Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 13.5.18

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.

  • Some tips:-
  1. Always take earplugs. There's always going to be some bastard in the next room who, for example, shouts on his phone at 5am. For half an hour.
  2. Be careful entering the old quarter of Baeza in your car. Cameras will note your number and, unless you're staying overnight, you'll get fined. And, as there are currently roadworks where you normally enter and (maybe) see the warning about this, you're forced to enter the old quarter elsewhere and so won't realise this is happening. Until you get notification of a fine in your mail.
  3. Keep you eye on the speed signs, especially on A and N roads. For reasons lost on me, the drive north of Cordoba towards Madrid saw these change at least 50 times, varying between 80 and 120kph. Sometimes for very short stretches. And then there are the 'temporary' restrictions where there are yellow lines down the side of the road. And occasionally road works which justify these.
  4. Be particularly careful on the outskirts of towns when you've arrived on a 4-lane highway. It's not always clear that the limit is as low as 50. Quite a revenue generator, I suspect. North Santiago is a good example of this.
  5. If, in a city, you're suddenly faced with a sign saying: "No entry for vehicles except cocheras", this literally means depot/shed/coach house but presumably nowadays just means garages(garajes).
  • Yesterday we lunched in the hotel we'd be staying in last night. We were the first people in the restaurant. Naturally they switched on the TV in the corner, to join the one beyond the screen in the adjacent bar/cafĂ©. On a different channel.
  • Pondering on our experiences in the Alhambra in Granada and the Great Mosque in Cordoba, I concluded it won't be too long before you'll have to buy a timed-ticket in advance for the latter. And then forced to follow a line on the floor once you're allowed in. Mark my words. It's a very long way from the experience of Richard Ford, George Borrow(?), Washington Irving, et al. Though, admittedly, everything is in far better condition now.
  • As I've confessed, it irritates me that the Spanish state gives all sorts of financial benefits to my rich neighbours who have 3 or more kids, thus raising bills for me. So, I was never going to react to this report with equanimity and empathy. . . .
  • It's not only the Spanish police who can be rather sensitive. This report is in today's Times. With great pride, West Yorkshire police posted online details about their latest drugs bust. And there was a photograph, too, of the haul — a thimbleful of cannabis. Cue a certain amount of sarcasm from the general public. “Cartels are all goin fkn mental,” one poster commented. Another wondered if they’d manage to nail Pablo Escobar. The coppers were not amused and have threatened to arrest anyone saying horrible things about their brilliant bust. “Unfortunately we have had to ban a number of people from using this page today. I would like to remind everyone that this is a police page and whatever your thoughts on one of my officers seizing drugs in the community, being insulting, abusive or offensive can and will result in a prosecution under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.”
  • Finally . . . Duff Cooper. If you've read the blog I cited yesterday, you'll know that serial adultery was literally a game among the elite of Edwardian and Victorian Britain. So, he wasn't unique. But he was clearly a very serious player indeed and one who tended to ignore the very strict rules of the game. I knew some of this from studying pre-1960s divorce law and its bizarre consequences but I hadn't realised things went so far. As with Fart these days, the biggest crime back then was not doing something wrong but being caught at it and making it public.

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

George Borrow in Cordoba and the Mosque: Bible in Spain, chapter 17.

Get it here: