You'd think that the national phone company – Movistar as is, Telefónica as was – would have a fully functioning web page, wouldn't you? But, no. I've tried twice now to get details of my last bill but am just left hanging, with the message that they'll arrive “en unos instantes”. But they never do and so now I've given up. It reminds me of an article in one of the papers the other day that Spain continues to fall behind in the application of informatica, or IT. While Virgin in the UK is announcing the development of the fastest cable option in the world.
Our town council has found numerous thing to spend its bags of money on in the last ten years. Including roundabouts galore, of course. And ring roads. Of which not one but two are being built, despite the fact we already have an autopista (the AP9) which avoids the town. Not to mention the old N550. But one thing they've never got round to is a municipal tip. The consequences are inevitable and as occasionally as obvious as this . . .
[Imagine a foto of a mattress lying on the grass near the entrance to a block of flats, just down from the bridge into Pontevedra. I forgot to take it on the way back from town this morning.]
Talking about inevitability . . . This café has Amy Winehouse on a loop. If I hear Rehab another time, I might just put my foot through the TV screen. Shame that my TV-B-Gone is on the blink. What fun I used to have with that, proving that no one in a bar or cafe would even notice if I switched off all the TVs in the place.
Customer Service: That's the way to do it . . . “British Gas has been hit with a £2.5 million fine for failing to handle customer complaints properly in the latest evidence of a crackdown by the energy regulator.” With more to come, apparently.
- Reading Animal Farm today (Yes, for the first time!), I noted that the farmer was a reader of The News of the World, and
- After saying only a day ago that I wanted to fulfil a dream of going to Samarkand, guess which city was featured in the El País Travel Section today.
And talking of language . . . It's been interesting to listen to the Swedish in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films and to note the words which have obviously come into (Old) English. One of them is the word for 'daughter', leading to a third coincidence; the narrator in Samarkand learns Persian and notes, as I have in this blog, the similarity between the English and Persian words for father, brother, mother and daughter. All of which seem to have come down from Sanskrit relatively unchanged.
Conversation of the Day: Buying tickets for the bulls.
Hola. I'd like to buy 3 tickets for 7 Aug. But I have a question.
OK. What is it?
Well, I want 2 tickets at the discount rate for friends who are retired but they don't live here so I can't prove they're retired. As for me, I'm not yet at the retirement age, though not far off.
Well, I can give you 3 retiree tickets now without any problems but there's a risk you'll be asked to prove you're retired at the gate [As if!].
OK. Thanks, I'll take the tickets. Can I pay by credit or debit card?
No, only by cash.
(Wearily) OK, I'll see you tomorrow.
Finally . . . Spain seems to be playing little heed to the EU law on free travel. Madrid intends to restrict the entry of Rumanians and Bulgarians to those with work permits. Turns out, though, that this is a grey area. Or, as it says here, “As the measure by Madrid is unprecedented, the EU executive has recognised it finds itself in new territory. According to some interpretations, Madrid doesn’t even need to get a green light from the Commission. Reportedly, the restrictions to be imposed by Madrid would concern only new arrivals. Also, tourist traffic would not be affected, as Romanians are free to visit any EU country for a stay of up to three months.” So that's alright then.
Except that “According to some reports, the measures to be put in place by Madrid could inspire other EU countries to impose limitations on their job market for citizens from Bulgaria and Romania. The Netherlands has already announced it will only be granting work permits to Bulgarians and Romanians in "exceptional cases". So, a trend. Hard times, hard laws.
Incidentally, Rumanians are by far the most numerous foreigners resident in Spain. Spaniards seem to attribute to them almost mythical powers for learning Castellano. But this may be more a reflection of the Latin base of both languages than anything else. The Baldie will surely tell me if I'm wrong on this.