Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Spanish roads; Ferry passengers; Mad mixes; A queue barney; & A nasty vine

The Spanish road mortality figures for the 11 days of Easter conform to the recent trend that 2015 numbers - though hugely down on 2000 - are up on 2014. One wonders why and hopes this is just a blip, not a concomitant of an improving economy.

Brittany Ferries' commodious Pont Aven serves 2 purposes:- 1. to move people between the UK and Spain, and 2. to give folk from the UK's southern counties a 2 hour shop and tapas opportunity in Santander. The first category includes lorry drivers, motor cyclists, mobile-home drivers, caravaners and simple car folk like me. There's even the occasional Spanish family. So, a broad church. And one that makes for fascinating differences in dress and accent. I often wonder what the French crew makes of these people, other than their unfailing politeness. As regards dress, there are individuals on board sporting clothes that might have suited them 30 years ago, plus unkempt grey hair finished off with a long pony tail. And that's just the men. Another mixes fashions in opting for goth garb, topped off with a grey hipster beard and a black baseball cap on a bald head. As for the accents, suffice to say I have some difficulty figuring out whether some folk are speaking English and, if they are, what they're saying. I think they're mostly from Devon. Which might explain the apparel and hairstyles as well. Ageing surfers?

Talking of my incredulity . . . The mania for mixing dog breeds has hit a new low in the UK, where rescue is being sought for a couple of creatures resulting from the mating of a dachshund and a Staffordshire bull terrier. You can make up your own name, as I've forgotten whether they're 'stunds' or 'dachies'. But that's not all . . . At least 2 UK newspapers have hit on the lark of introducing an Animals Announcement Page, on which people who've taken leave of their senses can advise us that their pet has just died, or that it's the anniversary of its its marriage, its birthday or its death. In the case of marriages, the names of each partner are supplied. Naturally. Can people really be as daft as this, or is this just another way for rich people to have a joke? Either way, it's good news for the papers.

I've mentioned British good manners but I've just witnessed a Brittany Ferries cock-up which nearly resulted in a fight among my compatriots. In the self-service restaurant, only one till was open, resulting in long queues on either side of it - one on the 'right' side and the other on the 'wrong' side. After a phone call from the besieged young lady there, another till was opened and people were asked to move to it. Some did so but the folk on the right side of the new queue were not happy with the confused people now lining up on the wrong side of it. So voices were raised. I say 'raised' but the whole thing took place at something about the level of a Spanish whisper. And it all died out when a third till was opened a couple of seconds later.

Finally . . . The latest social network menace is the 'vine'. This is a short video dispersed on the net via Facebook, etc. . It differs from a video blog and from streaming, I think. But the bad news is that the political parties have hit upon using it them to promote their policies and party leaders, direct to your email, Facebook timeline, etc. So, be prepared for the deluge. Especially if you've given any details to anyone, or are on a list purchased from, say, your energy company or local hospital. Or, indeed, are just living in this world.

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