Driving between Santiago and the north coast this [Monday] morning, we passed three brothels in the space of ten minutes or so, none of them anywhere near a town. We guessed their clientele are the lorry drivers who use the particular national road. Which doesn't bode well for the establishments, as the part-built A8 motorway will eventually make this route redundant. But I guess the A8 will have exit roads. Quite possibly financed by the brothel owners.
When I first came to Spain twelve years ago, the dream was that the A8 would soon connect the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. It still is the dream. And I fancy it'll take at least another twelve years for it to be realised. A toss-up, then, between the A8 and the AVE high-speed train as to which can get to Galicia first, whole and entire. To be fair I should say that the completion of more and more A8 segments makes the journey from Pontevedra to Santander progressively shorter. Today it was down to five and a quarter hours, compared with more than six the last time I did it. That said, it was May Day, with little traffic on the roads.
Private Eye magazine's December edition has this gem of an exchange during a TV quiz program:-
What is a chaffinch?
It's a measurement.
As you may have guessed, I'm using the long ferry crossing to catch up on back-numbers of the magazines delivered to my home in Spain. So, now, back to the serious stuff . . . Here and here are two fascinating Prospect articles on those who emerged the winners from the global meltdown - the banking industry. They were published last September, so a couple of comments are now misplaced.
And here are two interesting facts from the same magazine:
- France has almost 30,000 roundabouts(circles), more than any other country in the world [Though Spain must be catching up fast.]
- A British member of Parliament from the last election is four times more likely to be inprison than the average Briton. [Though I suspect it's a higher ratio in Spain.]
And if I wasn't determined to stay out of depression, this news might well have driven me into it:- The 'Daily Mail' website is approaching 80m monthly users and might soon overtake 'The New York Times' as the world's most popular newspaper website. O tempora. O mores.
The German Question: An independent and powerful Germany has to be be fitted into Europe. We are still going round the German problem. British historian A J P Taylor, writing in 1960 in The Origins of the Second World War. Can we really say we've solved this problem in the last 52 years? It was, of course, the primary purpose of the creation of the EU that Germany be constrained in a peaceful and acceptable-to-the Germans manner. And I guess the problems we're now having prove how dangerous it is to prioritise politics over economics on a grand scale.
Incidentally, if you want to see how dishonestly the EC/EU was created and developed, get hold of Christopher Booker's The Great Deception. If you live near me, you can borrow my copy. As I've said before - and will doubtless say again - I wonder whether the stitching isn't now coming apart. When there's no one with the ability to re-stitch it.
But anyway . . . Search engines direct a variety of readers to my blog - particularly when, as today, I mention brothels. I rather liked this one yesterday, as it displays an unusual perspective:- why are Galicians all pyromaniacs?
Finally . . . Searching idly through my computer, I fell upon this bit of doggerel. No idea where I got it from but it's a nice version of the famous Rudyard Kipling peroration If.
If you can always be cheerful
If you can sleep without drugs
If you can start the day without caffeine
If you can take blame without resentment
If you can resist complaining
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it
If you can understand it if your loved ones are too busy to give you time
And if you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong.
Then, my friend, you will be almost as good as your dog.