The tightening of the law and the penalties attached to breaches have certainly led to a better standard of driving in Spain in the last few years. And it was a full four hours after leaving Santander yesterday before we witnessed the first episode of insanely stupid overtaking - just as we left the straight coastal road of Asturias and entered the bends, hills and dangerous curves of northern Galicia. Of course, we later saw several examples of local idiosyncrasies but, in truth, these paled into insignificance against the antics of the maniac in the 4.2L Audi 4x4 earlier in the afternoon.
As they say in the business world, if you can’t think of anything else to do, have a personnel reorganisation. When it comes to addressing Spain’s economic woes, this is the position in which President Zapatero finds himself. And so, after days of rumours, today saw the inevitable cabinet reshuffle. According to Sr Z, its objectives are:- To work towards the recovery of the economy and employment; to strengthen Spain’s territorial cohesion; and to bring about all the reforms and changes which the second decade of the 21st century demands. Which is as meaningless a bunch of words as you could get. But it gives the illusion of action. Even if it’s only activity. The biggest head to fall is, naturally, that of the Minister of the Economy. He’s being replaced by a senior member of the PSOE socialist party, who is the proud owner, I believe, of a lovely flat in an illegal building along the coast here in Galicia. But, such has been the inconsistency in the application of the relevant law, I imagine that all he’s guilty of is the confusion which affects us all. And so I doubt that El Pais, for example, will be mentioning this. [Correction: The gentleman in question has not been given the Economics brief but that of Development/Fomento].
I guess it had to happen - and maybe I’m slow in picking it up – but I see that the word ‘application’ has now suffered a typical Anglo-Saxon contraction and become ‘app’. At least when it comes to your mobile-phone-cum-pocket-computer.
During the 10 days I slept at my parents’ flat in the UK, my towels were washed three times. I regard this as being above and beyond the call of duty and find it hard to imagine either of my daughters going to this trouble for me. Nor me, for that matter. What’s most remarkable is that, at the time my mother’s generation of women developed these habits, there were no automatic washing machines. But perhaps that’s why she now goes to the extremes she does. The pure joy of it all.
Finally, I am a late-coming acolyte at the court of the Times columnist, A A Gill. If you’ve never read him, here’s a good introduction to his style, on the G20 ‘riots’ in London. More usually, he’s the paper’s restaurant critic. Sort of.