Spanish (non)Government: As forecast for months now, we're to have new elections at the end of June. When the result is expected to be much the same as those of last December. The only real possibility for a functioning administration – now that Podemos have moved further left, to tie up with the Communist party – is a PP and Ciudadanos coalition. This assumes the former keep their support and the latter increase theirs. Most of us think this is more likely to happen if the hapless Rajoy relinquishes the presidency and leadership of the PP. But, like a true Gallego, he's proving remarkably stubborn. And the party seems incapable of de-throning him, notwithstanding the serious prospect of another stalemate. A young democracy.
BREXIT Precedent?: Did you know that, in AD 410, the British - fed up with the 'festering incubus' of Roman colonialism – seized the opportunity that came when barbarian armies sacked Rome. At that point, something peculiar happened in Britain. A rebel force of semi-Romanised British nationalists, inspired by the British-born theologian Pelagius with his heretical doctrine of free will, captured London and other cities, imposed peace and then wrote to the Emperor requesting legal recognition of their independence. Otherwise preoccupied, he agreed, even though there was no provision in Roman law for a territory to leave the empire. But 'by an ingenious use of the Lex Julia the British got round the difficulty and severed their links with the continent by a process of negotiation.
Asturian Pastries: It's not all mountains, rain, mud, rocks, fabada and cider there. If you've read my posts of the last week, you'll know I really enjoyed 3 pastries in a café in Grandas de Salime. Which is unusual, as most Spanish pastries are a disappointment when you bite into them. But I was hungry. These were an alfajor, a cordial and an herradura (chocolate not essential). I will now try to search them out here in Galicia.
Bar-keeping: It's not often that one walks into a bar in Spain and is attended to by a Muslim woman in a headscarf. But this was another surprise of Grandas de Salime.
Words: You learn something every day. I knew that the Persian for 5 is panj/punj and the word for water is ab. But I'd never put them together to form Punjab – a region formed by parts of both India and Pakistan, where there are 5 rivers. Nor did I know that 'a big favour' is Spanish is 'a fat favour' – un favor gordo.
The Eurovision Song Contest: It's that egregious time of the year again. Here's Spain's entry, featuring the repeated phrase Yeh, Yeh. Unlike last year's, which went with Yé, Yeh.
To Be or Not to Be?: Talking of performances . . . If you haven't yet seen it, you will surely enjoy this one.
Finally . . . I'm a dog-lover but I abhor the small monstrosities – such as the dreadful pug – created by selective breeding over the centuries. So, I was amused to see the wonderful Caitlin Moran refer to them as handbag-rats. Couldn't have put it better myself.
I wasn't only fined by El Tráfico on Saturday - for wearing earpieces not connected to anything; I was also breathalysed. Of course. The cop didn't accept the word of an Englishman that I hadn't had any alcohol during a long lunch. Of course. But I hadn't and he was clearly disappointed. Here's the souvenir he gave me. The bit you blow into. Something to be avoided.