Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Spanish supreme court yesterday quashed the conviction of a driver who’d been prosecuted for being almost 5 times over the alcohol limit. Hard as it is to believe, the grounds were that the police had failed to determine whether this actually impaired his driving capability. The relevant minister says changes under an imminent new law will close this loophole. Not before time, one would have thought.

I’ve been known to mention that Spain is a noisy place but I wonder whether I’m just unlucky. I know it’s too much to expect people to quieten down here before one in the morning but, in a Santiago hotel room last night, I was jolted out my sleep at 2am by a man repeatedly breaking wind in the adjacent bathroom. I was then kept awake while - midst occasional hawking and spitting - he took a shower for the next 25 minutes. Possibly he’d just got back from the Dirtiest Man in Spain competition.

I’ve also said the Spanish talk a lot but one forgets just how easy - and pleasurable - it is to chat inconsequentially to people here, where even young women will respond with grace to an uninvited contribution from an ageing stranger. Which is more than can be said for a couple of frosty young ladies in the Immigration queue at Liverpool airport today. But they were Finnish. And presumably prone to the North European view that all men over 30 are latent rapists.

I wonder if plastic explosives can be made to look like wax earplugs. Why? Because the latter don’t figure amongst the objects you’re forbidden to take in your hand luggage when flying. At least, not from Spain. The UK test will come in a couple of weeks’ time.

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