Out running early this morning I came across swans, not on the River Lérez itself but on the sort of backwater tributary that I assume runs into it. They were busy about their morning ablutions, cleaning up their feet and feathers and such when I first saw them. Clearly someone must feed them because when I stopped for a photo call they glided over expectantly, just like the humble ducks on the canal back at home in Saddleworth. A nice start to the day even though I had nothing to offer them.
Also out and about, I saw a couple of ladies with plastic carrier bags full of "grelos", usually translated as turnip tops although I prefer to simply call them greens. I reflected to myself that they had been out shopping quite early when I spotted where they had bought their "grelos". Just beyond the roundabout a group of people had set up a kind of mini roadside market, apparently selling "grelos" and other home-grown produce. Now, that's a sight you don't see close to the town centre in the UK.
This next is a little something for my friend Colin. Seen in a cartoon in El País yesterday:
"vacancy for a parent-slapper, in other words someone who slaps parents who let their children scream and shout in restaurants." Are the Spanish getting less tolerant of children in restaurants then? On the whole, I think not. Maybe this is the case in restaurants in the centre of Madrid but in most places no-one minds what kids get up to in restaurants. It's interesting to note that the cartoon wants someone to slap the parents, not the child. I have yet to see anyone giving a child a slap in the supermarket. And you do see that in the UK.
And now, bread. The restaurant of our hotel charges €1 for bread if you have it with tapas. It comes as standard with the menú del día though.
The other night they were run ragged because they had so many customers. We only wanted a little something - in this case, " revuelto de setas y gambas" which is basically scrambled eggs with mushrooms and prawns, a really good dish to fill a small hole without you feeling overfed - and they kept coming and apologising for the slow service. Diego, one of the waiters, commented, " es que la cocina está ... " leaving us to fill in an adjective to describe the state of the kitchen.
At one point, one of the staff had a bit of a hissy fit because they had run out of bread - "¿¡NO HAY PAN?! ¡Imposible! Siempre hay pan." It's a bit like a pub running out of beer.
Maybe we should all stop eating bread to try to combat the obesity epidemic which I keep reading about in both English and Spanish newspapers. Not to mention sights I see on the streets in both these countries. Here is an extract from an article I found somewhere or other:
"Britain's last dedicated deckchair manufacturer is making seats an inch wider to accommodate the broader bottom. As well as making their single-seaters 23 inches wide, Southsea Deckchairs report more people buying their Wideboy range, originally devised for two persons, for single use."
What more can I say?