Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spain’s tough new anti-smoking law went through the lower house of parliament yesterday and is now expected to pass the Senate and come into force on January 2. Much as I detest the habit, the libertarian in me regrets that smokers will soon have nowhere to indulge it apart from their own home. Perhaps we really will see some “smokers’ clubs” in which they’re free to do so. Served, of course, by staff who are smokers themselves and have no objection to working there.

I heard this morning that Ryanair were scrapping their flights into and out of Santiago de Compostela but assumed this was simply their normal winter practice. But, no, it seems they have indeed decided to stop all their flights, on the grounds the Xunta has not been cooperative enough with them. Meaning inadequate subsidies, I guess. So, that’s both EasyJet and Ryanair who’ve walked away from the table, leaving us bereft of low-cost airlines. Perhaps the Portuguese government got wind of all this before they decided to put tolls on all the roads down to Oporto airport from this month. If not, they’ve just had another gift from the Xunta. But who wants (foreign) tourists anyway?

Talking of travelling . . . I’m thinking of going down to Morocco for Christmas. If I do, I won’t be switching my mobile phone on. My elder daughter was there last month and has just received a bill from Orange for well over 200 euros. Much of this is for a host of very short calls to her number, generating a ‘roaming’ charge of 1.50 each, plus tax. As she didn’t recall receiving any of these, she took it up with Orange. As you’d expect if you’ve dealt with any phone company here, the answer was “We don’t mistakes. If it’s on the bill, it’s correct. Cough up.” To her question about whether these could be fraudulent calls – possibly from someone in Morocco with a vested interest in sharing the roaming charge – the answer was “Not as far as we’re concerned. Cough up.”  I’ve advised her to take the matter to El Consumo, of course.

But some good news for those of you coming to Pontevedra – The new museum I posted pictures of the other day finally has an opening day of 29 October. As it that weren’t enough, here in Poio November will see the opening of a museum dedicated to Cristobal Colón. This, of course, is Christopher Columbus and the museum will honour the fact the great man was actually born right here in Poio. Where his ship the Santa Maria (originally La Gallega) was built. Honest. If you don’t believe me, write to me and I’ll give you the name of a book (in Spanish) which proves it.

Finally  . . . Another correction. Turning Wayne Rooney’s 500,000 pounds a week into an annual salary yesterday, I used a factor of 12 to arrive at what I called an insane amount of 6 million pounds a year. It should, of course, have been a factor of 52, meaning a salary of 26 million pounds a year. Which is so far beyond insane I almost feel sorry for Mr Rooney, his wife and his kid(s).

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.

1 comment:

Anthea said...

Another word of warning about Orange: once we unthinkingly used out Internet Everywhere mobile dongle across the border in Portugal. After all Porto is hardly a long way from Spain. When we got back to Spain our access to internet had been blocked - in case our dongle had been stolen was Orange's explanation. To get reconnected we first had to pay a bill of over 100 euros, the cost of using their system for about 2 minutes in another country without having first set up "roving". Warners be aware if this little catch.

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