I went shopping this morning. As ever, it was pretty much a failure. Like each of the three I'd previously tried, the ironmongers didn't stock microwave fuses. But (when asked) thought an electrical shop at the other end of town might. Like the previous specialist electrical shop I'd tried, this didn't either. But (when asked) thought that a place on the north side of town might. Which I will try another day.
The one good aspect of shopping in Spain is that they're incredible at wrapping stuff. But this can reach farcical levels, as when they wrap a single screw in brown paper and then sellotape the little parcel. And it's not so appealing when you're in a bit of a hurry and, as this morning, the guy at the counter is attempting to wrap a piece of kitchen furniture in brown paper for the women in front of you. And inevitably taking an age.
So, Richard Branson's Caribbean palace was destroyed during an electrical storm. Surprising he couldn't afford to put a lightning conductor on the roof. Or anywhere, for that matter.
The Tour de España came to Pontevedra today, where all hotels are now fully booked. This is in sharp contrast with July, it seems, when occupation was down around 50%. As our tourists are "92%" Spanish, this says something about La Crisis. Parts of Spain which depend on foreign visitors have done rather better, I believe. And August is reported to have been good, with 77% occupation along this coast. Good, but still not great, in view of the fixed costs. Variable costs are, of course, kept down by only employing cheap and servile South Americans.
Actually, it was fun watching the cyclists race over a bridge across the river while also viewing the same event on the TV. Though not exactly at the same time, of course. And it was me watching the race on the TV, not the cyclists.
It had to happen . . . Such has been the explosion in (EU-funded) roads and motorways in Spain over the last ten years, one of the easiest ways to save money, going forward, is to cut the road maintenance program. And, sure enough, this is what's just been announced for Galicia. I wonder how long it'll be before driving long distances here ceases to be an old-fashioned pleasure, because the roads are both high quality and relatively empty.
I've often expressed admiration for the obituaries in Spain's national papers. This week we've had one dedicated to a Mississippi Delta Bluesman, David Edwards. Shame they cited his nickname as Honeboy, rather than what it was - Honeyboy. You can hear his music on Spotify, by the way. Lovely guitar. Voice not bad either.
I mentioned ADSL prices yesterday and today I noted that BT is now promoting its services in Spain. Naturally, they've adopted the Spanish practice of luring you in with a a price which is reasonable (relatively speaking) but then shoots up after six months. I say 'reasonable', but it isn't really, against the prices being offered by Telefónica as of this week. Some quick rethinking will have to be done in the BT marketing department.
As I was writing some of this post this morning, I had to move from my preferred table as four of the six young women on the one behind me were smoking. This prompted some quick research on the internet, which confirmed my suspicion that deaths from lung cancer among women are rocketing up in Spain, as in France. In both countries cigarettes are primarily seen as appetite suppressors. So the more the merrier. Until later. Click here if you want more detail about the claim that "the female lung cancer epidemic is likely to expand in southern Europe from the current rate of 5/100,000 in Spain to approach 20/100,000 within the next 2-3 decades. Horrifying.
The Pontevedra character, Draculín, now seems to be patronising the same lunchtime bar as me. And so it was today I could snap him wearing something I've never even seen in England, despite living four years in London - a bloody bowler hat!
And here's a picture of the latest block of - totally empty - flats to be finished in Pontevedra. What's the betting on how long it'll be before they're all taken? 10 years? Twenty?
Finally . . . A complaint. Some genius at M&S has decided it'd be a good idea to save money (I guess) by getting rid of labels on mens' jockey shorts (slips - sleeps - in Spanish) and replacing them by print on the inside of the garment. The core problem with this is that the 'label' fades with washing. The additional problem, if you need glasses, is that a point is reached when you can't see the print at all and so proceed to put your shorts on back-to-front. Which is annoying. I shall have to consider taking my annual business elsewhere.