Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
Christians versus Moslems - again
Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with holiday stories. Actually do worry, that was another lie.
Anyone ever been to the converted mosque in Cordoba? H.I. wandered around the 800 and something pillars which delineate the absolutely vast area of the interior, constantly moaning about how they should rip out all the early Christian infills which blight the place, then give it back to any Moslems who happen to live in the area.
She had a point, but refused to see that you cannot just eradicate a part of it's history and go back to the the original concept, no matter how incongruous or ugly the additions are. She came round a corner (a rococo corner) to find me in a huge area which was packed to the vaulted ceiling with gold and silver candlesticks and urns of a highly Catholic nature and - with a sigh of derision - turned around and went back into the dimly-lit hall of a highly Moslem nature.
The centre of this room was dominated by the biggest reliquary I have ever seen, and I now wish I had taken a photo of it, but she put me off. The enormous ormolu edifice was literally about 15 feet high and tiered like a wedding cake from the Vatican, with gilt animals all over the place, and cherubs cavorting amongst the golden foliage.
Toward the top, the actual relic was housed in a crystal tube about a foot high, also encased in gold and silver. Because the object inside it was too small to be seen, I guess it must have been a human hair from a Saint or something equally minuscule. I looked very hard, but still could not see it. This is what I love about those Catholic reliquaries - all that pomp for something which we would normally complain about if we found it floating around in our bowl of gazpacho in a restaurant outside.
I was in one of these restaurants - well, actually outside at a table - when a German tourist began to complain about my cigarette smoke which drifted through the 40 degree heat, by wafting his hand in front of his face in a somewhat childish way.
I tried to indicate that the breeze was really going in the opposite way from his table, and made the time-honoured wind-direction test by licking one finger and holding up in the air.
He must have thought that this was an obscene gesture made for his benefit, because he got up and started hitting me before a waiter dragged him off.
Oh, alright, that bit was a lie, but it was one of the fantasy scenarios that went through my head a couple of times when seated amongst anti-smokers in a country which smokes from the age of about 14 onwards.
I believe that the age of consent is still 14 in Spain too, which may explain the rather un-flattering, skin-tight, Day-Glo shorts that are worn by all females between 12 and 30, as if they had been sprayed on with paint just above the arse cheeks. It was hell.