Thursday, January 05, 2006

Today’s El Mundo reported that Spain’s inflation was running at 2.2%, against an EU average of 3.8%. El Pais had the figures the other way round. On this occasion, I’m confident the latter paper – albeit left-wing – has given us the correct economic data.

Having been adopted by at least one dog a year since I came here, I wasn’t too surprised to read this morning that Galicia ranks second worst in Spain for abandonment of pets. Mind you, in a poor region with lots of cows, pigs and goats there’s probably a lot less sentimentality here than elsewhere. Though I’ve never come across any hanging greyhounds.

Back to the anti-smoking law. It seems the regions have a good deal of latitude as to its implementation. So it is, for example, that Valencia hasn’t yet got round to establishing a team of inspectors to check whether or not the bars and offices are complying. And, strange to relate, the tobacco companies launched a host of cheap brands just before the introduction of the measure. Packets of 20 can be as little as €1.20. Ideal for teenagers and students, they say.

The very good news is that road deaths during the Christmas and New Year period were well down on last year. But I wouldn’t want to give you the impression the festivities are finally over. Tomorrow we have the feast of The Kings, when Spanish kids traditionally receive their presents. Or, nowadays, their second pile of gifts. So tonight will be the 4th big family dinner since 24th December. One wonders how Spanish families manage to remain so close. If they really do.

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