Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Cataluña; Bull running/dying; More odd names; Satnav tales & roundabouts; Ilarious; & The tanga battle.

I've mentioned that things are hotting up in respect of elections in Cataluña in September, which the government there is using as proxy for a referendum on independence. As noted, Madrid has suddenly found evidence of more fiscal fraud there at the highest level. Something, of course, unknown in the rest of Spain. Anyway, here's an FT article on the Catalan 'surge for independence'. The article cites this nice summary of an El País commentator on the fundamental paradox: “Catalonia does not have the strength to break with Spain. And Spain does not have the strength to put an end to the Catalan challenge”

Sad to relate, the number of people(idiots?) killed by bulls let loose in Spanish streets this summer has now jumped from 10 to 12. Though some newspapers say it's 'only' 11.

HT to my friend Dwight for 2 more odd female names here in Spain, though these are less and less heard, as the population gets younger and younger:-
Maria de la O*
Angustias - Anxieties
And someone else has given me: Exuberancia - Exuberance, of course. And Lacrimosa. But this may well be a name for a pet, rather than a child.

*This lady/Virgin is the patron saint of Pontevedra. I have been told what the O is all about but have forgotten.

On Sunday, the Diario de Pontevedra had another report - with foto - of a car that had straddled itself on steps into our main square. As in the January case, the driver had followed the instructions of his satnav/GPS. As we all know, these are generally wonderful but sometimes useless. Dangerous even. But not as perilous as Spanish roundabouts when drivers obey the crazy rules about what lane you should be in if you're not going straight on. Foreigners: - If you're in the inside lane, ALWAYS check what's happening on your right as you move to do so. Don't be surprised if a car - usually showing no signal - cuts across you to go off at a later turn. Or even - illegally - to make a U-turn. Truth to tell, 'cuts across you" would be lucky. More often it'll be "hits you broadsides".

Last night, one of the waiters in my regular tapas place was talking about something I thought he'd found funny. But it turned out to be his new (Italian) girlfriend - Ilaria. From the Latin Ilarium. Showing how good I am at this challenge, I estimated her age at 25 but she is 20 years beyond that. Naturally, she was more than pleased.

Finally . . . I saw a reference to the Battle of Tanga. And all sorts of images came into my mind, as per Wordsworth's famous lines:-
When oft upon my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood
There drift upon my inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude
Some pictures that are very rude.

I understand Will spent many hours among the daffodils, pondering whether the last word shouldn't be 'lewd'. And then finally plumped for caution. It being the 19th century, you can understand why.

For the facts about the battle, see here.

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