Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Thoughts from Headingley, England: 12.12.18

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.

England
  • I'm penning this in a cafĂ© where there are at least 30 customers. The table next to me comprises 10 women and 1 man. And yet I can still hear myself think. And, if I really wanted to, I could follow each table's chatter. How different from Spain. Where simultateous shouting is obligatory. Or at least essential, as everyone else is doing it. A nice change.
Spain
  • The 'shameful' extent of corruption in Spain, at least among the political and commercial classes, if not among the general populace.
  • A topical article. Which you might recall from last year.
  • Let's hear it for Sevilla . . . The Top 10 cities in the world as voted by readers of Telegraph Travel:
1. Cape Town
2. Tokyo
3. Vancouver
4. Seville - having risen streadily in recent years.
5. Sydney
6. New York
7. Venice
8. Florence
9. Rome
10. San Francisco

When I was there recently, the city was overrun with tourists. This accolade will surely make things worse. Or better, if you like to be in (a lot of) company. If I ever go for a 4th time, it'll be in mid winter.
  • A fascinating - and quite possibly accurate - comment from Lenox of Business Over Tapas: In Spain, the titles on the spines of books are always 'upside-down'. Irritating indeed, especially when the book is flat on the table. This is down, apparently, to the Moors, who understandably started their books at the back. The Spanish followed the tradition as far as the spines went. I should add, it's not always 'down' . . . 
Germany

Google translates the caption as: It's already bubbling; the rebellion begins.



The UK and Brexit
  • As an 'Xmas Special' of a Conservative party leadership election looms ever larger, Richard North warns us here that game-playing politicians who are ignoring - or at least are ignorant of – vital facts will be making the next few weeks a 'turgid exercise in applied tedium'. To which he adds the self-evident truth: 'We will all be be glad when it's over'. But it's not as bad as a nuclear war, I guess. One has to be grateful for (very) small mercies. And the amusement of Fart in (Twitter) action.
Spanish
  • Word of the Day: Lucir.
Finally . . .
  • Always ready to be an irritant, Alfie Mittington asks whether I would file the author Daphne du Maurier under D. Well, yes, I probably would. But - unusually for him - it's a good question. I suspect I wouldn't put a book by, say, the Earl of Arran under E or O. But we don't have many surnames in English of the Le/De/Du/Von/Van form, so I don't really know what the norm would be for foreign (sounding) surnames. Of Brittanic equivalents . . .  O'Reilly would go under O, I believe, and MacAdan under M. As for truly foreign names . . . A (different) Dutch friend says that 'van Dinter' would appear as 'Dinter, van' in their phone directory. But I checked on the brand name Le Creuset and at least that one is 'filed' under L. Opinions welcome. Where would you put a book by Laurens Van de Post, for example? V, D or P??
© [David] Colin Davies

2 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


The useful criterium would be to ignore every word in the name which is, or resembles, a preposition or an article. As you do yourself quite adequately by not starting those minor words with a capital letter.

Laurens van der Post (the 'van' is not a Christian name as in Van Morrison, but the simple Dutch for 'of', i.e. a genitive preposition) therefore would have to go under 'P' of 'Post'.

I do admit that 'Le' in 'Le Carré' poses something of a challenge. One would need a French historical linguistic to enlighten us if such 'Le's' (Bar Le Duque for instance) are perhaps older forms of the genitive.

Your true friend, ABM

Anonymous said...

«upside-down» spines of books are quite irritating, whether in Spain, Italy, France or Portugal, but not quite as much so as that nasty habit they have of driving on the wrong side of the road (which is quite probably another legacy of the moors). However, if you prefer stacking your books on top of one another (for whatsoever reason) rather than having them independently and orderly placed, it is better not to have «upside-down» spines on your books. Ah, the moors, clever, clever folk ...