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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 20 November 2020
20 November 2020 @ 11:03

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'*  

Living La Vida Loca in Galicia/Spain

I've admitted to confusion re plans to stop Castellano being the 'vehicular language' for education. Today's Times has an article (behind a paywall) which begins thus: A law scrapping Spanish as the common language in schools prompted uproar in parliament as critics called it a blow against the culture of Cervantes. The reform passed yesterday was part of an education bill introduced by the left-wing coalition. It was included as a sop to Catalan separatists who help the Socialists to remain in power.  The bill has proved divisive as many view Spanish as a national heritage. The end of its official status in schools is seen as ceding ground to separatists. The government is depending on Catalan and Basque separatists to pass a budget that is crucial to its survival before the end of the year. I imagine there'll be more fireworks quite soon. Possibly more than the would be in, say, Wales if something similar were done there.

Optimism re the Spanish economy. Something in short supply right now.

Every year I look at the marks required - via the Selectividad exam - for courses in Galicia's universities. And every year I shake my head in amazement that the marks demanded for several subjects are higher than those for medicine and dentistry. And that a nursing course demands higher marks than those for courses regarded as more difficult/important in the Anglo world. For example:-

Santiago

- Maths + Physics: 97% 

- IT + Maths: 95%

- Medicine: 91%

- Dentistry: 86%

- Nursing: 78%

- Psychology: 74%

La Coruña

- Business Admin + Law: 80%

- Physiotherapy: 80%

- Nursing: 78%

Pontevedra

- Physiotherapy: 76%

- Nursing: 76%

Vigo

- Biomedical engineering: 82%

- Nursing: 78%

- Business Admin + Law: 76%

As usual, the mark for a simple Law course is among the lowest. I must check with my doctor neighbour, Amparo, if it's true that Spain has some of the cleverest nurses in the world. And some of the thickest lawyers. If so, no wonder the latter have a status here far below that of notaries and registrars. Who are boring but very bright indeed. Maybe France is the same.

María's Riding the Wave - Day 5 

Spanish 

Una coscorrón: A tap/bop/little rap on the head. But also a 'noogie', which is said to mean - in the USA - 'A hard poke or grind with the knuckles, especially on a person's head’. You live and learn.

However you translate it, you can't get away with giving your child one. Not in Pontevedra's main shopping street anyway. You’ll be 'denounced’ and fined. 

Finally . . .

I enjoyed seeing Fred Astaire and Judy Garland - 2 geniuses - in Easter Parade on BBC last night. They certainly don't make films like that any more. As someone wrote: Easter Parade features two of the best known entertainers in movie history, glorious music, fresh Technicolor and amazing dance routines. Prepare to be entertained and amazed! There is no other way to describe the creative, fun and bedazzling colour, costumes and dances. See here for one of the numbers. Time to remind ourselves of the appraisal of Astaire at his first audition. Can't act. Slightly bald. But can dance a little. He didn't get the part. A Decca moment, then.

P. S. Here's my favourite Fred Astaire performance, with the astonishing Rita Hayworth. Una peliroja, by the way.

 

* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.



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