First thing this morning I set off for the local Royal Mail depot, to pick up a camera the postman had brought to the house when we'd been out yesterday. I wasn't too confident of success as I was ignoring the instruction to wait 29 hours before picking it up. Plus, the package was addressed to my daughter (who'd financed the purchase) and the note stressed that, Spanish style, identity would have to be proved. In truth, I wasn't sure how I was going to establish I was Miss H Davies. In the event, I was given the package in exchange for the (non)delivery note - no questions asked and no formalities demanded. The whole process took about ten seconds, which all rather contrasts with the minimum of ten minutes and the signing and stamping of at least three forms at the Pontevedra post office.
A little while later, I set off for Merseyside to see my mother but immediately had to brake to avoid running over a large ginger cat that looked as if it was about to cross the road. Except it wasn't a cat; it was one of Britain's infamous urban foxes, nonchalantly scavenging for food in the Leeds suburbs in broad daylight.
Thanks to incessant tailbacks on the motorways, returning from Merseyside took me almost four hours, against the one and a half going there - a timely reminder of one of the reasons I left the UK.
According to an article in the January edition of Prospect Magazine, virtually all Britons will regard themselves as middle class by 2020. Way back in 1980, some 35% saw themselves as working class but by 2008 this was already down to less than 10%. As for the “upper class”, the article claims this is already 'nearly extinct' - “Research suggests a mere 1% of the population thinks of itself as upper class, and they are a rather eccentric bunch, many of whom report to live off modest incomes.”
Good to see that the European construction industry grew by 3.5% over the previous year. Shame that Spain bucked the trend, with a 31% fall. No wonder the jobless total keeps rising towards 5 million.
Finally . . . Here's a thought-provoking letter from the same January edition of Prospect:-
It never ceases to amaze me when people (usually English) claim the English language is hard to learn. Many for whom English is a second language have not found it so.
As there are so many people born and brought up in England who are still unable to speak their own language, I assume Viv Groskop (December) is referring to them?
Inger Collingridge, Exeter
Any Spanish (or Dutch) views on this??