We Anglo Saxons tend to think Spanish families are not only closer but happier than ours. So it was a bit surprising to hear this week that Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the police when it comes to sorting out what are called ‘domestics’ in the UK. And some of my friends have confirmed they’re bored rigid by the lunches they have to attend every Sunday at their mother or mother-in-law’s place. Especially the latter. Things are clearly not as serene as they look.
RENFE is the company which runs Spain’s trains. It does a good job but I’ve occasionally wondered about its grasp of the principles of internet business. I reported a while back that, if you bought a ticket on the web, you nonetheless had to go to a station to get it, after proving your identity. Now they’ve announced they’ll soon be charging you an extra 2.75% for buying a ticket via the net. But monopolies can do this sort of thing, of course.
Spain’s largest cosmetic surgery company is to go into the business of building luxury yachts. Which seems very appropriate to me as it’s all about superstructure.
Talking of transport . . . One of the reasons I left the UK was the parlous state of the transport system there. So the following comments in a UK newspaper touched a chord:- Ten years ago, Labour came to power with great intentions. They promised change and an integrated transport policy. Nine years and eight major transport strategy documents later, things are getting worse not better.. . Britain has ground to a standstill, with traffic queues stretching and train fares soaring.
This is disturbing but I’ll try to avoid schadenfreude next time I’m driving down an EU-funded empty motorway to Madrid or wherever.