Saturday, June 16, 2007

Spain has been celebrating 30 yeas of democracy this week, not to mention a couple of decades of impressive economic growth. Here are a few then-and-now comparisons from a table in one of the national papers:-
Foreigners: 0.2m – 4.2m
Minimum monthly salary: 79 euros – 571 euros
Houses built: 406,000 – 612,000 [2004]
Phones: 9.5m – 59.7m
Life expectancy: 73 years – 81 years. The highest in Europe, I believe.

Some months ago, I joked about the likelihood of there being a Cornish nationalist movement. Inevitably, we now have the Cornish National Liberation Army, which insists Cornwall is not English and threatens to firebomb the houses and cars of the ‘invaders’. I also jokingly asked where the Leonese and Asturian nationalist movements where. And now we have them. Maybe I should give up on the humour. Or at least the sarcasm.

And perhaps it’s time to stress too my link on this page to the piece on the Kingdom of Danelaw takes you to a spoof. And not to a serious proposal that I be enthroned as monarch of the restored nation.

Returning to sanity . . . Different countries take different attitudes towards risk and safety. And, while I may sometimes express concern at things I see around me here, on balance I’m happy Spain is much less of a nanny state than the UK. In the latter, hardly a day passes without news of another lunatic step from the Health & Safety zealots in the direction of eliminating all possible risks from British society. The end result, of course, will be that all babies will have to be aborted, on the grounds that life always brings with it a risk of death.

I‘ve been known to make the occasional swipe at Telefonica. But yesterday I was impressed to receive a call – albeit from a machine – asking me to indicate whether I’d been satisfied with their response to my complaint about a breakdown. Well, I say ‘impressed’ but, as I’d not had a breakdown nor made a complaint, I’m not sure this is exactly the right word. Certainly not for the customer who should have got the call. After all, you’d think getting your number right would be one thing you could rely on your phone company for.

A gentleman called Joe Gallo has kindly referred me to a site which sets out the coats-of-arms of the various Gallo clans around the world. These all feature the bird in question. But these are always described as either as a ‘rooster’ or a ‘cockerel’. So, plenty of pollos but, as yet, no polla.

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