Friday, June 29, 2012

As they say, if I had a pound (or even a euro) for every paragraph like this . . . We recently went on a foodie fact-finding trip to Galicia in north-western Spain. It’s rainy and mossy, steeped in Celtic mysticism; less visited than some parts of the country (unless you’re a pilgrim headed for Santiago de Compostela). But it’s home to some absolute classics of Spanish cuisine. Yes, Galicia does have some great seafood and wines; but rainy and mossy it ain't between May and October. Nor is it shrouded in bloody Celtic mysticism. Unless you think that shops selling figurines of witches and similar tat amounts to mysticism. The writer of this typical bit of nonsense was 'hosted' by the Martin Codex bodega. Which means we can ignore anything he says about wine.

As it happens, I've just read some more deathless prose on a site belonging to a company called Northern Exposure. Their CEO had been to northern Spain and loved it. Now, I used to think CEO stood for Chief Executive Officer. But not in this company, it seems. For them it stands for Chief Experience Officer. Each to his own, I guess.

So, as logic dictated, Mrs Merkel has relented and something or other will be rapidly brought into being. By the end of the year. Only time will tell whether the comfort provided to struggling economies will last longer than usual. And whether Mrs M has really secured her quid pro quo of tighter control of the eurozone's banks. As of now, "details remain sketchy". But we're on the upswing of the roller-coaster and that's all that counts today.

If there is going to be closer EU/German supervision of banks, one wonders how many more Bankías will emerge. This titan was formed by a merger of 7 Spanish savings banks, all of which had probably been rather cavalier in its lending to builders and developers. An international team has pored over Bankía's books and come up with the number of 13.6bn euros as the size of the black hole on its balance sheet. The remedy, of course, is 100% nationalisation and injections of 19bn in July and a further 12bn in October from EU rescue funds. Will anyone be sacked? Maybe.

I'm approaching the end of Paul Preston's The Spanish Holocaust and feel I can say with both conviction and accuracy that the Catholic Church does not come out of it well. Some priests, yes. But the Church, decidedly not. As for Franco and his equally blood-thirsty generals, let's just hope that, for them, the Catholic belief in Hell is well-founded and that they're all booked into it for eternity. A nastier bunch of psychopaths you'd be hard pushed to assemble.

The Spanish are ruled by several levels of government. One, of course, is the 17 Autonomous Communities (or regions), the abolition of which - some say - would solve Madrid's fiscal problems at a stroke. This, though, is never going to happen. But one level which certainly is for the chop is that of the numerous mancomunidades around the country. God knows what these really do but they seem to be an association of local mayors and, presumably, one justification said mayors would put forward for their own existence. Which, with this measure, surely becomes more precarious. Many mayors, by the way, have salaries greater than the Prime Minister's. Not to mention the perks of the job. Which somehow grow when times are good and contracts must be signed. Some of them have even been known to be re-elected while in prison. It's a rum country at times.

We bloggers have to stick together. Here's Trevor giving due credit to Lenox for his report on a laughingly bad translation of the verb Volcar in some PR stuff from the idiots who run Mojácar's Turismo. Enjoy.

Finally . . . Believe it or believe it not, I have twice this week smelled the odour of semen when getting out of my car. And I had concluded that the guilty party must be a plant or tree. Like the dog-shit tree that I used to have in my front garden. And so it turns out to be. Click here for the proof.

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