Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 1.11.16


Driving: On my trips into town, I go via a T-junction where I have to turn right. Almost every driver waiting at this ignores my signal, even if I start to make it while we're in sight of each other. In other words, they don't move off until I'm actually turning right. Exactly the same thing happens when I approach the entrance and exit of the supermarket carpark. The reason, of course, is that it's not wise to believe any signal here. Discretion is therefore the better part of valour. Which is an approach I highly recommend to anyone new to the challenge of driving here. Especially at roundabouts, where just about anything goes and extreme caution is required. Look at the wheels, not the signals.


Where Next?: There's a tarted-up Google translation of a relevant - and amusing - article by Matthew Bennett - a Brit - at the end of this post. HT to my friend David for this. Meanwhile, despite having 10 months to decide which politico will get which post, Sr Rajoy hasn't yet made up his mind. But will let us know in a week or so. Typical of the man. A true Gallego.


Mileuristas: I mentioned these poor young folk yesterday. Here and here are 2012 and 2014 articles in English from El País on the subject. They make for very depressing reading. Especially as things have got even worse since 2014. As I say, this is the reality of the 'booming' Spanish economy. Great for a few, not so great for very many.


Wild Boars: I've mentioned their alleged takeover of the island of Cortegada - see this El País article - but now I read the buggers are wandering nonchalantly down the high street of Cambre at midnight. They're a protected species, of course, and you have to get a licence to even shout at them. Almost.

The Local Press: One of our papers last week had 21 pages of news but 27 pages of sport. Probably Monday's edition.


Water Supply: Last Thursday I found a notice in my mailbox from the water company, kindly advising me there'd be a cut for 5 hours 'next Thursday'. What I couldn't tell was whether it was for that day or for Thursday this week. Today I belatedly noticed it said Xoves 13(Jueves 13). Or 2 weeks ago. So, I went to their web page this morning and eventually found a Twitter notice of 12 October warning of a cut in my barrio on the following day. I'm mystified by all this. As I expect you will be too.


Public Service Notices
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  4. Via one of the readers such as Feedly and, my preference for my early morning reading, the Old Reader. Google's Reader was the best but they discontinued this a couple of years ago. As I recall, I had around 200 readers through this, against c. 80 now with Feedly, 60 with Google + and a big fat zero(!) with the Old Reader. Things could be worse – the total on Google + was stuck on 59 for months and only recently shot up to 60.
  • Facebook: Beware messages which are designed to get you to respond to Facebook. They are scams. I've had my first 2 in the last week or so.


Nothing new today. . . .



Whither the great ship España? Matthew Bennett, VozPopuli

At this rate, our grandchildren will have grey hair before we arrive at a port. What note, with what message, will we leave stuck to the cabin wall?

So, Spain has a new government, after more than ten months of fighting among all, a soporific wait and widespread contempt for institutions and voters. Rather, Spain will have a new government as Mr. Rajoy wakes from a siest on Thursday, which despite lasting 315 days apparently hasn't been enough for him to think about his new Cabinet. The year of uncertainty is over and the country is moving again again, but where to exactly?

A couple of weeks ago, Josep Borrell gave us the metaphor of the PSOE as an airliner, tumbling through the sky while the crew fighting to take over the controls. Soon it could crash and finally, it seems, that socialist plane is still flying but with both wings badly damaged and with the engines -  having swallowed several birds - making very strange noises. Passengers are still praying for an early arrival at any runway in an acceptable condition before the final catastrophe.

I extend the metaphor of Mr Borrell. Instead of the Socialist Party and a battered airplane, the big boat of Spain. Or the once-great boat of Spain. With the European Central Bank acting as deus ex machina - something that James Cameron in Titanic would never have allowed - Captain Rajoy dodged the iceberg in 2012, more or less. The orchestra kept playing, but with a notable change of tune - drier, harder, with cuts and restrictions for passengers, and it seems that it still hase a seriously damaged navigation and communication system. From the bridge every Friday, the second in command released endless spiels about what was happening on the boat but few passengers paid her much attention. Among all the words, theoretically promising great achievement and improvements in the ship, no one knew where it was going, and neither the captain nor his second in command wanted to clarify this.

The only thing that seemed clear was that this was not the trip that passengers and their kids had signed up for at the dock.

A number no smaller of those travellers vehemently announced they wanted to leave the ship to try to navigate all by themselves. They were fed up. For now, they have not been thrown overboard. Then came the election of the new crew and commanding officers, and passengers were unable to agree on anything, leading to all kinds of interpretations of "what passengers really wanted" by those crew members and elected officials. Captain was denied the role of captain and had to repeat the vote. For nothing, because everone stayed confused. Meanwhile, the boat was spinning.

Given the uncertainty, but knowing that at some point they would have to face the next storm, or perhaps an iceberg in the middle of  a hurricane in a very rough sea and with a ship far from being in good condition, several sections of the crew proposed a return to the home port that they'd left in 1978, and others swore by their mother that they wanted to take the passengers to the Scandinavian fjords, but a chart had been found on which there seemed to be a cross marking Caracas.

With such damaged navigation and communication systems, and such an inept Captain, the telegram announcing the disappearance of the historic destination port didn't reach the commanding officers, but a text message and rumor did reach the passengers. Instead of the powerful and proud original shipyards, full of skilled workers, these are now deserted and rusting, and the workers and their children survive as they can, working a few hours a week serving drinks to tourists on the beaches next to the port.

Fearing a riot, at the last minute of setting sail towards the southern oceans, some crew members approached others in the guts of the ship one dark night to stabe them several times, with the approval of the Captain. Now there's an "agreement" that, for now, the ship won't be taken to the Gulf of Venezuela. But not towards the Norwegian estuaries or New York either, which was roughly the original destination, the journey for which the passengers had embarked

And the passengers, illusioned as we are, are still dreaming the usual nonsense: more wealth, more justice, some amusing moments and a better future for our children. At this rate, our grandchildren will go gray before we get to any port. What note, with what message, will we leave them attached to the cabin wall? "We are very sorry but we were not able to fix the boat and take you to New York. Hugs, Your grandparents".


Sierra said...

Not sure whether this was clever or stupid:


Lenox said...

This scam goes back, at least, to 1990...

Colin Davies said...

FB goes back as far as 1990??

Colin Davies said...

Ah, you probablyj mean the phony magazine. Sorry.

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