Finches for sale

I’m beginning to suspect that some people come out walking principally for the bizarre drinking opportunities encountered on the way.

This morning we were having coffee, shots and doughnuts in an Andalusian bar in Nou Barris (one of the many variations on the Collserola ridge route) when a ridiculously sleek blue car with XXL wheels drew up outside and a gent with gorgeous black locks came in carrying a couple of small canvas-covered cages.

These proved to contain goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis; the standard RAE term is jilguero, but fanciers often call them colorinas and occasionally colorinos), straight from Córdoba, €40 each, if you please.

This caused consternation in the bar, where it seemed that no one had ever paid more than €10 for a bird, and where considerable doubt was expressed as to the survival chances of novellas, the gypsified Catalan word for birds born this year.

“Stuff you and your fucking canaries,” said the gypsy, “have you never heard an Andalusian finch sing?”

Update: I’m told that nov[e|i]ll@ is used quite generally in Spanish for very young beasts (eg bulls), although this meaning doesn’t seem to have made it through to the RAE. I live and I learn, slowly.

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