Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 14.1.20

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   
                  Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
Spanish Politics
  • I saw that the new Ministra of Culture had both a degree and a Masters and 3 children but was only 31. I wondered how she could achieve this status so young and so 'hampered' by 3 kids. Until a friend pointed out she was the wife of the new principal Vice President, the head of the 'far left' Podemos party in coalition with the socialist PSOE party. Last week I noted that this apparent nepotism had not even been mentioned in the Spanish press. I don't know about other media.
Spanish Life  
  • Brexit and what it means now for Brits travelling here, courtesy of the The ever-informative Local.
  • A warning from the Guardia Civil.
  • Which reminds me . . . I was told last night that thieves - at least in The Netherlands - have a sort of radar with which they can tell if your laptop's is in your boot/trunk. 
Galician Life
  • Visitors to Pontevedra city rose 17% last year, assisted by the tirĂ³n (pull) of the camino.
  • My street is named after a local island. A central heating engineer from Vigo - apparently unable to use his satnav/GPS - this morning went to the coast near the island and having been told he'd have to get a boat to reach me, called me for directions. He finally got here and, though I was by this time I was not over-confident of his intelligence, he did manage to stop my boiler whistling perpetually. Eventually. 
The UK and the EU
  • A sceptic's view: The apparent rejection of the EU’s student exchange programme, Erasmus+, in parliamentary votes last week, has triggered predictable howls of fury. But don’t be fooled by the missives lamenting this “catastrophic” loss to UK academia. The aims of Erasmus+ were always more imperial than educational. . . . Yet the reaction betrays the Europhiles’ self-absorption. Since its inception in 1987, Erasmus+ has gained iconic status among euro-fanatics, whose use of the term “Erasmus generation” betrays a hope that young Europeans will prove more eager integrationists than their parents or grandparents.   . .  But universities are not dating services or travel agents.   . .  While the real Erasmus lauded overseas study, I suspect he would be appalled by the lack of rigour and the less-than-scholarly aims.
The UK alone
  • A realist's view: Avoiding global irrelevance is Britain's daunting challenge post Brexit.
The Way of the World
  • A teaspoon of the date-rape drug “G” can knock a person out. A few drops more can be lethal. But the solvent is sold openly on the internet for a few pennies per millilitre because of a loophole that allows it to be sold as an industrial cleaner.  For as little as £25 it is possible to buy enough of the drug to render 100 people unconscious.
  • Words of the Day:-
  1. Chapuza: Bodge 
  2. Albacea: Executor. From Arabic, I'm certain. 
  3. Becerra:  Calf. These are being robbed up in our hills.
  • Can the word razor possibly come from the Arabic word which might be the origin of the Spanish word featured yesterday - Rajar - To cut/slash. Probably not, as the Spanish for a razor is maquinita de afeitar, at least for a safety-razor. Old fashioned things are/were afeitadoras (from afeitar, to shave). Or cuchilla (little knife/blade) or navaja (knife/penknife).
  • Stadsfries doesn't mean 'city chips/French fries', but 'city Frisian'. Someone needs to tell Mr Google.
Finally . . .
  • Peter Skellern is a song-writer and piano player I admire greatly. A real troubador and wordsmith, as someone has said. This is one of his best-known songs. Perhaps one of the most romantic ever written. That said, this one probably merits that accolade even more. Skellern died a couple of years ago, aged only 69 and nowhere near as famous as he deserved to be. His music lives on.

1 comment:

Perry said...

Razor:late 13c., from Old French raseor "a razor" (12c.), from raser "to scrape, shave," from Medieval Latin rasare, frequentative of Latin radere (past participle rasus) "to scrape, shave," possibly from an extended form of PIE root *red- "to scrape, scratch, gnaw."

Lex parsimoniae.

Great song from Peter Skellern & so delightfully not politically correct. Perfect to play at an LBGTQ disco.