One of our national papers – most probably the anti-government El Mundo – reported yesterday that 84% of Spaniards want some changes in the Constitution in respect of regions/‘nationalities’ and around the several co-official languages. Talking to my friend Alfred Mittington this morning, he pointed out this was one area in which the Spanish could not be said to lack expertise. There’s been hundreds of new Constitutions over the last two centuries or so, he says. One for each new government, more or less.
Another area of undoubted Spanish expertise has been in negotiating transfers of cash from Brussels to Madrid. But this is only to be expected of a country where one national saying runs “Live off your parents until you’re old enough to live off your children” and where it’s no shame to be heavily subsidised. I’m reminded of this by the report that Madrid is to seek an extension of the Common Agricultural Policy subsidies which have totalled 7.4bn euros to-date but which are due to end in 2013. This is critical, we’re told, for the rural environment. And, needless to say, for ‘climate control’.
Driving up to Lugo today and watching the speed limits like a hawk, I soon learnt what the latest ruse for institutionalised theft is. As you approach a village, there’s an 80 sign, followed 50 metres or so later by a 50 sign. Although it’d be difficult to get down to 50 in such a distance without braking drastically and dangerously, the radar machine is placed less than one metre after the 50 sign. As I said months ago, the only way to be safe in Spain now is to drive everywhere at 49. Which would guarantee you infuriating just about everyone else on the road. Even decrepit farmers in their unlicensed micro-cars.
Talking of roads . . . If you take the advice I posted a few weeks ago and click on Google’s virtual tour of the Camino de Santiago, you’re taken to the centre of the AP9 autopista. And even through its tunnels. It seems that the facility hadn’t been checked by any of the politicians who lauded its arrival on the scene. The hype was premature, it seems.
Finally . . . Thanks to duties connected with the arrival of an unexpected houseguest, I never got to go to the Entoturismo festival – or wine fiesta - in Pontevedra this holiday ‘bridge’. I did plan to go this evening but, of course, they’d knocked off at midday. So I didn’t get to have a body massage with some concoction made from our Albariño wine grape. Time, then, for some DIY. Starting with an internal massage.