SUPERSTITIOUS SPAIN: I learn from Lenox's latest Business Over Tapas that New Year's Eve is one of the most superstitious days of the year here. Tonight will see millions around Spain rapidly downing twelve grapes in time to clock chimes, or toasting in cava with a ring in the glass. More on this here. Reading it, you'll have to pinch yourself to recall we're in the 21st. century.
SHAKESPEARE: Reading, as you do, about his testamentary document (Will's Will?), I learned of a new claimant to his crown - one John Florio, a learned Englishman of Italian descent. His champion is Lamberto Talassari, whose web page is here. I'm not sure – despite the plausibility of his claim - that he has many adherents. I also learnt of this wonderful comment on this theme from Mark Twain: The plays of William Shakespeare were either written by Shakespeare or somebody else with the same name.
GALICIAN YOUTH: In 2007, the average age at which young folk here left the family home was 29; now it's 32. My guess is this is connected with the rising average age for marriage. It's also reported that 80% of Spaniards below 30 still live with their parents and would need an increase of 98% in their income to be able to buy a flat. The phrase 'lost generation' seems apt on this occasion.
GALICIAN LAMPREA(LAMPREY): This is an ugly fish which was popular in the UK centuries ago and which still is in this part of Spain, caught in the river Miño separating us from Portugal. I've been meaning to taste it for years and finally did so last night. I rather wish I'd left it much longer, to be honest. In contrast, my neighbour can't get enough of it. But, then, he was brought up on the banks of the Miño. And I did enjoy a glass of Mencia red wine from the same area. Incidentally, Henry I of England is said to have died from eating too many of the things. Which, these days, are used mainly as bait in the UK.
GALICIAN PENSIONS: These are to rise in Janaury between €1.40 and €2.60 per month. One hopes the recipients don't go mad and spend it all at once.
FINALLY . . . THE NEW YEAR'S HONOURS LIST: I've been overlooked once again. I'm beginning to lose my faith in monarchy and democratic government.
Note: A reader kindly wrote to me recently to thank me for my blog and to suggest I put 2 (very appropriate) adjectives in my blog description. One of these, I think, was 'irascible' but I can't recall the other one or find the message to check. I'd be very grateful for a repeat.