Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Man With A Horse

Mary said: 'I stayed at the same hotel a few years ago. I seem to remember that there is a rather wonderful sculpture in the town, but memory fuzzy, someone on a horse I think?'

It turns out there are a lot of sculptures in the town, including a massively ambitious effort depicting The Meeting Of The Old World And The New World, but the only Man/Horse (indeed Man/Horse/Pigeon) combo we've seen so far is this one, which is, let's say, a *non-traditional* equestrian statue of Alfonso IX apparently granting a royal charter to the town of Baiona:

Note that even though Alfonso reigned in the 13th century, he was very fashion-forward, in his belted smock dress, leggings and Ugg boots. I fully expect to see Sienna Miller wearing a crown with a live pigeon on it to Glastonbury next year.

But I wouldn't be surprised if this were not the same statue as Mary saw, because Mr BC and I have been heroically unadventurous on this holiday, opting instead to spend most of the time indoors with the curtains drawn; he writing sketches about dentists, and I reading the local papers.

Even with my shaky knowledge of Spanish (exacerbated by the fact that the paper seems to oscillate at random between Castilian Spanish and the local dialect Gallego) I can tell that El Correo Gallego's worldview isn't dissimilar to that of the Daily Mail. Tuesday's lead story is about a group of villagers who have clubbed together to buy a flat in order to prevent gypsies from buying it, moving in, and turning the kiddies' playground into a drug emporium. "We're not racists," a local resident is reported as saying. "We just don't want gypsies here."

Later, an entire page is devoted to the tale of an abandoned dog and the apparent refusal of 'the authorities' to do anything about it. The Correo's intrepid reporter hies himself to the scene, accompanied by a photographer, to discover the dog in situ. Intrepidly, he phones the council himself, only to be told that the dog man is out, the dog van is at the garage having its brakes repaired, and that he should call back later. He intrepidly calls back later, to be greeted with an answerphone message informing him that the office is now closed, whereupon he goes home.

I think things have gone a bit quiet round here since the days of Columbus and Pinzon.

The Meeting Of The Old World And The New World: not the sort of thing that happens a lot these days.


mary said...

Yes, yes, yes, that is my man with a horse!
I loved it, and I remember the other sculpture too.
Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

The horse looks worn out from carrying such a huge man. Also, are Ugg boots appropriate for riding? Wouldn't something with a heel be more suitable?

Sylvia said...

Hmm, spending your time indoors reading the local paper? a likely story.......

What is it about these local papers? When I'm in Italy, I always read La Provincia di Como, which makes the Daily Mail look like The Socialist Worker! I sometimes read a piece, think I haven't read it properly, then read it again only to see I did understand it perfectly well in the first place! The most amazing was a piece on the local basketball teams's new recruit. 2 pages on the fact that he wasn't black like all his predecessors(I know, I haven't spelt that properly)!
Then there are the lighter pieces on the cow that escaped and was on the loose in some woods. Alas I left before that ended.

Lynn said...

why do you write a blog?

patroclus said...

Lynn: Your question has given me the existential fear. I'm going to go and have some tapas now and fret about it.

Billy said...

""We're not racists," a local resident is reported as saying. "We just don't want gypsies here"

It's nice to know we're not the only country with idiots like that.

BiB said...

Sylvia, you have spelt it correctly. Though I can never remember if spelt is spelt spelt or spelled spelled.

Pats, staying on the language theme, a Galician I knew in London insisted Gallego was Portuguese. Can't remember if I believed him or not. Can you confirm or deny?

devolutionary said...

I think it depends on where you are in the world. Spelled is spelt spelled if you're in the New World, or spelled spelt or spelled if you're in the Old. While whilst is only ever whilst while on the right side of the Atlantic, needless to write.

MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS, by the way, Patroclus.

patroclus said...

Mary: I'm glad it was that one. It's quite a distinctive statue, with the horse all bowed and Alfonso looking all disgusted for some reason.

Anon: Probably, but maybe heels just weren't in for A/W 1201-1202.

Sylvia: I love local papers. I could read stories about cows that had got lost until, er, the cows come home. Local papers have the best headlines as well, possibly none better than Mr BC's friend Evans's favourite: 'Spate Of Wedgings Continues'.

Lynn: I have now written a very long and tedious post in answer to your question.

BiB: Gallego seems very similar to Portuguese, but not exactly Portuguese. Maybe a sort of missing link between the two languages.

Billy: Indeed - I think the Correo Gallego could quite easily have been called The NIMBY Times.

Devolutionary: I used 'spelled' and 'while', as I find 'whilst' a bit wilfully archaic, and people seem to want to use it to pretend they're cleverer than they are. But as I don't know the actual rules, there's a good chance these people are actually cleverer than I am. Also, thanks for the congratulations, although I don't quite know what you're congratulating me for!

DavetheF said...

Sidetracking the theme, I have just found out there is a protocol for the naked-military-leader-on-horse memorials one sees in public spaces: Horse rearing up on back legs -- died in battle. Horse daintily raising one foreleg -- dird in military service. Horse with front legs planted on terra firma -- died in retirement.

Not a lot of people know that.