Day one of the chess tournament here in Sanxenxo led, as expected, to a whole series of reunions with friends and acquaintances we have not seen for a year.
There were complete strangers, to me anyway, who greeted me at the bar as I organised coffee into a flask for Phil, who said to me, “Eres la mujer de Adams, ¿no?” These are the type of chess players who tend to greet each other by their surnames but think nothing of using the informal address when talking to the wives of the chess players they address by their surnames.
Then there were the ones who have become friends of ours over the last few years, people who arrive accompanied by their families. And we catch up on news and comment on how much the grandchildren have grown. Or we share photos of the grandchildren who have not accompanied us.
In the pool, after the whole shebang had started and I had gone off to do my own thing, I came across the Asturian. He had opted not to play yesterday, having just arrived, but was taking a half point bye. This gentleman whose name I have never got to know, has been coming for the last few years, accompanied by his wife and daughter and two charming granddaughters. Two years ago, the year of the fateful Brexit vote, he was accompanied also by his son, who turned out to work at one of the Manchester universities and who was devastated by the Brexit vote.
The two charming granddaughters, who have grown from toddlers into tall and slender pre-adolescents are Iria and Esva. I have always been struck by these unusual names so finally I googled them. There are quite a lot of famous Irias apparently. Iria is also place Galicia, an Ancient settlement and former bishopric in the modern municipality of Padrón. Okay, that’ll work. After all, I have taught a number of young ladies called Chelsea and Camden. Esva is the name of a river in Asturias. I have yet to come across anyone in the North if England called Ribble or Mersey, but there is time yet!
Walking along the seafront here, you come across lots of shops selling the usual seaside tat, but also boutiques, selling clothes at extortionate prices, naturally. One of these, a children’s clothes store, listed designer labels they stock, including one called Cloudette, which I assume is a Spanish version of the French name Claudette. Now, this is all quite logical. A spaniard reading Claudette would read the first syllable as “cloud”, “au” giving the “ow” sound. Cloudette on the other hand would be pronounced French fashion, as “ou” gives the “oh” sound. It’s just the English speakers who turn the name into “Clordette”. I am quite surprised to to see it spelt that way.
Along the seafront there is now a rainbow wall. Well, the wall has been painted in almost rainbow colours. Only orange and indigo are missing. The colours are in the wrong order: red, blue, yellow, green, violet instead of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. But then, you can’t have everything. I have no idea whether this is a nod in the direction of the gay and lesbian community.
Yesterday evening we saw a hawk hovering over the seafront, the underside of his wings looking rather magnificent in the sunlight. Unfortunately I was unable to snap a photo of him. Goodness knows what he was hunting. Seagulls do not make great eating!
Walking along the seafront in the afternoon, my eyes were assaulted by the sight of numerous teenage bottoms: on young ladies who had come up from the beach to buy ice-creams on the promenade. The fashion this year is clearly for the sort of bikinis that allow for maximum tanning of buttocks. They look rather uncomfortable. And personally I would not want to risk sunburn on my sit-upon!
Eva Wiseman, writing in the Observer, seems to feel the same way, or at least expresses indignation at the difficulty of finding bikinis to suit her.
Here’s a sample:-
“To begin with, the gussets. Usually there’s a selection of bottoms, from shorts to thongs, but this year, the fashion is for a very narrow chocolate eclair sort of shape that extends between the legs and up towards the belly button, requiring even the blondest of women to depilate almost an acre of flesh. So that’s the gussets.
But I was prepared for that, and indeed had taken it into consideration when selecting swimsuits, leaving behind a number of costumes that, rather than offer a covering for one’s genitals, instead provided a sort of will-this-do mental floss, like a hastily erected crucifix to show where one has buried the cat. But even the kinder gussets provided only a suggestion of arse coverage, the designer perhaps having never seen a human bottom, instead having only studied medical charts about digestion.”
She goes on the comment on fashion magazines assuming that nobody over 28 needs a bikini. Or indeed, should consider wearing a bikini.
They have clearly not seen the shapes and sizes and ages of bikini wearers on Spanish beaches.
Finally, as regards the chess, Phil won yesterday. Today will probably be harder.