Thursday, September 02, 2010

No ifs, no butts..... please

A pretty disgusting picture, which to be honest, turns my stomach - I have never smoked in my life, nor do I ever wish to. Thankfully I have never understood the need.

So why have I turned to cigarettes today? Well, actually, I haven't, but our local government and police have, and believe it or not it is related to the weather. Having experienced virtually zero rainfall for the last two or three months, it is not only our vineyards that are dry, but it is also our local forests and vegetation that are suffering too. This of course equates to an acute fire risk, such as those we experienced in 2006. Indeed, only about 60 or 70 kilometers south of here, just across the Miño river in Northern Portugal, severe forest fires have now been raging for some time.

Therefore, one of the precautions taken by the authorities is to remind motorists, using the matrix signs on our motorways, that disgarding cigarette butts (or is it cigarette ends?) from your car window can lead to a penalty of four points on your driving licence if you are caught - and in this case points do not lead to prizes!

Following on with my drought theme, if you look carefully at this photo you might think that the lady in the white uniform is watering some plants..... not so, she is washing the ground. This is a daily ritual, come rain or shine, whereby two ladies with hosepipes spend about half an hour washing the entrance and pavement area outside a local hotel (which I will not name simply because this is not the point of my story). There does not appear to be any such thing as a 'hosepipe ban' over here in Spain, and in this way the Spanish appear to be neither considerate nor concerned when it comes to the waste of water.

It was only a day or two ago that Angela's uncle Fernando (a local plumber), was telling us that his most frequent call-out at the moment is from consumers who rely on underground wells to draw their water..... the wells are starting to dry up, and so we have to assume that the situation must be pretty serious in some places.

Just as a footnote, I have always rather suspected that the Spanish may suffer a little from what I call "escobaphobia" - a morbid fear of brushes or brushing. The reason I say this is that if they see a few leaves or a bit of dirt on the ground, their automatic reaction is to reach for the hosepipe rather than simply taking out a brush - as I mentioned before , a serious mis-use of water in my opinion.

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