Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Scroll down for another Midday EU/Politics special, if you have a good stomach.

The British government is said to be concerned (why?) at the increasing numbers of Spaniards moving to the UK to work. The total is 85% up on last year, it seems. Meanwhile, here in Spain more than 30% of the unemployed are reported to have declined to take jobs offered to them, for one reason and another. Which may help to explain why the four people who serve me every day are Argentinean, Colombian, Venezuelan and Brazilian. And why unemployment at the end of August is predicted to be above the already record levels of 21% or so.

On the issue of councils who'll be denied government funds if they haven't had their 2010 accounts audited, the relevant ministress now tells us there are 2,500 of these and that Galicia's total is 105. Now, you might think that, in the 21st century, it'd be routine for spenders of taxpayers' money to be monitored in some way. But not here, it seems. Nor elsewhere, perhaps.

Which reminds me . . . Only in Spain???:

1. A ton of cannabis has been recovered from smugglers who called the Coastguard when their boat broke down off the Murcia coast.

2. A parish priest has had to be protected by the police, after turning on his congregation and making, first, general and, then, particular criticisms of its members. The Church Militant. Reminded me of the tales I've heard of priests who live with their 'housekeeper' and their children but berate churchgoers for not being better Catholics.

I mentioned the other day the falling forecasts of Spain's economic growth this year. The IMF had now published its own and this is down to 0.7%. And to only 1.3% for 2012, as against 1.6% previously.

Charles Butler, of IBEXSalad, doesn't think much of our new bank, created via the fusion of the region's two savings banks (cajas/ caixas)- "NovaCaixaGalicia can't accept that their books don't balance and their rotating presidency plan (not to mention its unpronounceable name), meant to calm jealousies, is a loser." Which I feel is just a bit of gratuitous cynicism, not worthy of this blog.

Talking of which, here's details of a new TV comedy series, focusing on recent scandals in the UK. Sounds promising.

Well, we might not have any international (or even Spanish) cuisine worthy of that name here in Pontevedra but today I came upon the town's 7th and 8th kebab houses. Right next door to each other, in fact. Just outside the old quarter, which I suspect is the only good thing to be said about them.

If this works, attached is a recording of the one bloody infuriating tune that the pipe-playing panhandler can manage. After you've endured the toddler crying.

If that didn't work, here in compensation is a lovely video of someone trying to get his car into a garage in one of the narrow streets of Pontevedra's old quarter. It looks to me as if the son has just brought home the car his Mummy's bought for him . . .

And here is a full-frontal view of the garage he was trying to get into.

We have the last big fiesta of the year at the weekend - The Feira Franca, or Medieval Weekend. Various measures have been taken around the old quarter to make it look less modern and here's one example, in the shape of a bin covered in sackcloth. And full of ashes. Not.

I won't be bothering to take fotos this year. So click here if you want to see some.

Finally . . . Two bits of excellent corporate news . . .

1. Spain's only decent supermarket chain - Mercadona - has overtaken El Corte Inglés to become the country's most profitable store. Admittedly the competition isn't up to much but they deserve it.

2. Telefónica have finally recognised there's a market and that they have competitors and so have significantly reduced their (very high) ADSL prices. But only if you also have one of their mobile phones. Which is never going to happen. But hopefully there'll be a general fall in prices that I'll be able to benefit from.


St. Andrew’s Day, 1935.  This poem also turns up in 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying', and occupies Gordon Comstock’s thoughts throughout much of the novel. According to the Times Literary Supplement, Gordon’s only book, Mice showed ‘exceptional promise’.
NB: Ashtaroth is a prince of Hell in demonology.

Sharply the menacing wind sweeps over

The bending poplars, newly bare,

And the dark ribbons of the chimneys

Veer downward; flicked by whips of air,

Torn posters flutter; coldly sound

The boom of trams and the rattle of hooves,

And the clerks who hurry to the station

Look, shuddering, over the eastern roves,

Thinking, each one, ‘Here comes the winter!

Please God I keep my job this year!’

And bleakly, as the cold strikes through

Their entrails like an icy spear,

They think of rent, rates, season tickets,

Insurance, coal, the skivvy’s wages,

Boots, school-bills, and the next instalment

Upon the two twin beds from Drage’s.

For if in careless summer days

In groves of Ashtaroth we whored,

Repentant now, when winds blow cold,

We kneel before our rightful lord;

The lord of all, the money-god,

Who rules us blood and hand and brain,

Who gives the roof that stops the wind,

And, giving, takes away again;

Who spies with jealous, watchful care,

Our thoughts, our dreams, our secret ways,

Who picks our words and cuts our clothes,

And maps the pattern of our days;

Who chills our anger, curbs our hope,

And buys our lives and pays with toys,

Who claims as tribute broken faith,

Accepted insults, muted joys;

Who binds with chains the poet’s wit,

The navvy’s strength, the soldier’s pride,

And lays the sleek, estranging shield

Between the lover and his bride.


Sierra said...

Given your potential interest in cycling, noted yesterday, I hope you will be supporting La Vuelta tomorrow. The 12th stage finishes in Avenida de Lugo at 1730h approx. There's a Brit in the red jersey this evening
The 13th stage starts in Sarria on Friday (13 and Friday - what could go wrong?)

Ferrolano said...

@Sierra – luckily in Spain it is Tuesday and the 13th, so the cyclists should be OK, I hope!

Ferrolano said...

Parking - and they don't even have a vado.

tim said...

A cyclist shows up for a group ride on a new carbon speed machine.
"Hey, where did you get the new ride?", asks one of the group.
"Well," he says, "I was out on a ride when this really hot chick rode up alongside. We got to talking and one thing led to another and we stopped at a park. She suddenly stripped off and said, 'take what you want', so I took the bike."

Colin said...

@Sierra. Wiggins, I assume.

Midnight Golfer said...

Yay! Mercadona! I wonder if treatment clients get at the bigger 'box stores' has helped Mercadona?
I know Lidl and Mercadon get all my grocery money, now that I've been exiled from Alcampo, and Carrefour is too far away.

Spaniards need to start holding out for fiber-optic internet. Ono won't publish its coverage maps, because it's hard to break the city blocks down into individual buildings on a map.

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