I went to a funeral tonight, the second since I came here to live. Strangely enough – given how many churches and chapels there are in Pontevedra – it was in the same church. Perhaps it specialises. My friend Jon and I were not sure of the dress code, so put on decent trousers and jackets, though no tie. But we needn't have bothered as the tone was pretty informal. Including shorts in the case of one guy. And jeans in the case of several others. But, anyway, how odd seem the words, gestures and rituals of a faith which no longer has sway over you. Not to say amusing, even. And there was far too much stress on the future in paradise rather than on the achievements of the deceased. So, I took to wondering how a humanist funeral would deal with the need for music and comforting words while eschewing the role of a church or religion. Essentially, I'd like my own funeral to be a celebration of nothing more or less that whatever I've given to people who've known me. Which might make it pretty short.
A little Spanish vignette this evening . . . I was walking to the church at 6.15 when I saw a little girl of about five offering something to a chap about thirty metres in front of me. He declined to take it and walked on. When I reached her, I noticed she was outside a florists and assumed she was handing out some sort of flier. But, no, after I'd taken it from her, I realised it was a guide to the local fiestas and cultural events of the next week. As I walked on myself, I wondered whether I should've given her something for it. But, anyway, walking back to my car just before 10, the little girl was standing in the doorway of the florists. So, I smiled and she smiled back. And then a gust of wind blew off my Panama hat and we both laughed. I picked it up and waved it at her, at which she smiled again. I went on to cross the bridge, feeling rather warm inside.
After yesterday's negative shock of a fine for wearing ear-phones, today I got a positive shock in the mail; less than a week after my making an application here in Pontevedra, the Vigo office of the Social Security has sent me confirmation of my right to use the national health service. Some cynic has suggested they'd do it quickly as they can send the bills on to the British Government, probably at a profit. Who knows? More importantly, will it work when I present myself at the pharmacy with a prescription? More anon.
Talking about the motoring fine . . . I read the ticket today and saw that my names had been entered as:- Surnames: David Colin. Forename: Davies. Which is probably the daftest combination I've yet been given. I wonder if I can appeal on the basis that no such person exists.
A second Spanish vignette today . . . I was talking to the salesman at the Honda showroom today when a couple came in - a man in his forties and a woman of indeterminate age who'd possibly just won a competition for the world's shortest skirt. The salesman continued talking to me for ten minutes or more, by which time the couple had sat down. Then he suddenly asked me if he could deal with them, as he only needed to give them a piece of paper. This he duly did, leaving me wondering why on earth he hadn't done so when they first came in.
It's official – It's been the wettest summer in the UK for a hundred years. Actually, it hasn't been a great one here in the Rias Baixas. But the next two weeks are forecast to be superb. This rather endorses my view that September is the best month to come here – great weather but no tourists. But please keep this to yourselves and tell no one.
Finally . . . Here's someone complaining about high noise levels in the UK. He should live here!