Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 29.8.18

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. Garish but informative.

Matters Spanish
  • Here's one item on wolves in Spain. 
  • And here, by coincidence, is another. Also shocking but in a different way altogether.
  • A company producing wind turbines near Leon has announced the end of production. I wonder what this means. A shift in government policy and the end of subsidies?
  • At a meeting in the White House with evangelist leaders, Fart quoted this John Adams sentiment: I Pray Heaven To Bestow The Best Of Blessings On This House And All that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof. Of course, he left out the third bit.
  • Click here for an account of more of the repugnant behaviour we've come to expect, at that meeting. It's so very sad that we are no longer shocked by it.
  • The Times this morning, in a headline, uses the word 'fishers' instead of 'fishermen'. Normally I would prefer the shorter word but surely the former - if it exists - includes anglers as well as men at sea. So is ambiguous. In fact, they were the latter, who were being attacked by their French equivalents in the English Channel. The text of the article actually uses 'fishermen'. So, I suspect 'fishers' is the invention of a 17 year old sub-editor down in New Zealand. To whom, it's reported, once-great British newspapers resort for (poor) overnight editing of articles submitted the previous evening by real journalists. And for the creation of headlines, accurate or otherwise. 
  • Here's a list of English words used by the American writer Washington Irving in Tales from the Alhambra, written in the 1830s. Not many of them are current now, I suspect:-
Drawcansir – A a fictional character in a play entitled The Rehearsal.
To diaper – Meaning, I think, to cover with. Technically: 1. What Brits call a nappy. And 2. A line or cotton fabric woven in a repeating pattern of small diamonds. (Applied to Moorish wall decorations).
Pursy – 1. Short of breath; asthmatic. 2. Fat
Squab – 1. Young, unfledged pigeon. 2. Thick stuffed cushion. (Applied to a man).
To repine – To feel or express discontent
Wight – 1. A person of a specified kind, especially one who's regarded as unfortunate. 2. A spirit, ghost or other supernatural being.
Sloop – A sailboat but used by WI to mean 'shop', apparently.
Shopboard – Counter?
Tatterdemalion – Used here to mean very poor, it seems.
Darkling – Of or related to increasing darkness.
To subjoin – To add comments/info at the end of a speech or text. (See anything Alfie Mittington writes).
To mow at someone - ??? Similar to 'To mope'? To lower?

  • Here's a couple of Spanish words used by Irving that I didn't know:-
Trabuco – 1. Blunderbuss. 2. Drag queen.
Tocador – Translated by WI as 'Toilette'. 1. Boudoir. 2. Powder room. 3. Dressing table.

Galicia and Pontevedra
  • Readers will know that Pontevedra is – like Oxford – a decidedly 'anti-car' city. There are certainly highly commendable aspects of this and Pontevedra has become something of a favourite around the world on how to do things. I was reminded of this yesterday when I saw that, thanks to our town council, you can download a 44-page booklet published in Gallego, Spanish and even English, entitled: Fewer cars; More city. You can get it here. I'm impressed at the 'fewer' rather than (the once erroneous but now very common and, so, no longer erroneous) 'less'.
  • I've admitted to confusion about Spanish pensions and how they differ between regions and age groups. Yesterday, I saw a chart showing that the average monthly pension is Galicia is – at €810 - the second lowest in Spain, after Extremadura. Compared with the highest of €1,189 in the Basque Country. And the text advised that those senior folk getting their pension now in our region get considerably more than those who retired years ago. So, no consistency or uniformity at all. What would be considered in other countries as an unfair and unacceptable 'postcode lottery'. As well as age discrimination, I guess. Doubtless a reflection of the delegation of this 'competency' to regional governments. Naturally, some of our pensioners are revolting.
  • As mentioned, ahead of our one-day Medieval Fair on Saturday, work has been going on for at least 10 days on making the city look medieval. Another very observable fact is that almost every empty retail outlet has been converted into a 'pop-up' supplier of costumes for the 80-90% of celebrants who'll lash out on one of these. A business that didn't exist here 20 years ago. Here's an example I clocked last night. A place where I used to buy spices:-

Finally . . .

A sign of the times:-

© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 29.8.18

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