Sunday, August 20, 2006

Spain recently introduced a points-based driving licence system. Usually this means offences lead to negative points on your licence but the Spanish version is the other way round. You start with 12 positive points and progressively lose them until your licence is suspended. You can ‘earn’ them back but now comes news that, if you don’t want to do this, you can do a swap to get them back. Though not legally of course. This works best, I’m told, when you have a family member who has a licence but doesn’t do much driving. You get them to appear in court and claim they, not you, were driving the offending car. Thus, you preserve your points and they lose some of theirs. Another option is to do business with an obliging stranger, at 400 euros a point. If you want to see how this works, Google carnet puntos comprar. Initially, I wondered whether this could only done with a positive-points-based system but I guess you could arrange the same perjury and perversion of justice under the usual system as well. Nice to think people are happy to profit from allowing some maniac to stay on the road.

I have my own noise-related vignette today . . . Despite the fact I was wearing my customary earplugs, I was woken at 5am this morning by a persistent, machine-based beat arising from the town centre, at least a kilometre away. Possibly something related to garage, house or hip-hop music. Whatever they are. Mercifully, it stopped at 5.15. What fun this must have been for anyone over 25 in the town trying to get to sleep. Perhaps they all go away for the weekend.

But the fiesta brought compensations tonight on the streets of Pontevedra’s wonderful old quarter. These included a delightful dancing troupe from Russia and, before that, the world’s loudest peripatetic drum band and a frenetic, trilby-hatted octet that was possibly a gypsy combo. But not from Andalucia.

Fire facts

The secretary of the Galician Community of the Mountains has voiced what we all have long thought – there are too many bloody eucalyptus trees here

In sympathy with this view, the Xunta has announced no more will be planted and subsidies will no longer be given for their cultivation

80 per cent of Pontevedra’s pastoral farms are believed to have been hit by the fires

5,000 people have said to have volunteered to assist in reparation work

After 12m the shoots are 12in/30cm tall but still black
After 5 years the bushes and small trees begin to lose their blackness
Between 10 and 25 years the burnt wood disappears and the forests retrieve their original colour

Tune in tomorrow for pictures of what an oak and a eucalyptus each look like after 5 years’ growth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The news about the selling of driving license points originated as a sarcastic joke in an internet forum that the press took too seriously. Now seems many people liked the idea but it still isn't clear whether it's posible to sell the license points and probably nobody has actually done it yet.