Only 4 years ago - and to the angry astonishment of many - Francisco Franco was officially designated 'authoritarian but not totalitarian'. This was by a right-wing historian writing on behalf of the state's Academy of History. Ironically, this was done under a left-wing socialist government. Now, though, a more accurate biography has been published in which Franco is finally termed a dictator. Odd that it's taken so long.
Talking of oddness . . .Two or three years ago, I wrote that several homeowners below me were facing some sort of action from the 'Community of the Mountains', on the grounds that the land on which their properties were based had not been owned by the seller. I added - perhaps a tad smugly - that I and my immediate neighbours were not affected by this. But now, it seems, we are. The claim is said to be based on an old and unique Galician law which allows land to pass to shepherds whose sheep or goats have pastured for some time on land they don't own. Theft by grass-eater, in other words. Some form of judgment was passed - unknown to us - in January and I missed a meeting of late March when I was in the UK. Given that out houses were built almost 30 years ago, it's hard to see this as anything but a try-on but the law moves slowly and oddly in Spain and the action may well have been initiated way back then and only just come to court. My neighbour, the lovely Ester, told me last night there'd been a suggestion of paying €1,000 each to settle this claim but also that the persons behind it were really interested in getting compensation in the form of land elsewhere on the hillside. Land which just happens to be worth a great deal. Or will be when the property market next takes off. Unless, of course, it's only going to be used for the pasturing of sheep and goats. Vamos a ver. No doubt there'll be more meetings.
And still on the fertile ground of Spanish oddities . . . It looks like a certain Sr Gozalo is going to be thwarted in his mission of bussing single women around the country, as possible brides for men in rural outposts. In 20 years, there've been 260 of these Caravans of Women but now there's a petition against them signed by 10,000 politicians, 'feminists' and others who are offended by this 'retrograde practice which objectifies women'. Needless to say, this is not a philanthropic endeavour and both the men and the women pay to be brought together for a weekend of eating, dancing, chatting and matchmaking. On the assumption that the 'match' lasts more than a few hours, I don't see much wrong with the activity. But I fear for Sr Gozalo's future income, even if he has helped 120 couples to 'find true love'. Last word to him:- The only gender-based complaint I've received was from village women asking why I wasn't bussing in men for them. Which I can believe if the rumours about out Sunday tea dances are anything to go by. I've never plucked up enough courage to go and check. I'd be the only man there with blue eyes.
Here's a laugh, at least for me and my neighbours:- Telefónica has announced it's to continue increasing its commitment to research and development, with €1.1bn invested in 2014. Not a lot of which came my way.
Finally . . . I answered by doorbell midday yesterday. This is something I don't do very often, in case it's begging gypsies. But anyway, it was a woman on a coals-to-Newcastle mission of selling frozen seafood to people visited by a fresh fish van 5 or 6 days of the week. I listened and took the brochure and then she gave me a gift of a wooden paella spoon, commenting that it was not for beating my woman/wife with - they are the same in Spanish - mujer. I replied that I didn't have one of these and neither was I the ex-Minister of Justice. She feigned amusement and I felt a bit guilty about having given her a false phone number. But not for long.