Monday, 17 February 2014

From puddly places to sunny islands.

Yesterday’s fine sunny weather must have been a blip, a freak of nature, for today we are back to grey and gloomy. Last night’s weather forecast on the TV showed great swathes of cloud coming across the Atlantic towards the western side of Europe. The actual rain managed to hold off here until I was halfway to Uppermill, where I wanted to visit the greengrocer’s shop. This is the closest proper fruit and veg shop in our area and is the nearest thing I have found here to the little fruit shops which appear every hundred yards or so on most Spanish streets. It’s no good Mr. Cameron and his government urging us to eat our five-a-day when it’s so difficult to buy the stuff. 

In the co-op in Uppermill one day last week we had an odd conversation with one of the shop-assistants. He was tidying up one of the shelves and suddenly asked, “Are onions one of the five-a-day? It says on this label that it is.” His customers assured him that, as an onion is a vegetable, it would be included in the famous five. “So,” he continued, “how much onion do you have to eat for it to count?” Well, I wonder. How long is a piece of string? As long as you want it to be? So, you eat as much onion as you want, presumably. We ended the discussion by assuring him that we expected to see him tucking into an onion and breathing onion-breath on all the customers. 

Waiting for the bus home after my shopping trip today – walking the three miles there is fine, as is walking back as a rule, but with a rucksack full of fruit and veg it can be a little tiring – I was told that my rucksack was boring. This came from a gentleman (maybe not a true gentleman if he was rude about my rucksack) whose rucksack was covered in badges relating things to do with the railway. Amazing! He could leave it behind in Stalybridge Station Buffet and people would think it was just part of the decor. I had to send a picture of his bag to my eldest granddaughter as I knew she would appreciate it. She has a denim shoulder bag whose strap is covered in badges and buttons she has collected over the last few years, including some vintage ban-the-bomb and anti-Nazi-league badges she appropriated from my house. 

Talking at the bus stop is a habit of mine. Occasionally you come across grumpy folk who appear to believe that you have to be properly introduced before you can have a conversation but mostly it works. Today we ranged through dog training (if you get a rescue dog it might take you a little longer), the public transport system (still inadequate in our neck of the woods), the closing of railway lines by Beeching (if the local line had been kept open it would now be very useful to commuters whereas now it’s a very nice, if muddy, bridle path), through parking problems (connect to comments about public transport and closed railway lines) and on to the construction of a new school to house the local secondary age kids (the current one if in a decrepit state but there is some local opposition to the site chosen for the new building). 

As you can see we had a fairly long wait for the bus. We concluded, in good English fashion, by agreeing that the stormy, rainy weather has gone on for far too long. I am fairly sure that my friends in Galicia feel the same way. So here, to cheer us all up is a link to a short film made two “vigueses” living in Madrid. It’s called “Cíes en dos minutos y medio” and was made with the collaboration of the Parque Nacional Illas Atlánticas and a company called Lowcos Producciones. That’s another example of an English expression, “low cost”, being highjacked into Spanish. 

Anyway, two and a half minutes of the Islas Cíes, one of my favourite places ever, is always good. A little reminder of sunny days.

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