I’ve mentioned that eating out in the UK benefits from a relentless search for novelty. In contrast, I imagine the menú del día options in Galicia, at least, are exactly what they would have been a century ago. On the other hand, the latter always include your wine (or water) in the fixed price and so represent much better value at 8-13 euros than a 9-12 pound main course in Britain that can easily rise to 15-20 pounds once you’ve added a small glass of wine at 3.75 and a dessert at much the same. Overall, my impression is that Spanish places operate on low margins but high volumes, whereas British places operate on high margins and lower volumes. Which means they make a fortune (“Have their August” in Spanish parlance) when times are good and volumes high. Right now, of course, this ain’t the case and there are a lot of deals around. And I don’t just mean in blood pressure monitors.
As I’m sure many will agree, (almost) the best thing about the wonderful Lionel Messi is that – even though he’s Argentinean - he isn’t an arrogant little bastard. Which confuses the Spanish for, in Spain at least, these folk are renowned for this quality. “What does an Argentinean think when he first sees lightening? . . . That God is taking his picture.”
One of the political analysts in The Times has probably accurately captured the mood of the country with this comment – “The election campaign has only just started but I am already confident about whom I want to win. And I suspect that most voters, as they start thinking seriously about the state of Britain, may reach the same conclusion. The answer, of course, is ‘None of the above’.”
The Greek situation just gets more and more tragic and it’s anyone’s guess what happens next. The British, of course, have no grounds for complacency. The respected Bank for International Settlements has just issued a report suggesting that, over the next 20 years or so, the UK’s debt situation could become the worst in the developed world.
We’re now in Phase 5 of the phone saga, my poor daughter having now been through the same pointless routine with at least five desk-wallahs in India. She was supposed to receive a call from a real engineer last night but, of course, she didn’t. It’s almost encouraging to know telecoms service in the UK is as bad as it is in Spain. Anyway, we’ll see what happens now that she’s told them she’s cancelling her monthly payment at the end of this month.
Finally . . . A kind reader has sent me this announcement of the discovery of a new element called Governmentium. Enjoy.
University researchers have discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (symbol = Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks.
Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.
A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.
This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as a critical morass.
When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol = Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.