Friday, February 24, 2006

I’ve no idea how things will end around the takeover of the Spanish utilities company, Endesa. My confusion stems mainly from the contradictory statements of the President, Mr Zapatero. First we were told markets are important but not as much as Spanish citizens. Then we were assured the government was determined to ensure Spain has a major international player [Endesa?] as big as the German predator, Eon. Now, he’s said the government will introduce measures to ensure Endesa is weakened in the Spanish market so that it is less attractive to potential purchasers. It will be interesting to see how all this pans out but I suspect the one thing certain it that, despite Brussels' instructions to the contrary, the Spanish government will move heaven and earth to stop a foreign takeover. After all, France has shown the way by ignoring EU laws and regulations in this area for years. And in others, of course. Only today I read it has declined to pay the fines imposed for its illegal bans on British beef. Plus ca change.

The relevant government department is demanding gaol sentences for drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 60kph. Or 38mph. For example, doing 68mph in a 30mph zone. Or 113mph on an autopista. A columnist in one of our local papers today wrote that there would be only a thin line between many thousands of Spanish motorists and a spell behind bars. He added this contrasted with Germany, where you can drive at any speed you like on the autobahns. Naturally, though, he didn’t comment on any differences in driving behaviour. So I am left wondering whether Germans also like to drive within centimetres of your exhaust pipe with their headlights and indicator on.

I see the UK is experiencing a drought and water restrictions are already forecast for next summer. I’m a tad confused about this as, surely, global warming was supposed to give us warmer and wetter winters.

I took one of my periodic looks at the back 4 pages of the major local paper yesterday. Regular readers will know these comprise the little-left-to-the imagination ads for ‘alternative leisure’ activities. The C de E tells us it now has a new name [just ‘La Casita’], new management, new girls and a new ambience. Its feature du jour is ‘The Fiesta of the Hot Bikini’ but what really impresses me are the fine details such as ‘Right next to the station’, ‘Open Sundays’ and ‘Free parking for long-stay clients’.

My daughter in Madrid tells me of this sign in a bar there:- ‘You are allowed to smoke here and may God’s will determine the consequences.’ So, stuff your non-celestial neighbour.

And an anonymous reader has commented [in Spanish] that I am a ‘boozer and a sight’. I initially assumed this was a disaffected Spanish reader but now wonder whether it was a belated Valentine’s Day message from one of my ex-wives, both of whom are fluent in the language.

No comments: