Throughout the ages, wise parental advice has been "Go where the money is". The ex-king's (German) mistress - 'Princess' Corinna - certainly seems to have taken it to heart. Reportedly, she arrived in Spain 10 years ago without much wealth and is now worth some €30m, having successfully helped to broker such deals as the AVE high-speed train for Saudi Arabia. Nice work if you can get. Which she can't, now that the king has no position or power. I almost feel sorry for her.
The Spanish language is rich in figurative expressions. I plan to bring them to your attention, as I meet them: One I read this weekend was: Te voy a poner mirando para/pa Cuenca. ('I'm going to put you looking at Cuenca'). For some reason, I thought this was a phrase appropriate for a couple in bed who'd had a row and one had moved to the other side of the bed and looked the other way. But a little research suggests (plausibly?) it stems from a phrase used by Felipe 1 of Castille to his wife, Juana The Mad, whenever he was about to take a courtesan up an observatory he'd had built. As it were. Nowadays, it seems to mean either '"We're going to have sex" or "We're going to have sex in a particular way/position". Spanish readers may be able to help us here . . .
In the UK, there's a severe housing shortage, helping to explain the almost constant rise in prices. Here in Spain, things are rather different. Nationwide, 14% of properties are said to lie empty but things can be much worse in the regions. Here in Galicia it's 19%, with Pontevedra province at 17%. My guess is that Pontevedra city is worse than this, given the number of flat blocks that were built in the boom. Or just started then and finished after the promotors, if not the constructors, had gone bust.
The true statement of the week, from someone at a court in Vigo: It's ugly and saddening when your own sister wants to set fire to you.
In another local court last week, the prosecution revealed the 'coded' language used by drug traffickers on the phone: For example: I want 500m of highest quality linen to make a tent. I wonder what that could have meant.
A couple of odd experiences down at the Carrefour supermarket last night. Firstly, I told the checkout girl - after a couple of seconds thinking about it - that she'd given me change for 20 euros when I'd only given her 15. "No" she said, "Look, it says on your receipt that you gave me 20". I felt unable to counter this specious logic and accepted my €5 bonus. Secondly, leaving the carpark (el parking) for the first time, I couldn't get my ticket to go into the machine. I tried several times, with 4 or 5 cars backing up behind me. Some of these were less patient than others. Then I noticed that the barrier was up and I realised the machine was different from any other I'd used and only read the ticket. I felt rather silly, of course, and almost went back to apologise to the driver at whom I'd levelled some choice Anglo Saxon.
Yesterday a friend offered to lend me a copy of Russell Brand's Revolution. I read a few pages and then turned to the Acknowledgements. There were at least 20 people who'd helped Mr Brand in one way or another, leaving me to wonder just what sort of inane dross he'd have been capable of without with their assistance and enforced discipline.
On a happier note . . . Sometimes you just have to give wider exposure to something ingenious.
Finally . . . . Here's Ravachol the parrot being introduced to everyone last night, prior to his immolation on Saturday night.
And here he is wearing a shirt that seems to be a protest against plans to build a crematorium on the edge of the old quarter, down by the river.
And here's a lovely little lady called Ana, who happily agreed to me taking her foto. Needless to say, perhaps, this sort of costume is never usually seen in this part of Spain, being more normal down in Sevilla. Where they wouldn't need the cardigan.