Sunday, 16 July 2017

State visits! Climate change! Community spirit!

The king of Spain has been visiting the UK. There were rides in state carriages and a big gala dinner with everyone in their finery and the ladies wearing their tiaras. The BBC news seemed to be struck by the fact that the oldest monarch in Europe was meeting the tallest monarch in Europe. Some of the Spanish press concentrated on how much better dressed Queen Letizia, striking in red, was than the Duchess of Cambridge, more demure in dusty pink. Is this what it's all about?

President Trump meanwhile has been in France where he felt it was appropriate to comment to the first lady of that country that she was "in great shape". Would he say the same to Letizia or Kate? I wonder! Or was it the fact that much has been made in the press about how much older that her husband Madame Macron is? I suppose she should feel grateful that he did not grab her by a certain part of her anatomy! And this man is in charge of one of the most powerful countries in the world!! 

We were talking about him last night in María's Midcentury cafe. At ten o'clock in the evening it was still around 30 degrees. Goodness knows what the temperature was in mid afternoon! María's husband commented that this is what we can expect from now on. Twenty years ago Galician summers did not run to 33 or 35 degrees on a regular basis. Unless, of course, you lived in Orense, which is a place of extremes. And yet, we all remarked, the likes of Donald Trump still say that climate change is a myth!

Whether it is part of a normal cycle or totally the result of carbon emissions is something the scientists continue to argue about but nobody sensible can deny that change is happening. Ice caps are shrinking and deserts are growing and we human beings need to be aware and prepared. 

Okay, mini-environmental rant over. Here's something else that is disappearing: the English estate pub. According to Martin Dodge, a senior lecturer in Geography at Manchester University, In the past, the pub acted as “the community anchor”. Now gentrification has led to the closing of many local pubs and he reckons that communities are losing their soul as a result. He is encouraging people to go and drink there, and presumably get involved in quiz nights and music nights and all the other stuff. Now, he says, there’s nostalgia for the English pub, “but that’s not going to pay the rent. If you don’t go and buy your beer there, it’s not going to survive.”

I know people who said the same about the local parish church and many if them have now been turned into conference centres, furniture warehouses and goodness knows what else. And in the same way, pubs are being turned into bijou residences for those who can afford them. 

Social change, like climate change, creeps up on you and one day you blink and realise everything is different!

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