Sunday, 7 August 2016

Fireworks, heat, rules and outdoor activities!

We had fireworks last night. Well, not us personally. At around midnight we started to hear explosions and there they were, huge fireworks going off a bit further inland the estuary. We guessed it might be Redondela or somewhere between Teis and there. It was a fine display. An awful lot of money went up in smoke. Who pays for such displays, I wonder. Is there a local committee, rather like the "Light Up Delph" committee that exists at home to organise the Christmas lights in our village centre? Do they go round collecting money from the local residents? Do schoolgirls go round knocking on doors, the way they do in our block of flats when they want money for the end of term party, the "fiesta de fin de cursos"? Or when the local council is allocated a budget, is there a special section dedicated to fiesta fireworks? Whatever the source, for a country with financial problems, it seems to me that an inordinate amount of money goes on this sort of thing at this time of year. 

This morning when I was out for a run - the only time of day when you can run given the heat - I noticed that the temperature gauge at the bottom of the street was already registering 27 degrees at nine o' clock. 27!!!! Granted the gauge is in the sun but it was in the sun on other mornings when it showed 19, 20, 21 degrees. 

So by the end of the morning I was in the pool, while it was still empty enough for a good long swim and while there was still shade to sit in post-dip. Definitely too hot to sit in the sun for more than a few seconds! 

Our block of flats, like most places here, has a sort of residents' committee who oversee the employment of cleaners, pool technicians and general maintenance checks. They should have such things in England but I can't say I have ever lived anywhere with such an organisation. A couple of years ago the committee set up a system of residents' cards for use of the pool. Outsiders had been getting in and using the pool - shock! horror! And so, for a while, there was someone checking that you had your little "Acceso a la piscina" card when you went down. I still have the crumpled blue card but nobody has asked for it this year, or last for that matter. 

However, there are still the printed sets of rules: Normas del Uso de la Piscina. They are on the noticeboard on the ground floor, on the door to the garden and, in laminated form, by the shower at the side of the pool. They remind you how many guests residents can take to the pool, that children under ten must be accompanied by an adult (presumably eleven-year-old non-swimmers can drown with impunity!) and that drinking, eating and smoking are not permitted in the pool zone. It also tells you that you cannot use inflatables in the pool, or beachballs, or water pistols, or indeed anything that can get in the way of other swimmers. 

So yesterday when I went down to the pool I saw a couple, probably in their late twenties, floating around in the water on a sort of double inflatable ring, with inflated pillows for their heads. They looked really comfortable! Blatant disregard for the "Normas del Uso de la Piscina" but the pool was pretty much empty and neither I nor the other people there objected in the least. There was plenty of room to swim round them.

Score one for pool users against the pool police! 

I am uncertain whether Pokémon Go has reached Spain yet. It almost certainly has. The other day I looked down from our balcony and saw four young people walking along staring intently at their phones. I suspect they might have been seeking Pokémons out and about. 

I read an article the other day about someone who crashed his car while playing the game. This was a young man of 28! Quite old enough to know better. Here is his justification for playing the game: 

"When I was about 12, I got the original Pokémon Yellow game on my Gameboy. My friends and I used to play it on the bus on our way to school. It was a big part of my life, so I was excited about Pokémon Go: it’s a big development in location-based and mobile gaming. I downloaded the app, and when my mother and I went on a road trip to a family get-together, I spent a lot of the journey getting to know the game. 

For a lot of people around my age (I’m 28) it reminds us of our childhood. Plus there’s the cool stuff, such as the characters you’re looking to catch being brought into the real world, and outdoor elements: to collect the water-type creatures you have to be by water, and you’ll find rock types near mountains. There’s the social experience, too, of meeting other players who are out looking for the same creatures." 

So it's a bit like birdwatching (the old-fashioned form of tweeting, or it is twitching?) or trainspotting. Here's a link to the article.

Never having played the original Pokémon, I have not got into Pokémon Go either. Another bit of modern life is passing me by!

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