Monday, May 14, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 14.5.18

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.

TRAVEL NEWS
  • So good are Spain's roads these days that driving around much of southern Spain in the last 3 weeks has been a consistent pleasure. Apart from the ever-changing speed limits, that is.
  • On these, I've tried – as ever - to religiously obey the restrictions but won't, of course, be surprised to get notices of fines in my mail over the next month. Asi son las cosas. Just another tax. I have the cash ready for at least one . . . 
  • Sitting in Madrid's Retiro park last night as my daughter took part in a tango milonga, I was surprised to find my self cold, despite wearing both a pullover and a jacket. Not exactly what I expected in May. And I see that it's going to be raining for several days this week in Granada. Global warming?
  • Buying a ticket for a metro ride of 4 stops last night, I was surprised to see that this would set me back €4 euros, against the usual 2. The explanation seems to be that they've introduced a system under which you can't get a ticket without first buying a card that you then use  each time you buy future tickets. And this costs €2. Easy large-scale profit. I wonder if the London Oyster card comes at a price. A bit of research suggests not.
  • Whatever, here's info on the metro's Public Transport Card, in English. But this ain't what I was obliged to buy at a machine at Bat├ín station yesterday. No registration process – with foto, NIE, etc. - was required. Just money.
  • And this is what my card looks like:-

It has no credit on it now but I can, I understand, load it with up to 10 rides. Compared with the card described at the above site, it's the same on the front but lacks my personal details on the back. My daughter tells me one is un bono and the other un abono but I remain totally confused. So that might be wrong.

ODDS AND SODS
  • The Catalans ares still struggling to elect a president in place of all those rejected by Madrid. The person most likely to be given this poisoned chalice – after another vote today - is one Quim Torra. His forename is an unfortunate one, at least for people of my age.
  • Brussels has finally said it will take a look at Catalan complaints about police brutality during the 'illegal' referendum last October. I doubt much will come of it.
  • The latest polls suggest 2 things: 1. The demise of Spain's 2-party convivencia of the last almost-40 years, and 2. The resignation of Sr Rajoy as leader of the right-wing PP party. For, both of the 2 large parties of Spain's young democracy – the PP and the left-wing PSOE - are being eclipsed by new parties – Ciudadanos of the not-quite-so-far-Right and Podemos of the pretty-far-Left. And 65% of PP voters are said to be unhappy with Rajoy and his treatment of the Catalan rebellion. But whether this is because they think he has been stupid or too soft, I don't know. I fear the latter.
  • Finally . . . Duff Cooper. As far as I can tell, he uses the word 'love' as follows:-
- 'To make love to'. Meaning; To flirt with and then proposition. He seems to do this daily, both to women he's known a while and to those he's just met. Assuming he thinks they're pretty. (On this, I''m not sure we'd share the same criteria.)
- 'To be very much in love with': Meaning; To be infatuated with for a while. A regular state for him. One which – as the lover of the chase more than the killing - he misses dreadfully when circumstances preclude it.
- 'To love X': Meaning; To enjoy the company of X, platonically or otherwise.
- 'To love my wife more than anyone else': Meaning: To want to stay with this woman forever as she knows about and largely ignores all my philandering. And also brings in the vast sums I spend on fine food, booze and gambling unsuccessfully. And finally . . .
- 'Ex-love': Meaning: A previous conquest he still occasionally bonks.
What you can't take away from him is that he mixes with all the great and the good of his time. Albeit largely because – initially at least - his wife is said to be the prettiest woman of the age, is an aristocratic 'socialite' and earns huge amounts from starring in silent movies that probably require much less acting than merely looking pretty. All that said, he was clearly a man of great intelligence and charm. Could write sonnets (for his 'loves', of course) at the drop of a hat. I wish I'd know how useful that would be years ago . . .

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