Tuesday, December 08, 2009

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 AlbariƱo wine grape. Time, then, for some DIY. Starting with an internal massage.


Ferrolano said...

Colin, you would love the speed traps here in S Korea. For 99% of the situations, they are in fixed locations with road side signs, in both Korean and in English warning you that in 1000, 500 or 250m such a camera is installed. If you are driving with a local GPS, it will also warn you to reduce your speed – wonderful, and you can also use the other warning system which is to watch for brake lights and a general slowing of traffic. It is almost your own fault if you do get a ticket, except as I said earlier, for 99% of the time. Every now and again a radar trap will be set up and bingo, start to contribute!

dugroxbab said...

It was probably the same radar machine on the Lugo-Santiago road that tried to ruin my life a couple of years ago for doing 83 in a 50. Despite my protestations and a 22-year clean license, I was given a €380 fine, stripped of 6 of my 12 points, and suspended from driving for 30 days. My last "offence" two decades ago was in another trap on a particularly confusing three-lane bit of the Madrid-Valencia road. But in 44 years on Spanish roads I have never seen the cops nab an egregiously reckless driver -the sort who never signals his intentions, crosses three lanes in a single maneouevre, overtakes on the wrong side, or rides your tail at high speed -as about 60 per cent of Galician drivers are wont to do.

Colin said...


I wonder why they hit you so hard.

I had a 42 years of clean driving before I was hit 3 times in 12 months. The first of these was 75 in a (false) 50 but I was only fined 100 and lost no points. Perhaps it was because it was out in the open in a forest and the cops knew thay had reduced the 70 sign so as to artificially extend the 50 zone.

Colin said...

Sorry, 'removed' not 'reduced'