Someone once said something like “Whenever two or more businessmen get together, it can be safely assumed their purpose is to cheat their customers.” I thought about this today when reading an account of the arrest of six people for some fraud involving the restoration of a retablo in one of Galicia's churches. Four of these were politicians and two of them civil servants. And the suggestion was they'd been involved in widespread duplicity in respect of restoration of stone and wood artefacts. Not only that; the article hinted at the involvement of a priest or four. But, anyway, I've checked and confirmed my suspicion that the quotation was by Adam Smith, writing in The Wealth of Nations. He didn't put it quite as succinctly as me but here it is nonetheless- “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
Seeing the praise heaped on Victoria Beckham's latest fashion offerings, the thought struck me if must stick in the craw of 'real' fashion designers that she should have acquired so much acclaim so easily. Specifically, Stella McCartney must find it more than a tad galling. OK, she's the daughter of the man with the most famous hair on the planet but at least she went to Art/Design College. I think. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure Mrs Beckham didn't. Maybe she's just a natural.
Earlier this year, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, postponed publication of his budget until after some local elections. Whatever the plan was, it didn't work. And now he seems to be about to repeat the mistake. He has regional elections coming up in late October in Galicia and the Basque Country and seems hellbent on delaying his (demeaning?) bailout request to the ECB until these are out of the way. Which should stretch out the brinkmanship that's being indulged in by both German and Spanish politicians. Click here for an overview of Sr Rajoy's dilemmas.
The Spanish, by the way, like to refer to key events by their dates, as the US does with 9/11. So the upcoming October elections are referred to as 21/0. Why it isn't 21/10, I don't know but there we are.
I have to smile whenever I see the word 'solidarity' used by a Spanish politician - whether this is the President of the Catalan government addressing Sr Rajoy or whether it's Sr Rajoy addressing the ECB. What it always means is “Give us some of your money, no questions asked and no strings attached.”
Back to the Catastro office today, to hand over the copy of the escritura obtained from the notary's clerk. This was to find that the game of round-the-houses/offices had mutated into one of round-the-desks. When I got to the woman I'd dealt with a week ago, she gave me a form to fill out and to take to a colleague in a different department on the other side of the room. The latter asked me several pointless questions, stamped the form and said nothing else was necessary. One of these questions was “Can I see your identity card?”. So I showed it to her and, of course, she didn't notice it'd expired eighteen months ago. Hey, ho.
OK, if I were to ask you what were the most and least expensive fish on the market here in Galicia last Friday, what would you say? Well, the most expensive was palometa (at 34 euros a kilo), followed by sole (30) and halibut (25). I've never heard of palometa but the dictionary gives – 'harvestfish'. Ever-popular hake was at 12 and at the bottom of the pile was, of course, mackerel, at only 3 euros a kilo. As I said the other day, this fish is practically shunned by the Galicians as having 'too much' taste. Bugger the healthy oils.
Finally . . I said the other day that the lady councillor caught on a bedside camera needed support. Here's someone who agrees with me,