Odd things tend to get attributed to a recession; a reduction in the number of abortions in Galicia and an increase in Church of England marriages in the UK. In the latter case, the cause is said to be "A return to family values and a desire for stability". Which may or may not be true.
One thing that does rise in a recession - in the UK at least - is the theft of lead and copper from church roofs. In one such instance, the thief was copped and taken to court. He appeared wearing a brace, claiming he'd fallen off the roof in the pursuit and broken his back. He was let off with a very light sentence but later proceeded to score three goals in a Sunday football match. When this was brought to the attention of the judge, he duly gaoled him.
It now looks like the vast gambling complex I mentioned a few weeks ago will be built in Spain, despite resistance from some parliamentarians. With Spain's unemployment continuing to rise - and forecast to do so throughout 2012 - a promised 260,000 jobs are not to be sniffed at. Madrid and Barcelona are engaged in a titanic struggle to house the venture, with the shorter odds being on Madrid. But I'm sure it's a clean fight.
The Liverpool goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, has been accused of racism for appearing in an ad for a Spanish insurance company said to depict "racial and sexual stereotypes" and to portray Africans as "backward, stupid, and animalistic homosexuals". Said one angry commentator:- "It's back in the fifties, this kind of stuff." Well, yes. That tends to be the way of things in Spain, where there's some catching up to do in this area. The insurance company responded:- "We are going to withdraw it immediately but have done nothing wrong. But if you're upset then we apologise'. Also par for the course. And they haven't pulled the ad.
A confession - I've now bought a one-quid sandwich from Mr Sandwich. Twice in fact. The first one was Cajun chicken and the second Chicken Tikka. The difference? Marginal, to say the least. As I write this, I realise it's quite a while since I last saw the sorry-looking youth advertising the place on - what else? - sandwich boards. A victim of cost-cutting, I fear.
Finally . . . Recent events in Afghanistan have pointed up the difficulties one would have in safely disposing of a copy of the Qur'an. Should you be faced with this challenge, here's one ingenious suggestion - Leave it in a drawer in a hotel room.