Monday, February 16, 2015

Beards; EU diplomat; King's kid; Judge Alaya; Jail exits; Testar; & Carnaval.

In all of British politics, there's scarcely a beard in sight. And none among members of the Government. In Spain, there are beards everywhere in politics. And even pigtails. My guess is it's something to do with the absence of a Reformation in Spain.

Well, there is an EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, after all. It's just that you've never heard of her. She's one Federica Mogherini of Italy. She may or may not have been present at the recent negotiations with Putin over Eastern Ukraine. But she is a lot better looking than the last (British) occupant of the post. Which is to say nothing, of course.

The Supreme Court decided a few weeks ago that there was not enough evidence to allow a paternity suit against the ex-king to proceed to a DNA test. So now the alleged daughter has appealed against this decision. And the king has appealed against her appeal. Or something like that. I'm willing to bet there's no chance the king will give a sample of anything. Presumably, he feels happy with what he gave (probably) 40 years ago. Final court decision in 3 weeks' time.

Talking of the Spanish courts . . . There's a judge called Mercedes Alaya. She's presiding, doggedly, over one of Spain's largest corruption trials. I admire her for at least 2 reasons: Firstly, as an an attractive and elegant women, she gets cameras thrust in her face every morning when she arrives at court. And yet she's never shown the slightest emotion, negative or positive. Secondly, for the 4th time, she's refusing to comply with the unwritten (and highly questionable) rule that a judge should suspend a 'politically sensitive' trial ahead of elections. A brave woman. But, anyway, here's a foto or five.

I've found a scrap of paper on which I've written this quotation. Don't know who, don't know when, but it's clearly a comment on the seeming incapacity of Spain's politico-judicial system to punish corrupt administrators: "A prisoner in jail feels a push towards the exit in direct proportion to his political, social and economic weight." Sorry if I've quoted it before.

I came across the verb testar yesterday, clearly meaning 'to test'. But the real meaning of this verb is 'to write a will'. Its arrival is clearly related to the use of test instead of prueba, ensayo, etc.. The Royal Academy is not at all happy about this English incursion when Spanish is perfectly adequate for any related meaning and one can sympathise with its august members. All they can do is a good imitation of Canute. BTW: there's also the alternative of testear for testar. Which at least takes it away from English a tad.

Finally . . . .Carnaval: Pontevedra's big parade of floats on Saturday was rained off and postponed until Friday next. The immolation of our parrot, Ravachol will take place on Saturday night. In truth, our our offerings are mediocre compared with those of elsewhere in Spain. Here's an idea of what you can see elsewhere, from ThinkSpain.

But even these pale against what's on show in Las Palmas, when 12 beauties vie for the title of Queen of the Carnaval.

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