Monday, January 23, 2006

Magic places and nation states

My mates have been looking for a place to buy in Spain, and they visited somewhere at the weeknd. I was giving them some thoughts on the photos and description when these thoughts came up ...

It sounds like an incredible place, similar to this area in some ways. The generation gap is certainly a feature as people left to find work in Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand, keeping their parents' and grandparents' houses as they have passed on, and using them for holidays. I think the repopulation here is about 10 years ahead of Eljas though.

There's something magic about these places, and the village sounds fantastic; a link to the past, and to a pre-Nation State diversity that Spain certainly has, and maybe France has hidden for a while. I mean by that the cultural and linguistic diversity within a country's borders. We have grown up with this idea that our countries are monolithic, because that's how they are presented. But during the WWII period for large parts of the world, and continuously since then in 'pockets' it seems, (Yugoslavia for example) the indivisibility of the nation state as we have accepted it is not so obvious. Countries that can find a balance between the advantages of strong countries, (don't ask me what they are!) and the cultural diversity and local accountability of regionalism or federalism seem to me to have something special. Spain, Germany and the UK since devolution for example. And almost despite itself, France to some extent too.

It's another fascinating field of thought; I could live forever and still not have the time ...

Especially now, since I'm packing for another sojourn in Britain starting tomorrow for about ten days. The other half of my home and away lifestyle is about to kick in, and the build up always has an undercurrent of anxiety about it. Nothing serious you understand, but it builds. And my li'l lamb asks me why I have to go, and asks me not to. That's the hardest bit. So light posting, if any, until 5th February!

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