Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Meeting expectations.

Yesterday was fine and sunny, sunny enough for a number of sun worshippers to be down in the gardens working on their tan beside the pool bu not hot enough to cause many people to return from work at lunchtime and simply HAVE to have a brief dip before going in to eat. It was not as hot as Sunday when we walked up to the Castro and admired the blue of the sea.

Sunday was one of those days when the heat is still bouncing off the walls at ten o’clock at night, the temperature gauges on the chemists’ shops still registering 27 degrees. Yesterday evening the temperature gauges shoed 22 at around nine o’clock. This is probably what provoked María in her MidCentury Cafe to comment that this summer just can’t get going.she backtracked almost immediately, saying that actually she prefers it when the maximum temperature is around 24 or 25 degrees. The upper 20s and into the 30s and she starts to wilt and burn. Quite so!

Over the last ten years or so we have come to expect hot summers here in Galicia. And not just in Orense, further inland, extra hot in summer and extra cold in winter. And yet the first few times we came to Galicia, we had the sort of summer weather that this year is offering: some dull days, some like today starting with with cloud cover and improving later, some bright days but with a chance of rain, and occasional baking hot, scorching, dash-for-the-shade days.

The very first time we visited Vigo was a day like that. We trailed up to the Castro in the heat, stopping en route for cold water at a cafe and taking refuge in the Don Bosco bookshop - air conditioned - before discovering that it is largely a religious bookshop! Bot our sort of place at all!!

People seem to have forgotten that the rich used to head to the north of Spain to escape the summer heat. The royal family used to have a summer residence in San Sebastián, I think, before they had one in Mallorca. But that was before summer was all about getting a tan! So this summer is puzzling the Galicians, who have come to expect hot, hot, hot!

We quickly adjust our expectations, including our weather expectations. Our son, who lives just outside London and works in the capital, tells me that he has grown used to the hot weather that has been going on there for weeks. He no longer looks at the weather forecast. He simply expects the weather to be good!

Such is human nature.

Not so long ago I saw a young lady walking a little dog, a chihuahua or similar, one of those dogs that looks as though it is not truly canine. As it sped off along almost the full length its extending lead she called it back: “Odín, ven aquí!” This morning I saw her again, this time with two little dogs, Odín and a sort of miniature terrier kind of dog, no more that six or eight inches tall. The leads extended on both sides of her - I was clearly going to have to dodge round them - as the little terrier did its business on the pavement and Odín went exploring interesting smells. As she poop-scooped the tiny terrier’s droppings, Odín decided it was his turn. And so, as she moved to poop-scoop for Odín, she called the other little dog to accompany her: “Thor! ven aquî Thor!” Odin and Thor!

I hope she was being ironic. Maybe someone had told her that her small, yappy-type dogs, notorious for their snappiness, needed fierce, warlike names to match their personalities.

After all, a friend of ours used to have a very snarly-looking dog that might have had some pit-bull in her mixture, and she had the unlikely name of Mitzi! Once you got to know her, or perhaps more importantly, once she got to know you, she was fine. She just had a loud and frightening bark.

I wonder of Odín and Thor and the little dogs we hear yapping in the flat next to ours whenever anyone opens the door to the landing where the lifts are!

Mañana es festivo. Tomorrow is a holiday. That’s what I overheard in the baker’s shop. Someone was ordering a cake and there was some doubt as to whether it would be available tomorrow as “mañana es festivo”. So I checked with the panadera what feast day it was: Santiago, Saint James, of course. I had quite forgotten that tomorrow is the 25th of July, feast day of Galicia’s patron saint, Santiago Matamoros, Saint James the Moorslayer, even though many claim that the Moors never got this far north. He might not have done much Moor-slaying here but he is still often depicted on horseback, sword in hand, sometimes surrounded by slain Moors!

And tomorrow is his day. The cathedral in Santiago will be lit up with fireworks. And we had better make sure we have all we need from the supermarket today as almost everything will be closed.

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