Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Signs of summer.

For the last two weeks people have been telling me how awful the winter has been here: rain, rain and more rain. And then suddenly it’s summer. Forget about spring. Galicia has gone almost immediately into summer. Saturday was pleasant. Sunday had a little hiccough with a beautiful day followed by rain in the evening but since then apparently it’s summer. Orense has had 25°, Lugo 22° and La Coruña 21°. The folk who’ve come in on a cruise ship today have had a lovely day. We think we saw some of them on one of those Vigo tour buses up at Castrelos Park. They really should have got off the bus and had a stroll round but clearly they were badly advised and the bus just went on its way. 

Yesterday up at the Castro the old men were back playing cards on the top of the hedge: a sure sign that summer had arrived. The frogs didn’t seem to have made it back to the fountain but maybe they’re more pessimistic than the card players. The chestnut trees are coming nicely into flower up there as well. 

Today we walked to Castrelos Park. On the way there I saw this notice: 


It translates as “Walls are the people’s press”. Around Vigo they certainly appear to believe in the freedom of the press as there is graffiti all over the place, not all of it very clever stuff either. But then, not all the stuff you read newspapers is all that clever. As regards graffiti, I much prefer this sort of thing, which I saw in Pontevedra on Saturday: 

Anyway, Castrelos is looking very lush and green after all the rain. I thought at first that the bluebells were not yet in flower but then I realised that in fact they are but they’ve all come up white this year: all the colour washed away by the winter rain perhaps. 

Everything else was coming along nicely although they have not yet finished whatever treatment they’ve been giving the maze in the gardens. It’s looking very good but there are still signs saying not to touch the box hedge. That’s almost two year’s treatment it’s been having. It should look excellent at the end of it. 

Summer might seem to be here for most of us but some of the rich and famous are still deep in winter. I read that there are suggestions that Iñaki Urdangarín should have his passport taken off him. This is to prevent him running off to take up the promised job in Qatar. He has told the King of his intention to go but it seems that some people don’t think he should be allowed to do so. Surely it would be better for him to be out of the King’s hair and actually earning some money but who am I to comment on such things? 

In my newspaper readings about the parlous state of the monarchy here, I came across this expression: “la Corona se cavará su tumba” – more or less “the monarchy will dig its own grave” – if it doesn’t begin to set a better example in facing the crisis. No more African hunting trips, no more corruption scandals, please, is the message. There have already been anti-monarchy demonstrations in Madrid to mark the 82nd anniversary of the Second Republic and debates on TV about monarchy versus republic. The honeymoon period is definitely over. 

And parliamentary people aren’t faring much better. Pachi Vazquez, leader of the Partido Socialista de Galicia has been saying that Feijóo should probably go to prison because of those photos with smuggler turned drug baron Marcial Dorado. Mind you, they still have to prove that there was anything untoward going on. That has never stopped opposition parties shouting though. 

They probably shout in a very cultured and polite fashion, however, observing all the formalities. When I was working as a Spanish teacher I was often asked if the Spanish really used the subjunctive. Did they actually remember to do so? Well, last night in one of our preferred local free wifi, free tapas venues I saw this notice on the wall: 

    “Señores Clientes, se ruega no muevan mesas ni sillas por su cuenta. 
     Pídanles amablemente a los/las camareros/as. 
     Por su comodidad y la de todos. 
     Disculpan las molestias. 


    “Dear Customers. You are requested not to move tables or chairs on your own behalf.   
      Kindly ask the waiters/waitresses. 
      For your comfort and that of everyone. 
      We apologise for the inconvenience. 
      Thank you.” 

 It’s on a par with the formal letter writing we used to learn in schools before writing letters became a lost art and everyone sent texts and emails. And we know what difficulties the electronic media can get you into.

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