There's always someone, isn't there? A PP councillor in the Basque Country has been pictured at a Carnaval celebration wearing an SS outfit. What mystifies me is who makes and who sells these things? Is it racist to say my guess is one of the many Chinese bazares around the country?
Ahead of a Camino later this year, I was doing some translating last night. I used the quick method of starting with a 'dirty' Google machine translation. For one thing there were a lot of place names and it was useful not to have to type all these out. There were, of course, the normal Google nonsenses and its inability to distinguish between personal pronouns. Or even guess at them. But what really annoyed me was the translation of kilometre into mile, especially as I didn't clock it for a while. I mean, where's the logic to this? Some idiot must have programmed the machine to do this, as if they were the same distance.
My friend and fellow-blogger, Anthea, has endorsed my comment about the importance of bread here in Spain by telling me that the Spanish equivalent of 'as good as gold' is 'as good as bread'. Does this lie behind the view of Gerald Brenan and others that the Spanish are not a very commercial people? Or not those outside the Basque Country and Cataluña, at least. "In general" said Brenan, "one may say that the principal cause of Spanish separatism has been the industrial and commercial apathy of the Castilians". Could this possibly still be true, a hundred years on? Well, not of my newsagent anyway.
Talking about phrases . . . There can't be many Brits who don't use the expression 'Sweet Fanny Adams' or 'Sweet FA', believing them to be euphemisms for 'Sweet Fuck All'. But, fact, the polite version came first, around 1870. It refers to an 8 year old girl, Fanny Adams, who was cut into small pieces by her murderer. And British sailors took to calling their canned rations of mutton - about which they were suspicious - 'Fanny Adams'. Thence to 'Sweet Fanny Adams' and 'Sweet FA'. Strange but true. And, for the gruesome, here's a picture of the little girl. Albeit in an uncut state. From the good people at 'Find a Grave'.
Justice there and here. In the UK, thoughts are being given to allowing cases involving less than 25,000 pounds (€32,000) to be dealt with on line, using an arbitration system pioneered by eBay. Here in Spain, a number of senior judges - including one on the Supreme Court - are being investigated for taking payment as consultants to a company looking at the judicial system in Madrid. This may or may not turn out to be illegal.
Talking of trials . . . An ex-mayor of Valencia is being tried for corruption in Valencia and is coming in for a lot of flak. But this is not because of her alleged crimes; it's because she's not making a very good fist of speaking in Valenciano in the dock. Such are the priorities down there. A Valenciano-English dictionary, I'm told, is roughly one word different from a Catalan-English dictionary but I'm not sure this would be accepted by all Valencians. That old regional jealousy again.
Finally . . . I was astonished the other day to see that an Irish cricket team had beaten the English. In fact, I was astonished there was an Irish team. But this morning I read that the latter is to come up today against a team from the United Arab Emirates! I can't help wondering whether it'll be Gibraltar next. To the fury of Motormouth Margallo, the Spanish Foreign Minister. Who never misses an opportunity to make a fascist fool of himself. I call him 'fascist', by the way, because that's what you do in Spain when you don't like someone. Even if they're a socialist or a communist.