Friday, 23 April 2010

Paradise Regained

BCM's editor is back in Blighty. The journey took 47 hours, from 4am on Tuesday in Gib, to 3am on Thursday in Kingston-upon-Thames. I won't bore you with too many details but the Spanish travel arrangements went like clockwork while the French ones went wrong from the moment we crossed the border. So it's 'Viva España' when it comes to the much underestimated but highly efficient RENFE railway system but 'zut alors' to France's overrated, incompetent/dishonest SNCF (who took bookings on the Sunday for a Tuesday train that had already been cancelled as the result of strike action). That's no criticism of individual French people who showed us kindness and generosity at various points of the journey. But French officialdom has a lot to answer for. The next time someone makes a joke about 'mañana' to me, I shall suggest they really mean 'demain'.


  1. As it happens, in four years living in Spain I've never heard a Spanish person use the term "mañana" in the sense you mean (and mentioned by Orwell in a memorable passage in the first chapter of Homage To Catalonia). It appears to be exclusively used ironically by expat Brits. However, this doesn't mean the concept no longer applies - it's just that the language has been modernised, so people how say "tranquilo", "poco a poco" and "no te preocupes". Which is a bit like being told "chill" by a stoner who owes you money.

    RENFE are good, though, I agree.

  2. I agree. I lived in Spain from 1975-77 and I never heard "mañana" used 'live' in this sense, though I did hear Spaniards use it once or twice when describing some problem they had suffered from bureaucracy or officialdom.

    I'm glad to hear my good opinion of RENFE corroborated. It didn't have a very good reputation in the 1970s but it has certainly improved by leaps and bounds since then.

    My day spent in Spain confirmed my long affection for the place and people. I would quite like to spend a few more years there at some point.