Thursday, December 23, 2004

Regular readers will know that I’m ever so slightly obsessive about the Spanish making no allowance for the fact that there are others on the same pavement as them. In fact, I’ve concluded that none of them has any peripheral vision or antennae whatsoever. It’s as if man’s struggle for survival in Spain has resulted in the survival of the blindest. Musing yet again on this theme today, I wondered how they ever managed to avoid each other during the obligatory evening paseo. And then my mind flashed back to Calle Real, an old-ish film which involves a great deal of evening perambulation. And I recalled being surprised at how the human traffic kept in parallel lanes, rather like cars. Now I know why.

The winning number in yesterday’s Christmas lottery paid out €390million. Given that the most any punter can get is €2m, I’m not at all sure how this happens but the result is that the winnings are well spread, both in terms of people and locations. Fascinatingly, the winning number was sold in a place in Catalunia which not only provided last year’s winner but also two others in the last decade. An editorial in El Pais today commented on the astronomical odds against this and spoke of the triumph of chance over logic. I’m not entirely sure we weren’t expected to read something between the lines. But perhaps the most interesting thing about yesterday’s draw is that the organisers issued a list of winners that was wrong. Oh dear.

Spain has come late to campaigns against drunken drivers so it’s not too surprising that the law is still being developed. The Constitutional Court has found for a man who was prosecuted for being three times over the legal limit. They took the view that one has to be more than four times over the limit for this alone to be incontrovertible proof that an offence has been committed. This is equivalent to 4 glasses of wine. Below this, the police have to obtain evidence that ‘one’s capacity to drive has actually been affected’. I guess the case law will develop along the lines of standing one one’s leg and or reciting the alphabet backwards. In other words, just the sort of thing that the breathalyser was supposed to dispense with. But that’s Spain.

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