Thursday, January 01, 2015

Things to do in 2015; Greece; The EU; Dog doo-doo; End-year dining; & The 1942 Guide.

Another list from The Local - Ten Great Things To Do in Spain in 2015. Viz:
  1. Improve your Spanish/Catalan/Basque/Gallego
  2. Take up the Spanish sport of padel
  3. Learn how to make a new Spanish dish every month
  4. Volunteer to work with a charity
  5. Walk the Santiago camino
  6. Learn how to do something typically Spanish
  7. Attend a crazy Spanish festival
  8. Read Don Quixote
  9. Get off the beaten track
  10. Join a political group.
If you need more info on these, click here. You can learn about one typical Spanish activity below.

Spain's Finance Minister has said he hopes Greeks will bear in mind that EU aid helped keep their public services running when they vote in the snap election next month. To which the response might be: "Well, we wouldn't be in this mess but for the intro of the euro and then the EU reaction to its dire consequences". Followed by: "Well, you shouldn't have lied about your economy so that you could join the EU and the euro!" Prompting the response: "Yes, but you all knew we were doing this and turned a blind eye, as it suited you". And so on and so on.

One commentator with a negative outlook on the Greek tragedy is, of course, our Ambrose. Here he is on good form today, pulling no punches.

Stepping back from the detail and the endless crises of the would-be superstate, one does rather get the impression the EU will only really be stable once it's ruled openly by Germany. But how likely is this? Already there's talk of the old 19th century alliances emerging, to counter growing German weight. Who would have believed it - The EU bringing about the very thing it was set up to eliminate? Proving once again the validity of the cynical view that the consequences of every major reform are the exact opposite of what it was designed to achieve.

But back to trivia . . . On our beach walk the other day, my daughter and I came upon this:-

In case you haven't figured it out, it's a plastic bag of dog dirt, marked out by a twig. We wondered what the message was. "We've been anti-social enough to leave this crap here but considerate enough to ensure you don't step on it before the tide takes it away"?

Talking of the daughter . . . We went down to Pontevedra's old quarter at 8.30 last night to eat in our favourite tapas bar. But it was closed, along - we slowly discovered - with every other place in town. Some of them displayed notices saying they'd be open at 1am, though the bars were doing good business before closing at 10, so that staff could go off for the last big family dinner of the year and the midnight ceremony of las campanadas. We ended up in our ultimate fallback, one of the Chinese restaurants still in business. The place was empty when we arrived but we were later joined by 3 Spaniards and 9 Portuguese. No prizes for guessing which party was making more noise. In fact, Faye glanced at the folk from across the border and commented "Oh, look. How quaint. They're taking it in turns to speak while everyone else listens". Portuguese tradition v. Spanish tradition.

Penultimately . . . Are road signs in the UK placed well back from the kerb so you can't reverse into them them making a U-turn? Just asking.

Finally . . . Another extract from the 1942 Guide for Yanks in Limeyland.

Keep Out of Arguments. You can rub a Britisher[!] the wrong way by telling him "we came over and won the last one." Each nation did its share. But Britain remembers that nearly a million of her best manhood died in the last war. America lost 60, 000 in action.

Such arguments and the war debts along with them are dead issues. Nazi propaganda now is pounding away day and night asking the British people why they fight "to save Uncle Shylock and his silver dollar." Don't play into Hitler's hands by mentioning war debts.

Neither do the British need to be told that their armies lost the first couple of rounds in the present war. We've lost a couple, ourselves, so do not start of by being critical and saying what the Yanks are going to do. Use your head before you sound off, and remember how long the British alone held Hitler off without any help from anyone.

In the pubs you will hear a lot of Britons openly criticizing their government and the conduct of the war. That isn't an occasion for you to put in your two-cents worth. It's their business, not yours. You sometimes criticize members of your own family - but just let an outsider start doing the same, and you know how you feel!

The Briton is just as outspoken and independent as we are. But don't get him wrong. He is also the most law-abiding citizen in the world, because the British system of justice is just about the best there is. There are fewer murders, robberies and burglaries in the whole of Great Britain in a year than in a single large American city.

Once again, look, listen, and learn before you start telling the British how much better we do things. They will be interested to hear about life in America and you have a great chance to overcome the picture many of them have gotten from movies of an America made up of wild Indians and gangsters. When you find differences between British and American ways of doing things, there is usually a good reason for them.

British railways have dinky freight cars (which they call "goods wagons") not because they don't know any better. Small cars allow quicker handling of freight at the thousands and thousands of small stations.

British automobiles are little and low-powered. That's because all the gasoline has to be imported over thousands of miles of ocean.

British taxicabs have comic-looking front wheel structures. Watch them turn around in a 12-foot street and you'll understand why.

The British don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don't know how to make a good cup of tea. It's an even swap.

The British are leisurely – but not really slow. Their crack trains held world speed records. A British ship held the trans-Atlantic record. A British car and a British driver set world's speed records in America.

1 comment:

Perry said...

The Greeks are having a rough time of it with regards to the weather as well.

Our family is ready as all vehicles are fitted with winter tyres, essential in a hilly environment like the Chilterns, which is why the weather is about to warm up. 11 Celsius is forecast fo tomorrow

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