Friday, 28 May 2010


Summer seems to have arrived. The signs are all there. The pool in our complex opens on Saturday; Pepe the portero has been busy cleaning it out and getting everything in order. Looking out of our window I can see a dedicated sunworshipper stretched out in her bikini on the grass, getting started on her tan. The school across the way has been having outdoor activities with a bouncing castle and this morning an obstacle course for the small pupils, comprising stepping stones, skipping ropes, a section of hopping and a series of hoops they had to climb through. You hear a lot of talk about modern education making schoolchildren jump through hoops; today I saw it in action!

Over their public address we heard them announcing the results of the tortilla competition and the cake-making competition. I imagined
a row of tortillas, each with a small slice removed for tasting. The tortillas and cakes were then being sold by the slice in the school refectory. Children were invited to go and buy.

Usually the announcements we hear are calling for children to go and board the bus taking them home. Very occasionally, however, since this is a church school we hear some kind of religious service being broadcast. But today it was el
concurso de tortillas and el concurso de tartas.

Even here where schools break up for the summer in mid to late June it seems a little early to be devoting entire days to end of term activities. After all they still have
two or three weeks to go. Why are they not slogging away at great works of Spanish literature or huge mathematical problems? They could be improving their gallego or learning English. What is going on? Maybe they know something about the weather that I don't and have discovered that the sunshine is about to disappear and be replaced by yet more rain!

I hope that is not the case as this is also the season of visits. We have English friends here at the moment. They are on their second visit so they must have been impressed first time around. We took them along to the
restaurant El Puerto for lunch the other day. We ordered a variety of plates of shellfish between the four of us and then lenguado para todos – sole for everyone. The waiter came back with a fish on a dish to show us the size of the lenguado and check how many we wanted. Answer: just one will do nicely between us! When it came it was interestingly arranged on a plate with potatoes, of course: this is Galicia, after all!

We also took the boat across the ría to Cangas. There are now three boat companies competing for passengers. Quite how long they will all keep going remains to be seen! Be that as it may, we had a speedy but rather choppy ride across the water. The threatened rain kept off and we had a stroll along the
seafront followed by an excellent lunch at O Pelao, a tapas bar well worth visiting. We paid around 10€ a head and worked out that a glass of good Alabariňo cost about 1.15€. Beat that in an English bar!!!

Maybe this is why our friends keep coming back. It's not to see us. It's not the great architecture or the culture of Spain, although we did visit the Marco art gallery and enjoyed it. It can't be the sunshine because it's not reliable here in Galicia. No, it must be good food and wine at reasonable prices!

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