In our tour of white Andalucian pueblos, we arrived yesterday afternoon in Medina Sidonia, the bailiwick of the unhappy chap who led the Armada against England in 1588. The weather was as grey and as damp as anything in Galicia. But I set off for the Roman Road with hope in my heart, only to have it dashed when I found the place closed. But the Roman Sewers - and accompanying museum - were open and after I'd enjoyed these, as it were, I was taken to see said Roman Road. And given a talk in Andaluz that I could scarcely understand. I said No to the offer of a bit of Roman road. Or I think that's what I declined. It could easily have been an invitation to the town's brothel.
On the sewers site, some genius had put perspex on top of them and then installed a light above that. You can probably imagine the result. Plenty of glossy perspex but little insight into the sewers. Perhaps I should have been grateful.
It's been a while since I watched Spanish TV so I wasn't aware of the latest developments in intrusive advertising. One of these was that after the weather-girl on Cuatro had finished, she launched into a spiel on behalf of ING bank. Not for them mere sponsorship.
More seriously, 2 of Spain's regional 'barons' have come out against the abortion bill. Both are from the governing PP party and, tellingly, they rule the poorer regions of Extremadura and Galicia. The PSOE president of Andalucia - another poor region - has also expressed reservations. These three seem to be rather more in touch with their electorate than the Madrid Mandarins and their Opus Dei counsellors. The Opposition has demanded that the government allows the Spanish equivalent of the UK parliament's free vote - a secret vote. Meanwhile, they'd like a couple of Ministers to answer a few questions about the bill. The government has dismissed these as, err, premature. Incidentally, you have to ask why a free vote has to be secret, though the answer seems pretty clear.
Finally . . . Sticking my head out and my tongue in my cheek, here are :
My predictions for Spain for 2014:
- The deficit target won't be achieved.
- The growth forecast won't be achieved
- The governing PP party won't do well in the EU elections, as if they matter.
- The abortion bill won't be passed. At least not in its current form. And the PP party will tie itself in knots over it.
- Unemployment will reduce but only fractionally.
- After a record year, tourism receipts will rise again.
- Exports will continue to do well.
- The property market will remain in the doldrums, with signs of movement in the second half of the year.
- Spain won't win the 2014 World Cup.
- Spain won't get any less noisy.
I may add a few more tomorrow.