Cantabria and Asturias: Motoring along the coast towards Galicia on an empty autovia on a sunny day must rank as one of the most pleasant drives in Spain. With the sea on your right and the almost perpendicular mountains just beyond the verdant greenery on your left, it's impossible not to feel happy. But I would advise against detouring into Unquera and beyond for petrol and a meal. After 10km or so, someone will tell you - if you ask - that you can only get back to the autovia by doubling back on yourself, since the local road takes you a long way into the interior before it hits a northwards route. I should also warn you that, if you stop at the restaurant by the petrol station in Panes, you'll feel you're in Deliverance 2, as the natives sitting outside will all stare at you with intent, as you park your car and enter the place. Where the owner will not smile, though his wife will, when she comes out of the kitchen to ask how your lubina(sea bass) is. Delicious, acxtually. Just the fish with no potatoes or veg. Beautifully grilled. Despite the hill-billy environment, highly recommended.
Corporate Mergers & Catalan Coalitions: In the context of the latter, someone yesterday quoted a truism of the former: If you can't see the dagger on the table, it's because it's in your back.
Notaries: These are powerful, high-status animals in Spain, whereas lawyers aren't. Needless to say, they don't have the Pope's infallibility and they make mistakes. When I asked a lawyer friend yesterday if notaries were ever sued for negligence, I merely got a hollow laugh. Be warned.
Guapo/a: This is a ubiquitous word in Spain and I think I've said it seems to mean something between 'pretty' and 'beautiful'. Every baby - however ugly - is guapo or guapa. As indeed are many unattractive old women. The words's most useful feature is that it can be used for every woman whose name you've forgotten. Not so much with men, though. With whom hombre serves quite well.
A Visit from the Boys in Green: At 12.50 last night, my doorbell was rung by a posse of Guardia Civil officers - one in mufti - who said they'd seen my gate was open and that a light had just gone out upstairs. I doubt this is special treatment because of the robbery of a few months ago and wondered whether they knew burglars were again in the area. Ironically, I'd had a problem with the front door earlier in the evening and had had to climb up to the terrace and force my way in through the window of my other daughter's room, which I'd forgotten to close. This, ironically, would have provided exceptionally easy access to any miscreants bent on mischief. But, anyway, my achievement in scaling the wall was accompanied by non-stop screams from my lovely neighbour, Ester, to the effect that I should stop as I was going to kill myself. Which didn't really help. But the ladder from the chica next door did. To some extent. Ester did take a foto of my ascent and I will try to post it tomorrow.
Finally . . . VW: I can't resist posting this foto, received this morning from friend and reader, Jennie.