Monday, March 13, 2006

Another allegation today about irregularities in the investigation into the Madrid bombings of 2 years ago. This time the suggestion is that a backpack loaded with unexploded explosives was not, as the police claimed, found on one of the trains just after the explosions but was placed there later. Curiouser and curiouser.

After buying a small battery today – and chatting about Liverpool and London in the process - I was offered a free gift by the shopkeeper. As this was a cigarette lighter, I smiled and told him I didn’t smoke. As soon as I’d said it, I realised this was the wrong thing to have done. He was doing me the honour of establishing a ‘personal’ connection - something of paramount importance in Spain - and I had insulted him. He drove the point home with a terse comment that it didn’t matter I wasn’t a smoker; the offer was ‘symbolic’. And I’d thought it was simply because he’d charged me 50% more than last time.

Well, regular readers won’t be surprised to hear the superfluous indents in the verges at the accident-waiting-to-happen are already being used in exactly the way I expected – as illegal parking spaces. Needless to say, this does nothing to ease the flow of traffic through the roundabout but nobody seems to care, least of all the police. I suppose things will change when it becomes possible to easily sue someone here after an accident. But then we’ll have a far worse problem – a plague of lawyers.

I see Spain’s Fernando Alonso won the first F1 race of the season in Bahrain because he was one second faster than Schumacher getting out of the pits. When the drivers are defying death at such high speeds, can there be anything more ridiculous than reports that their mechanics are pumping iron so as to increase the speed at which they can then pump gas and fit tyres? If the cars and drivers are so equal, why not remove them from the equation and confine the event to activities in the pit lane? It couldn’t make it less exciting.

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