Sunday, February 08, 2009

I occasionally talk of corruption. Of drug smuggling. Of Politicians. And, last but not least, of Galicia’s airports. But it’s rare I can get them all in one short sentence. But here we go – The police here have broken up a gang of criminals which has been using diplomatic flights to import cocaine into Spain via Vigo airport.

I recently admitted I may have been wrong to be sceptical about the strength of Spanish banks. But this article suggests I might have been a tad premature. As does this one. Time will tell.

It’s not exactly a secret that the concept of time here in Spain can be slightly different from elsewhere. And that one possibly needs more patience here than one is normally called on to display in more frenetic Anglo Saxon cultures. Frankly, I’m not convinced I’m much better at this than when I left the UK to live in Tehran 35 years ago. Otherwise, why would I have pointlessly abandoned my two tins of dog food at the supermarket check-out yesterday simply because I’d had to wait ten minutes while the woman in front of me and the cashier dealt first with her ten items and then her form-filling request to have them delivered to her nearby flat. Perhaps I'll have completely adjusted after another eight years.

Reading of the chaos in the UK because of the shortage of salt to throw on the iced-up roads, I was taken back to a visit I made to Cheshire’s salt mines around 1989. Outside the entrance to the pits, there were tonnes of a dirty substance that turned out to be rock salt, which goes black when sprayed with acid to give it a hard cap to protect it from the rain. As opposed to the pink colour it had in its original state down these particular mines. Anyway, it was there – I was told - because ICI couldn’t sell it, as winters were no longer as cold and as icy as they’d been in my childhood. Unless the pits later closed down, these salt mountains must have become a lot higher in the last 20 years but it seems this still wasn’t enough. And so the country closed down.

Talking of the weather . . . I thought I’d give you a shot of the Atlantic Blanket I refer to from time to time. The view from my window normally takes in the river Lerez, the entire city of Pontevedra and the mountains behind it, festooned in wind turbines. Today, it was restricted to the house 50 metres below mine. But, believe me, this is not quite as bad as it gets. Sometimes I can’t even see the palm tree for drizzle-filled cloud. Or clizzle, as I once called it.

As for tomorrow’s weather, we’re warned that we’ll be having our third major storm in about two weeks, with gusts of up to 140kph. And just when I’d managed to get my central heating boiler to stay on for two days in a row. Hey ho.

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