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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: 1 January 2021
01 January 2021 @ 11:35

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'*  

Auto de fé. Two mistakes in earlier versions of yesterday's post:-

1. 'Surveillance capital' should have been 'Surveillance capitalism', and

2. 'sashay' should have been 'segue'. Can't imagine what I was thinking of . . .

Sashay: To walk in an ostentatious yet casual manner, typically with exaggerated movements of the hips and shoulders.

Segue: To make a transition without interruption from one activity, topic, scene to another.

Living La Vida Loca in Galicia/Spain 

It's usually a mug's game to make firm predictions but, having seen Pontevedra's centre thronged with festieros/as yesterday, I'd bet my house on a Covid spikein the next 2 months.

'Tis the season of price increases.

There's a 21st century way of completing official forms here in Spain, for things such as your tax returns. It involves getting an electronic signature, through a site called Clave@PIN. I haven't availed myself of this option but my daughter in Madrid has done so, and so has what she requires to do things like apply on line for a Spanish driving licence in place of her British one. Which she did very belatedly last night, just before the deadline. It was only after trying 4 browsers and 2 computers that she got confirmation that she did indeed have a Clave@PIN number. She then filled in a form but was advised that, to complete the process, she'd have to download a special app called something like Autoform. Not being an IT nerd, she found this incomprehensible and gave up - after taking enough screenshots to present face-to-face to El Tráfico some time this new year, whenever she can get an appointment.

Of course, this saga has done nothing to convince me I should get a Clave@PIN. Though maybe it works better for La Hacienda than it does for El Tráfico. I'm just hoping that The Tax Office next June uses the same alternative as last year. In the past, they've had a habit of changing things. Making last-minute submissions even more fraught than usual, as one struggles with the new way of doing things. It was so much easier when you bought the forms, completed them by hand and handed them to your bank to process. Progress.

Spanishness and Spanish British relations. According to the writer of the article below, we need some lessons from Hillary/Hilaría Baldwin. Who's spent the last few days dealing with a huracán of scorn re her alleged Spanishness.

Here's María's Riding The Wave: Day 48  

Spanish

I'm told that the word pendejo in the slang phrase I cited the other day - meaning pubic hair - is really a South American term, not mainland Spanish. Or even more Mexican. The Royal Academy gives these more usual, colloquial, meanings for Spain:-

1. Tonto, estúpido

2. Cobarde, pusilánime.

3. De vida irregular y desordenada.  

And, in Peru: Astuto y taimado

Finally, in Argentina: Muchacho, adolescente.

So, do Spanish speakers call it Zoom or Thoom? I've just beent old Zoom.

Finally . . .

The numerous spam messages I get don't usually raise a smile but this one made me laugh:-

Compared to other girls I am not as skinny. I make up for it  . . .

It should  be compared with other girls, of course

THE ARTICLE

Hola! Here begins our crash course in Spanish culture. And we have a new teacher this morning. Let me introduce you to the expert in this field, Señora Hilaria Baldwin!

Wait, Hilaria Baldwin as in wife of the American actor Alec Baldwin? Celebrity yoga teacher slash social media influencer?

Si si, chicos, we are very lucky we have her in our classo today. 

I can’t believe she has time. She has spent the past few days fighting a social media storm questioning her real background, accent, name and heritage, after spending her adult life presenting as a bicultural Spanish-American, even forgetting the English word for “cucumber” in a cooking show, when in fact she was born and grew up as plain Hillary in Boston. Her “Spanish” identity comes from spending some time there as a child and the fact that her parents retired there.

Exacto. Hilaria may be muchos Hilarios for the entire internet this week, but for British people she has an awful lot to teach. 

Excuse me, I’ve never once adopted an accent. When I go abroad I stay British, in fact, I go 43 times more British than I’ve ever been.

Gracias, my little tortilla, this is the problem. We have about 300,000 British people living in Spain and 18 million going on holiday there in a normal year, and does it kill you to even learn how to say por favor

No need. Baked beans and Tetley teabags in the carry-on, and the Queen Vic pub in Benidorm serves a full English.

This is why we have put Hilaria in charge of Spanish-British relations. From now on, all British visitors will have to add an “o” or an “a” to their names when they arrive at Malaga airport. That includes you Derek-o and Mavis-a. 

Next, after passport control, comes the cultural test in the form of this multiple-choice question: Julio or Enrique Iglesias? Don’t dither, you have to pick one. Finally, anyone still making Fawlty Towers Manuel jokes is sent to the Hilaria Re-Education Camp. 

Because we know nothing?

Si, you gotta at least pretendo some Español**, it’s only polito.

 

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

** Castellano/Católico



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