Monday, July 03, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia:: 3.7.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • If you live here - or regularly visit - you'll know that every bar complies with the law to display all its prices. Or at least they do when their customers are nearly all Spanish. In other circumstances this might not be the case. If so, you have a right to call the police and they will be on your side, however trivial your complaint is. Click here for evidence of this.
  • Several years ago, I took a wooden owl to my regular bar in Pontevedra, to keep off the pigeons. They caught on and now I see that they proliferate in parts of Spain. Can't recall where this was taken . . .
  • I don't know whether it's true for the rest of Spain but there's a mania here in Galicia for informing us that office spaces are free from macho violence. I went to the local police station last night - to see whether anyone had handed in the car and house keys which had fallen through a hole in my pocket - and was delighted to see this:-

But I have to say that, at least these days, a European police station must be the last place you'd expect to find macho violence. Or any violence, for that matter.


English: Doing crosswords can be educational . . .

  1. Who - apart from that prig Alfred Mittington, perhaps - knew that malamute is a breed of dog? 
  2. Or that there were biremes as well as triremes
  3. Or that there is something called a stag pit, which might be a cross between a stag hound and a pit bull terrier. Or, alternatively, an awful place to be in at a rock concert. Google is not clear on this one.

  1. Ebrio means drunk. Admit it, you didn't know there was an English word 'ebriose'. And that there's also ebriate, ebriety, and ebriosity
  2. And you probably didn't know that un pírsin is a 'piercing'.
  3. Nor that bruja/bruxa means 'witch' but Brujas is Bruges in Belgium.
No charge.

Talking of knowledge . . . . If you think you have a good understanding of the London flat-block fire or believe you know who's culpable, then take a look at this post from Richard North. Needless to say, there's an EU factor - among many, many others. Was it a concern for costs or for energy efficiency? Who knows right now.

Which reminds me . . .  Helmut Kohl was given an EU 'state funeral' this week. Did I blink? When was it the EU became a (supra)state? I didn't realise it had already happened, though I'm well aware this is the aspiration, of course.

So, Donald Trump might drop in on the UK while visiting one of his golf courses there. This week - with his vendetta against CNN - he's thrilled us by further re-defining the word 'presidential' to mean something like 'juvenile' or 'adolescent'. And one of his key Republican endorsers has added to the enjoyment by insisting that Mr Trump is The most genuine president, the most non-political president of my lifetime. If the latter bit of praise means he shouldn't be in politics, then I think we can agree with it. As for the former, well what can one possibly say? As for his UK visit, I continue to believe he should be met by silent crowds in which everyone bears a large placard saying just LOSER. He won't like that. So perhaps it might move him a tad closer to the madhouse. Or assassination. Not that I'm endorsing the latter, of course. God forfend. Assuming he/she exists.

Finally . . . Here's an interesting snapshot of differences in opinion between Spain's young and old folk. Interesting that - in this once-very-Catholic country - the biggest gap is in respect of a belief in a deity:-

As for generational gaps  . . . . After the cartoon, there's an article I've just copied to my 2 daughters, to get their reaction to what are said to be modern attitudes to infidelity, in the UK at least. Some of you might like it.

Today's cartoon:- Ronaldo and the taxman . . . 

A play on the Spanish word for 'wood' . . . .


Flirting, kissing and watching porn behind your back: what counts as cheating now?

What’s in a kiss? When is an affair not an affair? Excellent questions, which Relate, the relationships charity, attempted to put to bed in a survey of over 5000 people. They have, instead, put the cat among the pigeons: revealing the grey areas not just between the sexes, but the generations.
To wit, 91% of women consider a passionate kiss to constitute cheating, while one man in five can’t see the problem.

Women are almost twice as likely as men to believe watching pornography alone crosses the line. And 41% of those aged 16-24 think flirting is more than just a social lubricant (compared with 30% of their elders).

At the other end of the spectrum, some 7% - gender and generation unspecified - weren’t convinced that “having sex with someone else” was an act of infidelity at all.

So, with the nation split, we asked six writers where they draw their own lines . . . 

Rowan Pelling, editor of 'The Amorist'

If my inamorato declared he didn’t think passionately kissing another person was tantamount to infidelity, I would hear another sentence entirely. What he would really be confessing is, “I kissed a girl and I liked it.” Or maybe a whole chorus-line of girls. If it’s not betrayal, why stop at one?

This whole not-cheating line is the sort of thing you say when you’re in pressing need of a Get out of Jail Free card. What that supposedly chilled, non-jealous individual isn’t considering is how he’d feel if you replied, “Cool – I was wondering whether to tell you I had a lovely long snog with the HR boss yesterday. He just wanted to cheer me up after my poor performance review.” 

What’s conveniently ignored is how intimate the best kisses are (just as swoon-inducing as sex in the arms of a master tongue-tango artiste) and the fact a seductive smooch tends to leave you wanting more. To enjoy the taste of someone else’s mouth is to become hungry for their entire delicious being.

And once you decide is a kiss isn’t treacherous, where will you draw the line, exactly? In a leap and a bound you’re at Bill Clinton’s door, saying anything short of penetration is the innocent equivalent of an arm round the shoulder. 

Nobody wants their lover found not guilty on a technicality; they want them to stray true, or at least be brave enough to admit when they’ve been errant. But for the average woman the most maddening thing about the man who snogs another is that he’s probably short-changing her.

Most females I know prize kissing far more highly than the men in their lives and are frustrated that, with the passing years, smooching declines in time and quality. Now imagine that a lips-withholding chap is discovered to have been dolling out kisses elsewhere. That’s not just downright disloyal – it’s treason. 

Nick Curtis, writer

I’m not censorious about porn, but I do draw the line at kissing. Although infidelity begins in the mind, I think it only becomes actual, and actionable, when it reaches a certain level of physical contact. If we were all judged on the whims or urges that pass through our brains, who would escape whipping? 

I don’t think flirtation counts as infidelity either, regarding it as a necessary grease to social interaction. Holding hands, hugging, stroking – that’s borderline stuff of which I would definitely be wary. But once lips and tongues come into play, it’s time for the LOVE-CHEAT klaxon to start hooting. And if any actual grease or whipping is involved, I’d say your relationship is doomed. My wife Ann and I have been together 22 years and take our relationship very seriously. If she kissed someone else I’d be heartbroken. I’m amazed that 33 per cent of people in the Relate survey believed that a relationship could survive an affair, as I think for either of us it would be a deal breaker. 

Fortunately, the chances of me having an extra-marital dalliance are pretty much non-existent because a) I love my wife and can’t imagine having as much fun with anyone else as I do with her; b) the older I get the more my appearance acts as a sort of natural prophylactic or anti-pheremone; and c) I am completely lacking in organisational skills. Early on in our relationship, we realised that if I ever had an affair, my wife would have to arrange it for me.

Kate Figes, relationship expert

are all sorts of indiscretions which can be considered cheating – from sexting and looking at porn on the internet to ‘emotional’ affairs which never get physical.

Some men even believe that a one-night-stand is fine because there was no love involved. Confusion reigns about what really constitutes infidelity. That question lurked in the background of every interview I conducted for my book, Our Cheating Hearts, and there were over 100.

The problem lies not in the nature of these transgressions but in our changing attitudes to relationships. We expect perfection. With True Love, our Soul Mate would never have eyes for anyone else. But the truth about human beings is that we all find others attractive even when we love someone.

T’was ever thus. When divorce was impossible or too shameful to contemplate you turned a blind eye and just got through it. Now infidelity of any sort is evidence that a relationship has failed when it probably hasn’t. It just needs a little more honesty, tenderness and discussion about where the boundaries of tolerance lie for each person in that relationship, and why that might be. 

Phil Robinson, journalist

Most of us will know exactly the moment we made that profound connection with another person, and the butterflies in our stomach made the prospect of an affair suddenly obvious.

If we are protective of our relationship and acknowledge this feeling, we should turn on our heel and walk away. If we stay, respond, arrange to meet again, if we move through this initial thought to talking, flirting, laughing, then we have begun an affair. 

Obviously, we lie to ourselves. We obfuscate and break the affair down into a series of innocuous moments (it’s only coffee…) where emotional infidelity is nothing and we are only guilty if we engage in physical sex. Thus, we never have to face our betrayal until it is too late. We can open the wardrobe door and take those first illicit steps because Narnia, and its dangers, still feel like a distant prospect.

But we’re not children. We know that an affair begins with a single decision, just as a cathedral begins with a single brick. If you are capable of the emotional dishonesty that allows you to claim an affair only begins with physical sex, then, sadly, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be brave enough to admit your part in the failure of your relationship.

Judith Woods, Telegraph columnist

After 200 years of togetherness - OK, so it’s only been 28 but you get the gist - I’m reasonably sure that committing infidelity is quite low down my husband’s bucket list. Partly because I’m as gorgeous as the day we met, partly because his idea of bedside reading is British Cruiser Tanks: A9 & A10. You heard, ladies. Hands off.

As far as the odd sly smooch is concerned, we recently attended a wedding and afterwards the happy couple sent a link so we could see the pictures. In one arty monochrome shot, I was being very obviously pinned to a wall and thoroughly kissed.

“Oh. My. God,” was my husband’s (not unreasonable) response. “Who on earth was that?”
Confused, I peered at the evidence until the truth dawned: “It’s you! Can’t you see the kilt?”

Neither of us could remember a thing. That’s the giddy joy of ageing together; short term memory loss means every day is like starting over.  
Rob Crossan, writer

My definition of cheating has got nothing to do with physically how far it goes with another woman. It’s all about how you feel afterwards.

It’s not whether I want to do the selfish thing and confess my infidelity in a tear-sodden state to my partner. And it’s not whether I go and have a smug “I got away with it” pint. It’s about what I do after those tears or those beers.

If I have a beer, that means I don’t care that I cheated. Therefore, I need to break up with my partner as I clearly don’t give a monkeys and will do it again in a heartbeat.

If I have an overwhelming urge to cry and confess, however, that means I must be somewhere near, if not totally, in love with my partner. So that’s cheating.

In the end, the very best men have Protestant work ethics and Catholic guilt complexes. If cheating doesn’t bring out that guilt then, perhaps you’re not really cheating. Or perhaps you’re not much of a man.


Maria said...

Well, I hope I'm not a prig (sorry Alfred) but I already knew malamute was a dog. Off the top of my head, I believe it's similar to a husky. At any rate, it's big.

I didn't realize about ebriate, but I have heard and used the verb inebriate. I have found the usefulness of having studied Latin vocabulary only in my adulthood, when I have to explain English vocabulary to Spanish speakers. "See, there is a similarity in our languages!"

Alfred B. Mittington said...

As it happens, there were even pentaremes. They were rather big and somewhat slow, so they only used them for royal maritime processions and the like, mostly in Ptolemaic Egypt.

Funny statistic that one. It so happens that the 65+ people score a lower percentage than the 18-34 ones on EVERY question. Might it be that the polling people asked not only the living, but also the dead? Would explain the oddity.

As I am a trained biologist (see my blog on the Love Life of the Three-toed Sloth for details) I was of course aware what a Malamute is. But could you, dear foulmouthed friend, tell me what a Ragamuffin might be?


your ABM

Anthea said...

Maybe a stagpit is a really bad place to have a stag party - fiesta de despedida de soltero.

Colin Davies said...

@Alfie Mittington: I know what a ragamuffin is but not a Ragamuffin.

@Maria: Yes, a large husky-type dog. And, yes, there are latinate English words, but I think the vast majority came via Norman French after 1066. There's always at least one Anglo-Saxon alternative. I believe that a novel has been written not containing a single word of Latin origin. Or at least this . . . .

Maria said...

Yes, most latinate words came to England with the Conqueror. Though ecclesiastical words came earlier. And, while you can use only Anglo-Saxon words, you may not be able to transmit subtleties of meaning that way.

And a Ragamuffin is a large breed of furry cat. I would love one, but my three Common European companions wouldn't agree.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Bravo, Maria! You're obviously a walking Encyclopaedia Brittanica...

Lenox said...


Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Lenox, but Maria beat you to that a couple of days ago . . .

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