Our plans to return to Spain on Thursday remain, like the Icelandic Volcanic ash, up in the air. The British newspapers are full of tales of gallant Britons who have managed against all odds to return to the UK from whichever destination they found themselves trapped in. Other less efficiently organised travellers are offering total support to Gordon Brown in the forthcoming elections if he can just send ships out to the Canary Islands to take them back to dear old Blighty. Appeals have been made to the Dunkirk spirit but those who have tried crossing the Channel in small boats to rescue stranded British travellers from the Normandy beaches have had their plans foiled by the French port authorities.
We see no signs of ash in the sky, despite the fears of our seven year old granddaughter who, like Chicken Little, is seriously waiting for the sky to fall in.
Instead, apart from some dampness today, we have mostly had blue skies but with rather lower temperatures than we would ideally prefer. However, the spring flowers are in bloom, including masses of Wordsworthian daffodils. I rather miss the daffodils in Vigo but here there are plenty. Mind you, I read the other day that there is some concern that the native species are being pushed out by bigger, bolder and brasher foreign species. Immigration problems in the flower world!!
The cricket season is also gearing up. At the cricket and bowling club up the road they are having regular practices for weekend matches.
So, what have I been missing in Vigo? Well, in my absence, a group of ladies from the French Book Club at the library has been to Paris: there and back before the volcano erupted! Maribel, the co-ordinator got in touch with the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris and arranged to visit them. They asked her to take along books in gallego for a new section of children and young people’s gallego literature that they are creating.
So Maribel contacted the Oficina de Normalización Lingüistica in Vigo who promptly loaded the party up with masses of books to take to Paris. According to the Oficina de Normalicazión Lingüistica this interest "demostra que o galego é unha lingua universal". Yet more evidence, you see, that Galicia is the centre of the universe!!
Less timely in their travel, some 95 gallego children and 10 teachers are apparently stuck in English speaking destinations such as London, Brighton and Dublin because of the travel restrictions. I suppose this will give them a little more chance to improve their English but as with British school parties trapped in foreign parts there is concern about their missing other aspects of their education. Fewer Spaniards than Britons are stranded abroad though, mainly because they do not head off on mass sun-seeking expeditions to sunnier countries. Most of them will have travelled by road to other parts of Spain in search of the sun and even that will have been just over the Easter weekend, which now seems quite a long way in the past.
Besides it does appear that they expect the airports to open up again in the next 24 hours or so. Maybe we will make it back to Vigo after all. I’m sure Ryanair is rather fed up of losing all that lovely money by now!
So maybe we will be back in time for this strange little fiesta that I have read about today in the Faro de Vigo newspaper on-line: el primer campeonato nacional de cortadores de jamón. Yes, a Serrano jam cutting championship is going to take place next week in Vigo. Organised by the Club Profesional de Cortadores de Xamón de Galicia, it will involve 12 professionals who will be judged on their cutting style, the speed and cleanness of the cut, the way they are dressed and other undefined aspects. On the second day, 6 finalists will be judged once again. The winners can walk away with 1500, 750 and 500 euros for first, second and third prizes. Not bad for slicing ham!!!
Of course it is also intended to promote gastro-tourism; if Galicia cannot guarantee wall to wall sunshine, it can provide excellent food. That is, of course, assuming that no more volcanic ash gets in the way of the tourists who come by plane.