Those Funny Spanish 6
- They love their national health service, which is not quite as good as they think it is. But better than the UK's NHS in some respects.
- They are, in general, averse to planning.
- They watch all foreign films not in their original language (like the Portuguese) but as dubbed by a Franco-created industry which appears to employ only 2 women to do every female voice from those of fractious kids through to those of expiring nonagenarians.
- They don't go in for Xmas cards and the like.
- They spend a small fortune on First Holy Communions, sometimes treating them like weddings and dressing up the girls as brides (of God?) and the boys as admirals.
- They display more décolletage than in other societies. Especially the women.
- Although generally informal, their weddings and other events can conform to strict protocols.
- Sadly, the statistics suggest they mistreat animals more than other European nations. And this doesn't mean throwing donkeys off churches (a myth) or killing bulls. But it does include the hanging of greyhounds when they are past their run-by date.
- They use the word despiste to cover a wide range of things from absent-mindedness, to a minor slip, through a small mistake to something as serious as accidentally launching a nuclear rocket. Or so it seems to me but I may have exaggerated here.
- For reasons beyond me, they give more space in their media to the UK than to any other country. Witness an article by Timothy Gorton Ash in yesterday's El País.
- They hispanicise all foreign forenames, never according anyone their real name. So, the new princess isn't Charlotte Elizabeth bit Carlota Isabel. But at least she got Diana as her 3rd name, thanks to its identical spelling.
- Despite a high level of general politeness, no one shows much courtesy from the driver's seat of a car.
Well, that's enough for a while. I'll maybe return with more in a week or three.
The Spanish President - and leader of the PP party - has said he wants to increase democracy here in Spain by introducing a second round into elections at regional and local levels. By pure coincidence, this would work against the new parties threatening the long hegemony of the PP and the PSOE parties. As for the new parties, Ciudadanos continues to prosper and make inroads but the 'far-left' Podemos has begun to plateau and has just suffered the departure of one of its founders. This has been over policy, not corruption, so the question arises of whether Podemos is beginning to eat its own children.
It's usually felt that the world's first bombing of civilians took place during the Spanish civi war. In fact, it occurred during the First World War, when eastern cities of the UK were bombed from German dirigibles. In either case, the dubious honour goes to our Teutonic cousins.
Finally . . . Welsh wine. Welsh wine . . . ? Indeed. And prize winning at that. Ancre Hill's 2008 sparkling wine was voted the best in the world in 2012 and you can get Parva Farm’s 2013 Bacchus white in Marks & Spencer. Salud, boyo!