A mother here in Vigo has been fined €1260 for not sending her child to school. Using an American correspondence system as a basis she has been home-schooling her son. She did send the child to school for a while when he was eight but after a week he didn’t like it, so she took him out again. Experts here say the family didn’t really give school much of a trial. Althoug by no means the norm in the UK, home-schooling is seen as acceptable, if a little odd, and there is a system for checking to make sure that everything is up to scratch and that national curriculum standards are being met. Here in Spain it is still more or less against the law.
It’s part of the need for control that must be a hangover from previous regimes and goes along with having to show your ID when you pay by credit card or, as happened to us recently, having your passport photographed when you buy a new sim card for your phone. Another example: this morning I found a card in our letter box saying that they had tried to deliver a parcel yesterday. They didn’t try very hard. We were in all day as it rained quite fiercely. No-one rang our doorbell trying to deliver a parcel. Our theory is that the postman decided he couldn’t be bothered carrying it around with him and just chose to stick a card in the letterbox. The upshot is that we have to go to the post office to collect it and Phil will have to show his passport. It will be no use my going for it, as I am not the person the parcel is intended for. I could be any Tom, Dick or Harry who extracted the card from our post-box and decided to go and get the parcel. Maybe we ARE a bit lax about such matters in the UK but really I do think there’s a bit of overkill going on here.
Overkill is also happening in the apologies arena. Celta de Vigo has been promoted to the First Division and the city has been celebrating. A mass of blue shirts can be seen everywhere. However, during some of the celebration the Celta players, not just supporters but players themselves, sang songs which were deemed insulting to Deportivo A Coruña, who were also promoted a couple of weeks ago. Some players, such as Borja Oubiña and Alex López, apologised almost immediately but that has not been enough and Deportivo have been complaining. There’s nothing like a bit of football rivalry, is there.
I suppose it takes people’s minds off the ongoing problems of Spain. Unemployment was apparently down in May but not as much as last year in the same month. This cartoon shows the weight of the continuing problem on the government’s shoulders, with the comment, “Can’t you tell it weighs a bit less?”
Some people are still working, however, such as whoever is doing some renovation work near us. All morning we have been treated to the familiar sound of tiles being cut, horribly reminiscent of sitting in a dentist’s waiting room and hearing the drill.
Cuts don’t appear to have affected street cleaners or gardeners here either. The bottles and cans which are left around at the end of an evening are usually being swept up when I go out early(ish) in the morning and the gardeners are usually weeding away up in the Castro Park.
This morning I went up to the top and felt vaguely guilty treading on the sand that the workmen were raking so neatly. I could also hear that the frogs have returned to the fountain up at the top of the Castro. When we left here two years ago the "improving Vigo" programme (mellorando o futuro) had removed everything from the fountain basin and re-lined it with antiseptic green, making it look most uninviting to the frogs who would have been mating there, had they not been improving the future.
Now the green is still very antiseptic looking but the water plants have grown back and the frogs were “ribitting” away nicely this morning. So that’s all right then.
Visiting the wifi cafe to post this blog, I found another coffee-saying:-
“Behind every successful woman there is a substantial amount of coffee.” Stephanie Piro, American illustrator.