Thursday, 25 July 2019

On celebrating saints’ days and coping with the heat.

Today, July 25th, is the feast of Saint James, Santiago, patron saint of Galicia.

And so today is el Día de Galicia, Galicia’s National Day. Consequently just about every establishment is closed except for cafes, restaurants and breadshops. Bread and cakes are the order of the day.

Not all cafes remain open though. María who runs one of our favourite cafes-with-wifi told us last night that she will be closed until Monday. She is, as they say here and in Italy, making a bridge. If a día festivo falls on a Thursday many people take Friday off as well, making a long weekend of it. If the bank holiday falls on a Tuesday the bridge is made by taking Monday off.

We avoid that problem in the UK by having all our bank holidays on Mondays. Saints’ days we largely ignore. I am not even sure that we take a day off for Saint George’s day, even though a lot of fuss is made about our patron saint and some people decorate their houses and cars with the flag of Saint George.

Oddly enough Saint George, even though still a dragon slayer seems to have a different day in Sicily from in England. I wonder if he has yet another day in Catalonia and the Balearics.

It was eerily quiet when I went out running first thing this morning. Having said that, our street is never really quiet as it’s a main thoroughfare. Even in the wee small hours there is a constant flow of traffic. Where do they all go at four in the morning? That’s what I would like to know.

Down at street level though it was very quiet indeed, with that stillness that often suggests a storm coming.

And indeed, although not exactly a storm, rain had come by midday, that kind of soft, quiet rain Galicia is good at. It may be Galicia Day but around here Galicia had disappeared under a bank of cloud. Perfect Santiago weather!

My daughter sent me a message yesterday complaining about the heat. It was 28 degrees in Greater Manchester, including even our end of the conurbation, which is almost, indeed formerly was, in Yorkshire!

 Various friends told me about thunderstorms. Many wags have posted comments about the thunder and lightning and the great heat, predicted to be 34 degrees in some parts of the country, signifying the opening of the gates of Hell as Boris Johnson moves into Downing Street and establishes his right wing, very Brexit-favouring cabinet. The protest group that goes under the name of Led by Donkeys projected a message onto the walls of Buckingham Palace: “Your Majesty, your primer minister is a liar!” Newsthump is putting out spoof reports of the queen re-establishing rule by divine right and taking back co trol of her country! Some folk are predicting an imminent general election. We shall see!

As regards the 28 degrees in Manchester yesterday, the newspapers are full of advice on how to keep cool. Here is Zoe Williams on what to eat when it’s hot.  From a different article  I gleaned this gem:-

  “When preparing for bed, others recommended briefly putting your bed sheets and pillows into a plastic bag and placing them in a freezer, as well as freezing cold water in a hot water bottle to cuddle. “That’s a very useful way of trying to keep your bed a little bit cooler for longer, or at least enough time for you to drift off to sleep,” Dr Guy Leschziner, a neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.”

 All well and good, but imagine the energy you then have to put into making your bed before you can lie in it! And yet another article  told us “Buckle in, Britain: it might have been late getting started, but it looks like we’re set for another sweltering summer, with record-breaking highs of 37C forecast for Thursday. By this point, you know the drill: swap the duvet for a sheet (and a shared bed for a single), wear shorts if your employer allows, carry water with you on the train, and get off at the next stop if you’re feeling unwell. The temperature will drop eventually; in the meantime, the spirit is broadly one of keep calm and carry on.”

 That’s the spirit! The place might be in turmoil, the temperature’s soaring, we don’t know what the Dickens is going to happen next but we must not forget that we are British!

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