The other day, as I walked back from the supermarket, taking a shortcut along the unofficial but well-worn path over the grass, I noticed something of interest. Standing by a bench under the trees at the bottom of the little park near our flats were two small boys, busily examining something in a box. As I got closer I could not resist asking them what they had in the box and so they showed me: gusanos de seda – silk worms.
I had never seen them before and somehow they were bigger than I expected, just over an inch long, black and white and very active. Two were in a separate compartment and my small new friends informed me that these two were less active because they were about to turn into chrysalides. Very well-informed little chaps they seemed to be.
They were collecting leaves from the tree and putting them in the box for the worms. So, putting two and two together, I jumped to the conclusion that these were mulberry trees. Hold on! Shouldn’t that be mulberry bushes? My English childhood memories had people going round and round the mulberry bush on a cold and frosty morning, never round mulberry trees. And yet these were most definitely trees, not very big ones but trees none the less.
Having also noted on a number of occasions quite a lot of people picking something from said trees – other that leaves for silkworms – I decided it was time to do a quick Google search. Lo and behold, the fruit is regularly used for jams, pies, puddings and desserts of all kinds. Its Spanish name is mora. Now, I was always led to believe that mora was the Spanish for blackberry (the fruit not the phone gadget) so a little more research was called for. If you look up blackberry in the English-Spanish dictionary you find zarazamora. Zarza, by the way, means bramble – link to blackberry. However, if you look up mora in the Spanish-English dictionary, you find … yes, I WAS right … blackberry. Well, there’s a thing. If you look closely at the mulberry, however, it does bear a passing resemblance to a blackberry.
Some other people going round the mulberry bush seem to be the British political leaders. The choice of new Prime minister remains to be made. The Lib Dems must be losing some credibility as they flip and flop from one party to another. Time for a decision, gentlemen, please.
Also going round and round is la nube de cenizas – the ash cloud poured out by the unpronounceable Icelandic volcano – provoking this nice cartoon in the Voz de Galicia newspaper.
The cloud is affecting gallegos as well. Apparently a group of them has been trapped in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. They set off happily from La Coruña on a cruise on board the Empress, ending up in Le Havre. They were supposed to fly back from Paris to Santiago de Compostela but the cloud put paid to that idea. Presumably they are safely back on good gallego soil by now, but well, you never now.
We are just hoping that the cloud is not hanging around on Friday when we have a flight booked from Oporto to London. Fingers crossed, everyone.