Monday, March 26, 2018

Thoughts from Galcia, Spain: 26.3.18

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.

  • So, Carles Puigdemont has finally been arrested under the Spanish government's re-activated - but still misguided - international arrest warrant. In - of all places - Germany. By a government which has been protesting the treatment of political prisoners in Turkey. And where there's a bit of history around fascism. The inevitable result has been mass protests across Cataluña. In contrast to Germany, the Swiss government has said it won't arrest Catalan politicians there and the UK government surely won't arrest the woman who fled to Scotland and is now lecturing in St Andrew's university.
  • Here's the conclusion of Tim Parfitt this morning on this issue, surely correct: Nine Catalan politicians are in jail and seven others are in exile for one simple reason: Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, refuses to accept the results of the Catalan elections that he himself called on 21 December last year. That, again in my opinion, is a disgrace. It is even more of a disgrace that the EU Commission has turned a blind eye to it. This doesn’t need international arrest warrants. It needs international mediation. And it now needs it urgently.
  • President Rajoy says that Every single town and village in Spain will have access to broadband by the year 2021 and that, within three years, every home and business in the country will be able to get online with a minimum speed of 300MB per second. Given the record of the Spanish government with its infrastructure projects, I doubt there's a single person in Spain who believes this. Certainly not Sr Rajoy. The budget for this is said to be €500m. One wonders where this will end up and how much of it will be supplied by norther European taxpayers. 
Life in Spain
  • Post codes differ from country to country. The UK's have always seemed to me to be too complicated. In contrast, Spain's are simply 5 numbers. That said, I've seen 5 codes used in respect of my house – in tax documents, the local property register, the local list of property values (el Catastro) and the town hall. A quick search suggests the last 2 are no longer operative, probably superseded. And that the first 3 cover the (huge) Poio barrio and some of its parishes. I guess it makes sense to someone. Hopefully my postman most of all.
  • Here's an entertaining article on why Fart has been on a 'firing spree'. I'm pleased to see the author agrees with me that the best strategy is to make Fart angry - Insult him, challenge him, put him under pressure as this brings out his worst traits. I've proposed the simpler strategy of greeting him everywhere with huge placards simply shouting, LOSER. And then watch him explode. Or is it implode? Who cares. One or the other.
  • Vodevil – Vaudeville.
Nutters Corner
  • Well, Flat-Earther and Rocket Man - “Mad” Mike Hughes - finally did get off the ground, in a homemade steam-powered rocket built in his garage. But he only got 571 metres (1,875 feet) into the stratosphere. Sadly, nowhere near high enough to see the curvature of the earth. Or to give him evidence of anything. His next project is a "Rockoon," - a rocket carried into the atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon - to take him about 68 miles up, so he can photograph the planet from space. All strength to his elbow. He might well be mad but the world would be a poorer place without him.
Social Media
  • Facebook: The latest 'revelation' - Facebook has collected detailed phone records of millions of users including who they spoke with or sent messages to and when. The company said it gained the permission of Android phone owners to gather this data when they signed up to Facebook apps and agreed to share their contacts. However, many users were taken by surpris
  • There was a bizarre fatal accident in Pontevedra's bus station last week, when a coach hit a woman waiting at a bay and pushed her into a pillar. It's hard to see how this could happen and the initial explanation is that there was a 'misunderstanding' between the driver and an employee, who was waiting to hand over a package. Not surprisingly, the driver is said to be devastated. Sorry to be cynical, but I'd be surprised if fault isn't eventually ascribed to the woman who died. Which tends to be the norm here. Presumably because compensation is then limited.
  • In a cobbler's shop, I asked for some brown shoe polish. The chap told me he didn't have any of the normal stuff and offered me something called grasa de cabayshos. This turned out to be Gallego for grasa de caballos. Or horse fat. I bought in on the assumption it was really saddle wax. But now I'm wondering whether it is actually made of equine fat.
© Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 26.3.18


Eamon said...

Postal code. A friend posted a parcel from England addressed with my name, street, house number, apartment number, postal code, Galicia and finally Spain. It was returned as insufficiently addressed. He left out La Coruña. So no one in the Spanish Postal service could work out where it should be delivered and sent it back.

Sierra said...

To be fair, was informed last week that our Lugo village is now connected to fibre, but only 50 MB/sec - and can be installed within 4 - 8 weeks. Seen less complaints from you since you've gone fibre - assume it works

Colin Davies said...

Up to a point. Downstairs. As with all my neighbours, not upstairs. Have had to but a booster. Crap modem???

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Eamon. Hilarious. Might have been ok if your friend had written 'Galiza' instead of Galicia. . . . Could have been some angry nationalist. Who would also have returned it if it had said La Crouña rather than A Coruña. Stranger things have happened . .

Sierra said...

There's lies, damn lies, and statistics:

Colin Davies said...

Hmmm. 99% of Brits would make more mistakes in spelling and grammar than me but I'm not sure that tells us anything . .

Colin Davies said...

By the way . . . As I'm sure you realised, technically that should have read 'than I'.

Colin Davies said...

But no one speaks like that these days. Euphony is all in English.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

What, pray tell, is more euphonic in 'than me' than in 'than I'???


Colin Davies said...

How many times do I have to tell you this???

It isn't per se, of course.

But growing custom and practice - i. e. usage - makes 'me' sound better than ''I to the native English-speaking ear, however technically incorrect it might be. Which is where you fall down, I suspect. With your mongrel background.

And, in the Academy-free Anglo world, that is the only criterion, not what some technically correct would-be guardian of the language says.

Hence my giving up on 'less than' in place of 'fewer than'.

To labour my point - So many native English speakers - certainly the majority - now use the technically incorrect 'less than' that it has become de facto correct.

Should you want to know . . The crossover occurred at 3.25pm on 25 January 2010.