The most powerful Spanish women: This is The Local's list of the Top Ten of these. I'm not sure I share their definition of 'powerful' and I have to confess I knew only 6 of them. But, then again, none of them knows about me. Except Penelope Cruz, of course. She lives next door to my friends, David and Lucy, north of Madrid. And we often chat over the garden fence.
Talking about Spanish women . . . With sisters like this: A female judge in northern Spain – not, it's said, for the first time – has asked a woman alleging assault and rape why she didn't try keeping her legs together and all her female organs closed. Can there be a female misogynist? Or is she just very cynical?
Spanish employment: For at least 10 years here I read there were 'structural' reforms necessary in the labour market. In essence, it was said, there were two markets: The first - primarily of older workers – hadn't changed much since the Franco era and gave great protection to those on permanent contracts. The second – primarily younger workers – was far more precarious, as the contracts were temporary. The upshot was a rigid market which didn't respond well to economic needs. Well, the (outgoing?) PP party finally got round to reform but I'm not sure it was what economists felt was needed. It seems to have done little to liberalise the first of the 2 markets but made the second even more precarious for those lucky young people – fewer than 50% - who can actually get a job. Most of these seem to be on 'zero hours' contracts and, in some cases, below the legal minimum wage. But it's not all bad news: employers have presumably benefitted from having workers on lower wages who can be summarily – and cheaply - let go. And who won't be trained while they're on the books. As I say, probably not what the reformers had in mind.
Celtic Galicia: Galicians like to see themselves as Celts and seem to think no other Spanish region can claim this honour. Despite what historians might say. Yesterday I asked my good friend, Fran, if the next-door Asturians were as Celtic as the Galicians. No, he said, rather adamantly. When I asked him what they lacked, he replied: The sense of humour. Now, I don't know whether he's right or wrong – or even if he was totally serious – but the concept of a specific Celtic sense of humour had me in pleats. Being a good egg, Fran didn't take exception to me rolling on the floor in laughter. Against that, I might get some nasty comments to his post from others whose minds are a tad narrower.
What's in a name?: Apparently, the hedgehog used to be called an urchin in English. Which is why we have a 'sea-urchin'. The source of this info said this was still true of Dutch. In which both a hedgehog and an urchin are an egel. And a sea-urchin is a zee-egel. Funny people, the Dutch.
Finally . . . They say, down in Andalucia, that citrus trees don't grow up here in Galicia. Well, here's my neighbours' clementine tree.
And my lemon tree.
And my - non citrus - fig tree, that gives me 2 crops a year of (uneaten) fruit.
Finally . . . Anyone for rosemary?
For those truly interested in the facts, here's the only (detailed) plan in existence for a British exit from the EU. If the link doesn't work, type this into your browser: http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/flexcit.pdf