Friday, November 27, 2009

Combining the two regular themes of noise and prostitution comes the story told to me today of an American couple who bought a house from a local builder - now in jail – with walls so thin they could hear everything going on in the brothel later set up next door. Needless to say, exhausted from lack of sleep and worried by the response to their complaints, they abandoned the house. And then the country. I’m beginning to feel grateful I’ve only got nice-but-noisy Toni. Who arrived back from sea smack on time last Thursday.

After several months of trying – including conversations and follow-ups with six plumbers – I finally have a new central heating boiler. In a box in my garage. Plumber number 5 insisted he’d told me on the phone he could bring one but that I’d have to get another guy to set it up. Fortunately, though, he’s a friend of a friend and so he got on the phone and told plumber number 6 that (despite only knowing each other for five minutes) we were friends and I needed help urgently. The happy outcome to this case study in the stellar importance of the personal factor in Spain will possibly unfold when plumber number 6 turns up at 10.30 on Monday morning. Or prima hora, as it’s known here.

The Economist magazine has issued another depressing commentary on the Spanish economy, which you can read here. I haven’t read them yet but I expect the Comments to be more illuminating that the article itself.

Which reminds me . . . It seems nobody’s told RENFE we’re living in deflationary times either. This is our national (government owned) rail operator and they’ve announced a 5% price hike from January. Likewise the monopoly electricity companies, who’ve warned of a mere 3% increase. Actually, prices for all government services (and many others) traditionally rise on the first day of the year. So it’ll be interesting – and probably very painful – to see how they all deal with an official inflation rate of around zero. Well, it avoids raising income and sales taxes beyond what’s already been announced.

Finally . . . A new verb for those learning Spanish. I came across it twice yesterday but not one of fifteen Spanish friends last night knew what it meant. It’s trufar. The original meaning - as you may have guessed - is ‘To stuff with truffles’. But a secondary meaning is ‘To tell stories to the detriment of someone or something’. And, finally, it’s another Spanish word meaning ‘To lie’. Of which there are quite a few, I suspect. Especially in the plumbing community.

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