressed". Been there, done that.

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