Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some good news – At last steps are being taken by the Spanish government to stimulate the property rental market by making it less difficult for landlords to take measures against defaulting tenants. Not before time. Things must be bad.

And another item to cheer us up in these straitened times – The last equestrian statue of Franco in mainland Spain has been removed from its plinth in Santander. But there is one remaining monument in Spain – albeit of the Generalisimo merely standing – in the North African enclave of Melilla. Melilla is different, it seems.

Speaking of enclaves . . . I was intrigued to learn from a BBC podcast today that Europe has far more of these than you’d think. These are landlocked places that belong to country A but are surrounded by country B. And possibly countries C, D and E. There is, for example, a Spanish Catalan city surrounded by France. And an Italian city surrounded by Switzerland. Reportedly, they all live in remarkable harmony with their neighbours but are unpopular with Brussels. This is possibly because they have no need of one of the 90-plus EU bodies which are set up in appropriate places to facilitate cross-border activities. Which apparently amounts to doing very little but paying handsome salaries to the lucky folk who man them.

I’ve just tried to access the web page of the Spanish subsidiary of FNAC, the major French books and electronics store. I'd had no problems accessing Amazon UK and FNAC France but, after 15 minutes of waiting, finally gave up on the Spanish web site. I regularly read that the incidence of internet shopping is lower here than elsewhere and I’m beginning to understand why. Of course it doesn’t help that there’s no Amazon Spain. Perhaps they know something I don’t know.

And while I’m moaning . . . My new[ish] laptop naturally has the latest Vista operating system installed but only Wordpad instead of Word. The former seems to be designed – especially when cutting and pasting - to make you so angry you’ll rush out and pay through the nose for the latter. Or, if you live here, find a friend who’ll give you an illegal copy.

Which sort of reminds me – There’s now a computer operating system entirely in Gallego, called Galinux. Needless to say, it’s been launched by the regional government and not by a commercial concern. But it’s free. Perhaps someone could give us an opinion of it.

Finally - The good news . . . After an hour or so, the FNAC Spain web site has finally come up on screen. The bad news . . . The search facility is, shall we say, less than rapid. In fact, I’ve just received the message that they can’t attend to my request right now and I should try again later. As if. Stuff ‘em.


David Jackson said...

The Junta de Andalucia launched, a couple of years ago, a version of Linux for its GUADALINFO public internet access centres to save buying windows. Big fanfare, etc.

Course, 'twas crap. In the end, the guadalinfo people just used to install pirate versions of win 98 and replace the "windows 98" startup screen with the "guadalinfo - (c) Junta de Andalucia" screen.

Honour was satisified and people got working PCs. True story, by the way.

mike the trike said...

Colin- Try open office which is free and does anything and more than windows.

Colin said...

Many thanks, Mike

Mark said...

I don't think there is an Italian enclave in Luxembourg... Switzerland, but not Luxembourg. There is a Portuguese enclave in Spain. It's called Turem and is just north of the town of Montealegre in Tras os Montes, south of Ourense. Close enough for a day trip.

Colin said...

Thanks, Mark. It was a deiberate mistake - to test readers. Honest.

Mark said...

Totally off topic. If anyone wants to know how mad a single nation can become, take a look at this...

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