Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After the Pontecaldelas land registry, the Pontecaldelas notary, the Pontevedra Catastro and the Pontevedra Registro, we now have a 5th player - 6th if you count me – in the saga of the municipal taxes on the house in the hills I sold last November. The local office of the national Tax Office – the Hacienda – has written to tell me they accept that I'm no longer the owner of the property. Which may or may not help me avoid paying a tax which should be paid by the new owner. I guess there's still time for a 7th player – the Galician Tax Office,the Facenda - to join the fray.

Thanks to all this – and similar experiences - I have a clear vision of what happens to a newly qualified civil servant on his or her first day . . . The Induction Course consists of someone telling them - “All you need to know is that if you come across any inefficiency, never mention it to anyone. It's the glue that keeps us all employed.

There are neologisms in English which appeal and neologisms that don't. But none of us can do anything to stop them gaining currency, if they are liked. It's the market of speakers which decides. That said, I do hope the markets reject the new (to me) word I heard today – push-back. As in “When we introduce this, I expect push-back from some schools.” It means 'resistance', I guess. Strangely, I heard a second new word today, and one rather similar. It was 'dieback', as a noun. In the context of sick ash trees.

Talking of language . . . You know you've lost touch when you read something like this:- “The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council invites expressions of interest from eligible individuals to attend a five-day interactive sandpit on the theme of digital parenthood.” Last time I was in a sandpit, I was four. And not thinking much about parenthood.

Until tonight, I hadn't watched a film on Spanish TV for years. For one thing, back then five minutes after the start, there'd be 15 minutes – yes, 15 – of advertising. But things have improved. Though not by much. In the film I saw tonight there was 15 minutes of the film, followed by 6 minutes of ads, followed by 3 minutes of the film, followed by another 6 minutes of ads. God knows why people put up with it.

I mentioned cruel bank evictions yesterday. There's more on this subject here.

Smack on cue comes a case of illegal sexual relations with a 13 year old girl down in Almeria. The local prosecutor and the police declined to take the case forward as the girl, they said, had consented to sex with a 23 old man who'd, inevitably, found and groomed her on the internet. Fortunately, the provincial court decided her consent was invalid as the accused had used his 'dominant position'. The girl, they said, hadn't been in control of her behaviour. And they sentenced the guy to 9 years.

You may not know but the EU has a Cemeteries Route, which runs through the Spanish cities of Granada, San Sebastian and Santander. The little town of Finisterra has asked to be included, on the back of some truly dreadful funereal constructions designed by Galicia's leading architect, C├ęsar Portela. These are so bad, not even the dead are willing to occupy them. They've now lain empty for years, possibly improved by vegetation growing over and obscuring them.

Finally . . . Here's the gen on what not to chuck down your toilet. I have to confess to throwing a wipe into the toilet after cleaning the sink with it last week. But never again. And there was that saxophone in 1985. But we don't talk about that.


James Atkinson said...

Colin, Here's a phrase I loathe, but now often used on radio four, "From the get go". In what way this an improvment on "From the begining" or "At the start" has not been disclosed. I note that in Eire the road sign for "Give Way" is instead "Yield". Rather quaint. and to the point.

Colin said...

Agreed. I fancy I've seen "Yield" in the UK but maybe not.