Saturday, July 28, 2012

So,what to make of last night's extravaganza on the outskirts of London? Well, I'm not politicised enough to have seen much of a socialist – or even consistent - message coming from Mr Boyle. Maybe this is because I don't regard the NHS as 'socialised medicine'. That said, I agree, of course, with those who found it odd that Boyle should put so much stress on a health system so outclassed by other national systems in Europe. Taken as a whole, I found it quirky, amusing but occasionally baffling. And I suspect this will have been the overview from much of the world. Especially as it was well delivered and fun to watch. It must have been; I stayed up until the very end. Which meant I again had to witness Paul McCartney showing us how much past his best he is. Still, even he couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I went up the apples and pears to bed. Though maybe this was because I switched to two scabrous episodes of Family Guy while the national squads were filing in. One of the amazing aspects of last night was that the lady on the big (kettle?) drums – Evelyn Glennie – is stone deaf, reading the music through her feet. And, then, this morning came the report that the best performing archer in one round was blind. How does it do it? Not, presumably, by having someone stand by him, whispering “Up a bit. Down a Bit. Left a bit. OK, let go.” 

Last word on the ceremony – There are many descriptions I could quote but this one appealed most - “Sometimes it looked like a seaside summer special on amyl nitrate.”

Meanwhile, out in the grown ups' world, the markets had been temporarily calmed by a joint pledge of Angela Merkel and François Hollande on Friday to “do everything to protect the European Union's single currency”. But I am the only person in the world to realise that this is ambiguous and doesn't rule out them saving the currency only for the pious North, while cutting loose the shirking South? Time, as ever, will tell.

The pigeons which plague Plaza de Verdura were mentioned – and photographed – in yesterday's Diario de Pontevedra. It was even reported that a decoy owl had been used by one bar, to no lasting effect. But no mention of me and my multicoloured owl. It's ten years now I and my blog have been ignored by the local media. It's a tough and lonely life. Thank God for my readers.

What I've called the endless conveyor belt of street musicians continues to entertain us in the town's squares. Today saw the first appearance of a chap playing the trumpet, accompanied by drums and other instruments courtesy of a machine. Unable to hear ourselves speak, my companion and I fled to the bar's interior, where the added advantage was an absence of smokers.

The number of building permits sought in Pontevedra to end June this year was about 2,000. This compares with around 38,000 in 2007; 21,000 in 2008; and 21,000 in 2009. So, even though the market bubble burst in 2007, around 21,000 permits were sought in each of the next two years. Is it any wonder there's so much empty property around? And bear in mind that properties started in 2008 and 2009 could still be in construction in 2011 and 2012, such are the lead times in the Spanish construction industry. Or, like the huge development down the hill from me, they could be frozen in mid build.

Finally . . . The already expensive toll roads in Galicia will effectively rise 14% in September. This is because the companies will raise them by a staggering 7.5% and the government will increase the VAT to 21%. Which reminds me . . . I had my first 70 euros plus tank refill this week. Ah, the joys of motoring!


Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

Your figures indicate over 82 thousand building permits issued in the last 5 years. Have you an idea how many projects were actually started? and, is their an expiration date for them?


SF Bay Area

Colin said...

Hi, Jorge.

The article I saw cited completions. As I recall, they were lower than the visados but, of course, the years are not in sync. I expect that very many licences were not taken any further in 2008 and beyond. These articles may be of interest:-