Spanish Practices: As I was going into a shop yesterday, someone was coming out. In true British fashion, we both instinctively recoiled and apologised. In contrast, when two Spaniards are heading for the same narrow space - even you and a supermarket employee with a trolley - they both keep going until they meet and then silently work something out. Not wrong, just different.
Franco: A book is to be published this month on the finances of this usurper and dictator who died in his bed in 1976. Up to now, there seems to have been something of an omerta on this issue. For it seems that he was very far from being the uncorrupt leader he's generally painted as. For one thing, he was getting a monthly payment of 10,000 pesetas (now €11,000) from Telefónica. For another, by selling the coffee monopoly gifted to him by a Brazilian dictator in 1940, he pocketed €7.5m. A few years later, his bank account contained the equivalent of €34.3m. But maybe he later gave it all away to Catholic charities.
Troublesome Spanish Region 1: Here's an article on the Catalan challenge to Madrid over secession and its impact on EU unity. Such as this is.
Troublesome Spanish Region 2: And here's an article on the origins of Cataluña's equally bolshie northern near-neighbours, the Basques.
New English usage: 'To monster': Another noun turned into a verb. It seems to mean something like 'to make somebody out to be far worse than they are", as with the right-wing media and the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. BTW - I heard it pointed out last night that, as the deputy leader is Tom Watson, the Labour party is now led by Tom and Jerry. As if things weren't bad enough already. Incidentally . . . What are we now to call the Labour party? New, new Labour? Or Old Labour? Just 'Labour' no longer seems to cut the mustard.
Pontevedra: On the day before I left, I intended to give to the little gypsy/Romanian girl the fotos she'd taken at the flea market 2 weeks ago. But I left them in the car. So I went to explain it'd be a while before she got them as my car was across the river and I was leaving for the UK the next day. She seemed unconcerned and merely asked whether she could take few more fotos. That done, she said to her father: "Daddy, can I go to this man's car to get some fotos." I went a little cold and said this wouldn't be possible. Her father naturally agreed. It was only later that it dawned on me he must have thought the suggestion had come from me. Perhaps it's a good thing I won't be in Ponters for a while.
Finally . . .With no doctor's clinic being open on Saturday morning, I went to the pharmacy yesterday morning to ask what analgesic would be best for a colon inflammation that I occasionally suffer from. This sort of consultancy happens less in in the UK than in Spain, where the pharmacist is treated like a pseudo doctor from whom advice can be sought on minor matters. The lady was brilliantly helpful, largely because she's a fellow sufferer - of diverticulitis for the inquisitive - and could not only tell me which analgesic would be best but whether it was a high or low fibre diet I was supposed to go onto. And maybe I will.