Paella: I see that Jamie Oliver claims it was a Spanish grandmother who gave him the idea of putting chorizo in his paella. Name her and shame her, say I.
What It Takes: My suspicion is that, if you have a good historical understanding of 1. 19th century Spain, 2. pre-civil war Spain, 3. the civil war itself, 4. the Franco dictatorship, 5. the Transition, 6. the last 20 years or so of bipolar politics, and 7. the rise of Podemos and Ciudadanos, then you might just have a good chance of understanding what's going on at present. And why the PP party is staying in power despite its institutionalised corruption. Failing at least most of these, you should probably give up, sit back in awe and just watch the spectacle.
Holidaying: It's reported that 85% of Brits don't want to be near fellow Brits when they go abroad. This is the exact opposite of Spaniards. Who love to aggregate. And talk. Which is why I love them. Usually.
London: There's an allegedly very good Galician restaurant called L'Oculto in Brockley. No, I've no idea where this district is either.
Portugal: I'm off today to eat roast lamb in Monção in North Portugal. Searching for information on the net, I came across a paper entitled: Chemical characterization of the Portuguese gastronomic specialty 'Lamb from Monção'. Which wasn't exactly appetising. And then I found something else and Google gave me the first paragraph as: The taste and the name, the Lamb of Monsoon fashion, known as "Fuck the Monsoon", is an obligatory reference on the local gastronomic tour. 'Monsoon', it seems, is their rendition of Monção. I can't yet explain the other phrase. Even less so the final paragraph: The term was popularized so that the dish came to be called, locally, as 'fuck'. So that it is frequent, at festive times (Easter, Corpus Christi, Lady of Sorrows and Christmas or New Year's Eve) to hear women say:“Mary, have you screwed the fuck?". I will report.
Nice Videos: Here's one which is said to be a trip along the Miño river border with Portugal but the first minute and a half features Pontevedra. And here's another one in which Pontevedra comes in at minute 5.53. If you're quick enough, you'll see my house, on the top of a hill.
Gallegas: The grand total of people who've asked to see the list of the principal characteristics of Galician women is precisely nil. I'm not at all sure what this means.
Inditex: This is the amazingly successful parent company of Zara and various other retail outlets of the group, whose HQ is in La Coruña. One of the outlets is called Pull and Bear. Does anyone have any idea why? A typo for Bull and Bear?
English Football: I had the misfortune last night to watch the second half of England's match against the minnows of Malta. Any decent team would have scored 5-10 goals in the first half against a team which included a café owner and an airport check-in clerk. But England had only managed 2. And got 2 fewer in the second. More than 81,000 people had paid to watch this game at Wembley, which surely defies belief. To say the least, the irrelevant, boring commentary was unlike its Spanish equivalent. I've been listening to the former for decades and have concluded that the only qualifications are:- 1. To speak English, and 2. To know the names of all the players and subs, plus some irrelevant background on some of them. Even these are not demanded of the studio pundits, who are all ex-footballers and, therefore, can't speak good English. Except for the foreign ones, who are excellent at both speaking and punditing. But at least it wasn't a complete waste of time; I got my ironing done during the 45 minutes. And I didn't listen to the pathetic post-match commentary. I switched off when one expert said that, in the second half, the pitch wasn't quite big enough. BTW . . . Why someone hasn't shot Glenn Hoddle in the last 20-30 years is a complete mystery to me. I dread to think what he gets paid for his banalities.
Sorry to go on but this is how the Daily Telegraph opened its report this morning: It remains a puzzle whether it is more remarkable that 81,781 people will come on a Saturday afternoon to watch the dysfunctional bunch that is the England team play the 176th ranked nation in the world, or that some of them turn up to boo Wayne Rooney.
More examples of Finnish/British nightmares:-