Friday, January 22, 2010

President Zapatero has given a speech to the European parliament calling for a rapid exit to the economic crisis, a return to growth and the creation of ‘quality jobs’. I imagine the reaction domestically will have been consistent with the famous Christian tenet that charity begins at home. But who would begrudge Señor Z achieving all these on an international scale, even if the can’t manage it in Spain itself?

The acronym FROB will not be tripping off many tongues. It’s a body set up months and months ago by the Spanish government to provide billions of euros in aid to the ailing savings banks, the Cajas/Caixas. These are not very transparent institutions but it seems they got rather too close to the developers and builders driving the phoney construction boom and now have serious problems with their (toxic?) assets and their cash flow. The stumbling block in the way of dispersal of the moolah is that the fund breaches EU regulations. And the negotiations around modifying it have dragged on and on and are now forecast to be concluded by March, I think. Some say President Zapatero is at fault for pretending for so long there was nothing wrong with any Spanish banks that he’s now missed the bailout boat. If you see what I mean. Seems plausible to me. Has the man put a foot right since before the recession?

The teachers’ strike against the Xunta’s new law on trilingual education was 90% successful, if you believe the unions, but only less than 50%, if you believe the Ministry of Education. But why anybody here would bother to believe anyone else is quite beyond me. The mayor of Vigo clearly doesn’t. He’s very angry at the prospect of his city losing out if and when the two Galician Caixas are forced to merge and the HQ is sited up in La Coruña. And he characterises everything said by those in favour of a merger as a pack of lies. I like a man who speaks the truth.

My old electricity company was recently taken over by a Catalan gas concern. I rather thought that the canny Catalans would be rather better at the bi-monthly estimates of my consumption than their predecessors. But apparently not. They must have even worse calculators up there than here.

And talking of utility bills . . . Having wrapped a cold towel around my head and plunged into the interstices of my latest electricity bill, I see that the unit cost for the (peak) December period rose by 34%. You’d think that I’d have noticed an announcement in the media about this, wouldn’t you. I must have dozed off. And clearly the letter informing me of the increase and the reasons for it has failed to arrive. Yet again. Nice business.

There’s fashion in Pontevedra at the moment – among young women, I mean – for shorts worn over leggings. Rather odd for winter but there we are. As ever, I stress I’m not complaining but simply reporting. I thought of this today when passing a shop advertising Leggins. Which is obviously a new bit of Spanglish. But, if you’re going to go to the trouble of dropping one of the three ‘g’s, why not drop two? Unless it needs to be kept to stop the word being pronounced leghins. As opposed to leguins. But are there any other double ‘g’ words in Spanish which serve this purpose?

Finally . . . One of the famous leaning lampposts of Poio was finally replaced today. My guess is because the top of it was getting ever closer to the people waiting at the nearby bus-stop.

Oh, yes. It’s still raining. So, no fotos of granite slabs.


Diego said...

Hirocantabrico here in Asturias have (has?) blessed me with a second coming of their famous six-month billing in one lump sum.

Apparently they did not have the time or resources to check my meter since may 2009, of course i will be requesting the twelve month payment plan with no interest.

I´ll see if it flies.

Xoán-Wahn said...

@Diego - Seriously? Is that even legal? Six months in one go?!?! Does anyone really expect you to just be able to magically pay that?

Diego said...

this is the second time it´s happened to me, it also happened to a person i know, what this means is that it is not a once in a blue moon thing.

The way to go is to refuse the payment once it gets to your bank, this will make them phone you asking why you are refusing payment you nasty nasty customer (seriously) they will act all ignorant of what caused the refusal like it never happens.

After this they demand that you pay up and negotiations begin, last time i got them to give me three months to pay, this time i´m going for a full year, just for the fun of it.

Of course i´ll go to consumo and all the other places where you can go and complain, i know this will have no effect at all, but i´ts not like i work or have more important things to do... ;)