Interesting to see that a British MP is in trouble for an unlicensed extension to his villa down south. Doing things illegally is called a la Gallega here in Galicia and I imagine there’s a similar phrase in every region of Spain. I’ve more than once heard it said by local officials that problems won’t usually arise unless there’s a complaint from one of the neighbours. As, indeed, was the case with my neighbour, Pablo del Bosque. Calling on him the other week, I asked what had happened to the house in his grounds which his parents had lived in. Knocked down as illegal, he informed me - as a result of a complaint from an interfering busy-body who lives way down the hill and seems to make a hobby of this sort of thing.
I had trouble last night paying by credit card for an item I need from the UK but was pleasantly surprised to get an email this morning from the supplier saying they’d noted this and wondered if they could help. Somehow, I can’t imagine this happening if I had problems booking a train journey with RENFE. For example.
Following a government reshuffle, there are now new names on some of the cabinet deckchairs. Perhaps the most interesting is the promotion to Number Two of the man who many see as the leading candidate to replace the discredited Sr Zapatero ahead of the general elections in 2012, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba. Apart from not being very telegenic, the latter sports a beard. This alone would disqualify him from a career in politics in the UK, where face fluff is considered very suspect on a man. Even more so on a woman, of course.
Talking of the lack of telegenicity . . . The previous Number Two to President Zapatero was a woman of quite terrifying appearance, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega. She’s been summarily booted upstairs, I gather, and my suspicion is that most of the country eventually became as frightened of her as I always was.
Finally . . . A couple of corrections . . . Firstly, it’s 77 euros, not 70, that you now need to pay to get on any of the main roads in North Portugal, say if you land at Oporto and want to drive to Spain. And Wayne Rooney is seeking 200,000 pounds a week, not a mere 170,000, from Manchester United. Or, rather, this was last night’s rumour. Today’s is that Manchester City are prepared to pay him 500,000. Or six million pounds a year. Utter madness.
Tailnote for new readers: The first eight chapters of my daughter’s novel can now be read and/or downloaded in pdf form, for easy reading. It’s a “Fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalised Cuba, it’s being e-published at the rate of at least a couple of chapters a week. If this entices you, click here.