Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Getting back to normal and applying the normas.

We woke up yesterday to more snow but by evening it had gone so the start of 2011 is (so far) not as fiercely cold as the end or even the start of 2010.

Anyway I set off trudging through the snow to the bus sto
p for the last of the Christmas meals for this season. I had planned to meet some old friends for lunch and it was easier finding a day and time at the end of the Christmas season than at the beginning. We went to a place called Croma in Manchester where they do a very nice range of pizzas and pasta dishes. In addition, I had a voucher from the last time I went there entitling us to a free bottle of wine. No complaints there then. The ladies who lunch had a very good natter and we set the world to rights in our inimitable fashion.

By the time I returned the snow had all but disappeared and this morning we could hear rain beating down on the roof. Maybe the weather is getting back to normal then.

I understand that they have been having a fair bit of rain in the Pontevedra region of Galicia. The tromba has flooded parts of Cangas and there is even some doubt about continuing with the traditional reyes procession in Vigo if the weather is too bad. What? No chance for the children of Vigo to stand in the cold with carrier bags to fill with the sweets that the kings throw at them? Whatever are things coming to?

Here I have taken the decorations off the tree this
morning and am waiting for my strong man to carry it outside and park it in the garden. It is SUPPOSED to be a living tree so it has some chance of surviving until next year but they rarely do. Most successful has been the one which was a tiny little tree when our son was 6 months old. It came in and out every Christmas for years, was re-potted several times, moved house with us and eventually was planted in the garden where it stands to this day.

So that’s Christmas out of the way for another year and maybe like the weather I can get back to something like norma
lity and return to my round of various activities.

Meanwhile I have been reading with interest about the progress of the anti-smoking measures which came into effect on Spain on the 2nd of January. In some places it seems that on the stroke of midnight on January 1st waiters asked smokers to take their cigarettes outside. How’s that for keeping to the letter of the law?

There have been occasional violent incidents like the owner of a bolera in Caceres who was attacked by a customer when he asked him not to smoke and ended up with stitches in his head. For the most part though people seem to be accepting the ide
a of not smoking in bars and restaurants but find it harder in outdoor places like children’s playgrounds. But the inspectors are out. Photographs are being taken. Denuncias are being made.

There is even a website you can visit to report people who smoke in the wrong place.
The organisation in charge of this website is encouraging people to report bars that continue to allow smoking, waiters who continue to smoke while serving customers, people who smoke in children’s playgrounds, hotels that don’t keep their permitted 30% of “smoking” rooms properly separate from the rest and even TV programmes where the presenter or guest in smoking.

It sounds as if Big Brother is seriously watching you, a perfect opportunity to take out and polish up those long held grudges against your neighbour. They have had about 1000 denuncias so far apparently.

All this watching and inspecting may have a positive side, however. It could be a job-creation opportunity. The reported 2000 inspectors to keep an eye on illicit smoking may not make much of a dent in the unemployment statistics but it’s a start!!

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