If you live in the UK, you'll be aware that the one criticism guaranteed to kill a government proposal is that “It's unfair because people are being subjected to a post-code lottery.” In other words, folk in the Outer Hebrides are not getting exactly the same costs/benefits as folk in Central London. Contrast Spain, where the 17 'autonomous communities' on the mainland and the 2 'enclaves' in North Africa have 19 different pension rates. At the top end is the Pais Vasco, at 1,023 euros a month, and at the bottom end is poor Galicia, with a mere 697 euros per month. The national average comes out out at 831 euros per month. Or a fraction under 10,000 a year. Or 192 a week.
A couple of developments today in my search for a decent internet connection. Firstly, I read that the Spanish Consumers' Association had voted Movistar(Telefónica) the worst company in Spain for the last 3 years. The second was that, on the recommendation of a reader, I went to the BT Spain site and requested a call-back. I immediately got an email and, when I got home, found they had, in fact, called me and left a message. Bloody 'ell, given how much I hated BT for years, it's a tad hard seeing them now as consumer-oriented. But everything's relative, I guess.
The Consumers' Association, by the way, are in a spot of bother with the government. They've taken to criticising the austerity measures and their impact on consumers and the government is so unhappy it's threatened to make the Association illegal. Which doesn't sound terribly democratic.
Another new Spanish word – Un knowcoster. Perhaps it has a place in English.
And another new phrase – Tim Lliví. This, it seems, is the Spanish rendition of 'Team GB', provided it's pronounced con castizo madrileño en la 'elle'. Whatever that means.
And a phrase I can't translate – Un perejíl de muchas salsas.
All of which reminds me that we foreigners are occasionally (and disrespectfully) referred to as guiris. You may or may not know that this comes from guirigay, or 'gibberish'. Nice.
The Spanish property market is a thing of wonder. Expert Mark Stucklin encapsulates here something we guiris have experienced, with astonishment - Silly as it may be, too many vendors in Spain think they will get a better price if they price themselves out of the market. The net result, of course, is that a property can stay on the market for years.
For one reason and another, my mother doesn't like Andy Murray. She took his singles victory badly; but was immensely cheered by my telling her he'd lost the doubles final. It takes all sorts.
Our Ambrose is not a fan of the euro but he nonetheless admires what he regards as the Venetian cunning of Messrs Draghi and Monti, as they scheme and manoeuvre to keep the show on the road. Click here for why.
Finally . . . Click here for 10-11 fotos of yesterday's Vikings in today's Correo Gallego.
Finally, finally . . . If synchronised swimming, why not ballet?