Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I’ve often expressed admiration for the obituaries in the Spanish newspapers. Not so much for their content as for their international range. Today, though, El Pais excelled itself, with an obituary to Humphrey, the cat that lived at 10 Downing Street for many years. Perhaps it’s a prelude to the ever-imminent political demise of Mr Blair.

The Spanish government last year reformed matrimonial law so as to make it much easier and quicker to get a divorce. In the second half of 2005, these rose by around 80% compared with the previous year. My guess is the majority of these were initiated by women. Possibly the same ones who complain of an unsatisfactory sex life in the surveys we’re regularly treated to.

One of the problems of there being 17 Autonomous Communities is 17 different tax regimes, at least in respect of gift and inheritance taxes. It may not matter much to you but, as far as your heirs are concerned, the best place to shuffle off this mortal coil is Madrid, where rates are very low. And, sadly, one of the worst turns out to be Galicia. I must move.

Which reminds me, I’m regularly amused by the coyness of Liverpool Victoria’s TV ads for its life insurance policy. These assiduously skirt round the word ‘death’, preferring such phrases as ‘whatever may happen tomorrow’ and ‘when you are no longer around’. But who knows, perhaps even the Catholic Church these days prefers such pieties as ‘Pray for us now and at the hour of our no longer being around.’

A woman in Badajoz is very upset because she found a dead mouse in a packet of Doritos and hasn’t had a response to her letter of complaint in 3 months. I suspect this is because she failed to send a fax of the mouse’s identity card, so there’s no proof of its existence. Or the company’s Consumer Relations department is now run by an ex-director of a bank. Specifically the BBVA.

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