Saturday, October 01, 2005

Our weather in September was spectacular, with a great deal of sun and very little rain. The dark side of this, of course, is that Spain’s drought situation has worsened and water restrictions are now in place throughout much of the country. Perhaps not up in the north east, where [as in neighbouring France] the weather has become rather more unstable and stormy than it used to be. God’s punishment for secessionist endeavours?

And speaking of the north east, Catalunian politicians have said they know their new Statute will be rejected by the government but don’t care. They are hell bent on being the first state in a truly federal Spain. In this battle labels are, of course, important and government ministers and judges have said Catalunia can’t be a state as this is reserved to Spain under the 1979 Constitution. I have the perfect solution to this. In Spanish, ‘state’ is one of a bizarre group of words [such as ‘Army’] which merit a capital letter. So, why not have Spain as the ‘Estado’ and Catalunia as an ‘estado’? Or, if you don’t like this, why not take advantage of the wonderful diminutive suffixes of Spanish? So, Spain could be the ‘Estado’ and Catalunia an ‘Estadito’. Of course, Galicia [already parroting federalist aspirations] would have to use the Gallego form and be an ‘Estadíño´. Or maybe just an '‘Estadín". Sorted!

In an editorial yesterday, El Pais referred to the underlying problems of the rapidly growing Spanish economy and fingered, as one factor, the lack of competition in the supply of basic services and commodities. Bang on cue, I received my latest bill from the water company I’m compelled to use, in which I saw both the fixed and variable prices had risen way above the [high enough] level of inflation. What an easy way to make money. I suppose we could call it ‘the Telefonica strategy’.

In Spain Old English Sheepdogs are called ‘Bobtails’, pronounced ‘bob-tie-eels’. When I saw one in a shop yesterday, I commented to the owner she had a nice Old English Sheepdog. “Yes’ she replied rather indignantly, “But he’s not old!”

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