Thursday, April 24, 2008

 

Back in the UK from Galicia

Our Galician trip was unfortunately tainted by my wife becoming ill, a situation that has got worse on our return and resulted in her being admitted to hospital. Galicia was not however the cause and she is now back home.

Our weather was not too great with 3 very good warm and sunny days and 6 more that were predominantly wet. The previous week had been sunny with temps up to 28 deg C.

A guarantee of good weather is, of course, never available in northern Spain and the reason for the lush green scenery is plenty of water.

What we did not expect was a tornado a few km down the coast followed by 150km/hr winds affecting us the following day. It was the first time that I have been in an apartment block under such conditions and it is not one that I do not wish to repeat. Our Gallego/American friends (sleeping in a penthouse apartment in Port Son) were oblivious to the whole event, but then again they lived in southern Florida for 12 years and saw and heard much worse!

As in May last year, the scenery in this springtime season is covered in yellow broom, yellow gauze bushes and large yellow daisies and is nothing short of spectacular – even when the rain is falling.

Flight wise, Ryanair continued with their excellent record of arriving early and, amazingly, departed from Santiago to Liverpool 20 minutes before the flight schedule.

Also good were the passenger numbers that were higher than at a similar time last year.

The downside was the admission on to the plane of some passengers who were drunk.

The most extreme case (and the most drunk I have ever seen anyone) was a passenger who twice fell on to the floor just metres from the boarding gate – but was still allowed on the plane. I will no doubt elaborate on him and some of the others over the next few days. I was genuinely shocked to see that someone in this state would be allowed onto an international flight. But then again Ryanair actively publicize many of their destinations as stag and hen breaks, so perhaps they simply accept this level of behaviour from the British!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

 

on route to Galicia in 24 hours


Unless I make an entry whilst in Galicia, this will be my last blog for a couple of weeks. This time tomorrow we should be at John Lennon airport awaiting our flight out.

We fly: “Liverpool to Santiago”, tomorrow evening at the newly adjusted (for 2008) departure times. Last year the flights out were early in the morning, so this year we lose a day.

Fortunately friends are picking us up at the airport which, aside from being nice in its own right, gets us out of the problem of reaching Noia after the last Castromil (bus) has departed.

After good weather early on in the year, our forecast for the next few days is none too hot, but that is always the gamble with Galicia, particularly if you want to “chance it” in April! As we have activities other than a standard vacation in the pipeline, we should be fully occupied even if the skies open up - and there is always plenty of family to see.

Monday, April 07, 2008

 

Exchange rate!


Unfortunately, and as I hinted a couple of days ago, the mother of the abducted Dewsbury girl (now safe and in care) has been arrested.

The unfortunate element of this is the mother’s apparent involvement in some way, but it is counterbalanced by the near certainty that the girl will now be fostered in a (hopefully) better family. The end result of these awful events could see her having a chance in life that might, through her previous environment, not otherwise have been available to her.

Friends in Galicia tell me that the last few day’s weather has been very good. Here in the UK we have had rain, hail and snow – not bad for April! I am hoping that the good weather over there can hold out for another 2 weeks.

My next big challenge is how much money to exchange for euros for our forthcoming trip?

With the euros’ exchange rate against Stirling at record lows, this is not an enjoyable prospect and the negative aspect of this currency balance will no doubt cause less Brits to visit Europe and more to visit the USA this year. The rate against the dollar is almost 2 for 1. This is even better than when I first went to the USA in 1982 (as a baby of course).

Saturday, April 05, 2008

 

Galicia, DVD's and world tours!


Starting this week in the UK, on a TV channel called “Film 4”, is a series of showings of an Oscar winning Spanish film made in Galicia and based around Boiro – close to my wife’s home town of Noia.

I started watching it on Thursday (after the rubbish referred to in my last entry), but as it did not finish until 1.00am I gave up and went to bed. I will watch when it is repeated as the theme was an interesting one.

What it did bring to mind however, was the ever increasing DVD collection that my wife’s father (who lives in the UK) has built up recently in his Galician holiday apartment.

Every film in his collection is British and most are war films from the 1950’s to the early 1970’s. An email last week from one of my wife’s Galician cousins included a photo of his latest purchase – a DVD of cult British film Quadrophenia! You can draw your own conclusions as to what all of this means.

Sticking with TV, I was extremely disappointed to turn on a satellite channel earlier this week to see the end credits of “Billy Connolly’s world tour of New Zealand” – and from the final episode.

I had no idea that such a series existed and, with his “world tour of Australia” being one of the best TV series that I have seen, was disappointed to have missed it. For anyone unaware of these “world tour” programs, they primarily feature the places where Connolly performs rather than his actual performances.

With my next door neighbours to both the left and the right (they are family related) having just got back from 4 weeks in Australia, and my next most immediate neighbours and friends about to go to New Zealand, I am very envious of all around right now.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

 

TV program about Galician cuisine!!!!


A second blog in a single day is a rarity for me, but I feel compelled to make a comment about a TV program covering Spanish cooking and this week featuring Galicia - And that after a mere 2 minutes of watching it.

The female moron presenting the programme introduced Galicia as “Green Spain” on the north eastern coast of Spain.

With such astounding factual inaccuracies before the program “proper” has even begun, I have left the living room .

Galicia is of course on the north western coast.

Regrettably, before I had escaped the TV completely, the same idiot also likened octopus in Galicia to Yorkshire pudding in England!

But as she then preceded to hunt for octopus in rock pools, claiming that this was the way it is always done, (which is not the way that it is done!!!!) I finally escaped earshot.

As ever this must be either the daughter of a director, producer or editor of the TV channel or, although it seems unlikely having seen her, someone who is getting scr***d by one of them. This is the only plausible explanation for such utter drivel offered up by a mindless idiot.

Why is it not possible to have presenters who can present with some knowledge, or at least a basic smattering of factual accuracy!!!! Or failing that, why don’t they check out their facts with someone who actually has some knowledge of the area, region, cuisine etc. Is it really that hard to do?

 

Another language


Over recent weeks the saga of the girl who was “abducted” (or even possibly rescued) from a house in Dewsbury (Leeds area, UK) has filled British TV and newspaper columns.

In the latest development, it now appears that her 22 year old stepfather has child pornography at the house! However, this is not what I am actually writing about.

My observation of this situation is concerned with the indiscernible noise that the family of this girl make every time that they (and most of their neighbours) are interviewed. Is it English or some other language? To me it just a noise with the occasional word thrown in.

I also noticed, as I walked out of our “neighbourhood safe zone” and in to a particularly bad council estate yesterday, that a mother and her two children who were walking in front of me made the same noise.

I realise that these people are speaking English, but their incredible laziness, or alternatively shear ignorance, is such that I simply could not pick out individual words.

This is something that I notice more and more on TV and it is not the result of regional accents, but rather what was called “slanging” when I was at school. It is simply the result of being thick and wanting to advertise the fact.

The sad thing, is that I frequently watch historical documentaries where e.g. the diary of a workhouse employee of over 100 years ago is read aloud. Amazingly, these people were intelligent, literate and articulate. In fact, if I am honest, generally far more so than me.

It clearly shows that blaming the ever increasing number of thugs and morons in the UK on poverty, poor education and general disadvantage is politically correct rubbish (that is actually incorrect). Many of these people wallow in their stupidity and determination to avoid even the most basic levels of education - and at any cost.

Anyway, back to the abducted girl.
She remains in care and, if she can be fostered rather than returned to her “family”, perhaps she may have a chance in life that, but for these awful events, she might otherwise have never got!

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