Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thoughts from Cologne, Germany: 25.11.18

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 German
  • So, I did go yesterday to a small Christmas market in Cologne and the Glühwein was enjoyable. But I much preferred the sugared almonds, which I'm told are another German Xmas tradition:-
  • Being a relatively light sleeper, I'm used to being woken by noisy guests in Spanish hotels, but it's a new experience for me to be dragged out of slumber by a couple somewhere nearby being exceptionally - and very loudly - nice to each other at 4.15am. Both yesterday and today. I was tempted to shout Get a room! But, of course, they already had one. Too close to mine.
Matters Spanish/Galician
The UK/Brexit
  • Commentator 1: As to the eventual outcome of this fracas, one can speculate but serious prediction is unwise. There are too many variables, too many people involved and enough sub-plots to keep a soap opera going for a decade. And once one factors in the range of responses and the reactions to them, the chances of making a correct call are slight. 
  • Commentator 2: If the ‘no’ vote comes [in the British Parliament in December], there is a presumption that Article 50 could be briefly extended, until July at the latest, but only to enable the British to elect a new prime minister, hold a general election, a second referendum, a Norway/EFTA negotiation - or whatever else emerges. Even this is not guaranteed.
  • Commentator 3: So, will Europe miss the UK when it’s gone? Probably not. Full article here. It ends, by the way, with a comment of one EU politician: All the big issues: fisheries, Gibraltar, will come back with a vengeance, with the backstop hanging over us. It’s not over yet. Dear god.
  • The Guardian editorial view: The intense inwards focus in Westminster on last minute Brexit dramas has tended to obscure the dire impact on Europe itself of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. It is a poignant moment. Across a continent beset by mounting internal and external problems, Britain’s departure will be interpreted by many as a stinging vote of no confidence in Europe’s collective future. With the summit in Brussels to seal the Brexit withdrawal agreements now expected to go ahead as planned, the remaining 27 member states have reached a portentous turning point that none of them ever really wanted. . . . The scale of Europe’s loss is exceeded only by our own. Full article here.
The EU
  • If you haven't already done so, read the Guardian's editorial view of Brexit for an outline of the EU's major challenges post Brexit, and the options open to it,

© [David] Colin Davies

11 comments:

Geoff said...

This post appeared OK in my Feedly, although I notice Feedly now says "1 follower7 articles per week" :-(

Anonymous said...

I've always found British chips pretty tasteless, though I hear that with vinegar they are less so ... who knows ... but anyway, what about sprinkling them with olive oil and some raw onion slices (to just to accompany the vinegar thing)? Any British reaction to that?

Perry said...

It's the frying medium that is the key to cooking what was once a poor person's supper. My inexpensive deep fat fryer is filled with beef dripping & this combination produces excellent King Edward potato chips with a crunchy exterior & soft interior. The trick is not to overload the fryer & first blanch the chips, before frying a second time. Birds Eye battered cod has much to recommend it & I'd suggest sprinkling with Balsamic vinegar & Maldon sea salt. Very flavoursome. Then there are filo wrapped prawns, pork filled pancake rolls & finally lamb samosas or chamuças as scrumptious alternatives.

As for the adjacent night nurse antics, 40 years ago I'd have knocked on the door to get an invitation. Tempest fidget would be the misappropriate malapropism m'thinks.

Colin Davies said...

@Anonymous: I doubt a single person in the UK would care what you or anyone else puts on your/their chips. Like the Belgians and the Dutch, since childhood I've favoured mayonnaise. Truth to tell, Heinz 'salad cream', the poor mans' version of this.

Colin Davies said...

I agree with Perry about the frying medium. My grandfather always used beef dripping. I remember his chips with great affection.

Colin Davies said...

@Geoff. Thanks for that. Good to know.

Anonymous said...

@Perry, so much verbiage for a simple act of deep frying potatoes (nothing more banal, chuck them there till they change colour) may help to delude oneself into being some sort of sophisticated cook or connoisseur, rather than a lazy, fat man, be my guest.

@Colin, I remember a British person that once ordered a tea in a bar in Spain (away from the tourist area, he must have felt very adventurous indeed that day) and the bartender "killed it" by adding hot milk to it. I can't think of a more violent language in this context, although I admit that having a tea in Spain is not too far from self-immolation ...

Anonymous said...

Having read the Spanish readers comments on that churros thing I don't see anyone upset, just hilarity and scorn at that unorthodox-never-heard-of way of serving them ... maybe something to do with the bad reputation of British cuisine ... ?

Colin Davies said...

@Annymous. Tea is not my cup of tea. But my daughters drink a wide range of these, totally unheard of in my parents' generation. Times change. Stereotypes lag behind, for every country and its people.

As for British cooking . . . My mother's was (traditionally) poor, mine is good, that of all my partners very good and that of my daughters, great. All - except my mother's of course - covering a much wider spectrum of inernational cuisines that one can find in Spain. Times change.

I agree that the cited churros comments were humorous but I'd guess there were many more that weren't. As with JO's tortilla (or was it paella?) 'abominations',

Anonymous said...

@Colin. British cuisine has caught up indeed, becoming less "British" and more "cosmopolitan". Still, having a proper tea in the continent ... try at your own risk ...

I remember "vegetarian paella" being scorn at in Spain, as not "truly" paella ... it is true that "Latin" cultures the likes of Spain, France or Italy seem to take themselves much more seriously than British, for example ... I remember a Spanish orchestra conductor that had launched a disque of classical music with drum beat (apparently to make it more appealing to youngsters) which caused an uproar among the classical music fans, one of them on the radio saying that those vinyls should be smashed up, only to be bettered by the next caller who added that they should use the head of the man of the happy idea to do it ...

Colin Davies said...

LoL