Wednesday, October 17, 2012


So, Spain is going for a 'virtual rescue'. Well, why not? We have a virtual European union, a virtual currency union, and a soon-to-arrive virtual banking union. And over at The Hague, we have a virtual saint in the form of Radan Karadzich, who says he's 'tolerant and kind' and that there would have been a lot more Serbian slaughter but for him. He's not bad as a comedian too. Though of the sick kind.

My favourite quiet – only quiet – café in town is now patronised by so many talkative matrons, it's become rather like the Women's Institute. The other problem is that, for some unknown reason, it closes at 2pm. Which is not good when you've arrived at 1.45. But preparing to leave today, I did have the compensation of an insight into differing – not necessarily 'right and 'wrong' – cultural instincts. When Brits answer their phones, their instinct is to whisper. For Spaniards, it's to shout. And, when it comes to the newspapers, my instinct is to put them back on the rack as I leave. Whereas the woman with the irritating ring tone of a squeaky toy left hers on the table, for the waitress to pick up. As I say, there's no question of right and wrong here. But that doesn't stop me feeling superior.

Readers may recall the appalling saga of the oil-slick from the Prestige along the Galician coast in 2002. Well, the trial of three people finally came to court this week. And will continue for at least a year. As the Director of the Institute of Marine Studies at La Coruña University remarked - “Justice in Spain is not noteworthy for its speed”. Indeed not. I guess it's lucky none of the accused died in the interim.

I read somewhere weeks ago that the big bonanza for phone companies would be advertising on our mobiles(cell phones). Perhaps this has now begun, given that this morning I received a message about the whatsapp app. At least I think that's what it was called.

Way down in the (extra)lawless south, keen observer – and fellow blogger - David Jackson reminds us that a 35% unemployment rate isn't necessarily all that it seems and that, as predicted, the black economy is growing rapidly, as people seek to avoid the taxes they fear are going into the pockets of corrupt politicians. As David says, it all helps to avoid the social unrest you'd expect from the official level of joblessness.

One of the money saving measures of the Spanish government has been the removal of 417 medicines from the items available on prescription. Most of these are OTC products and, in other countries, they'd be available from supermarkets. Here, though, they'll continue to be available only from pharmacies. Who tend to have higher prices. It's hard to see any liberalisation taking place. Which reminds me . . . Parapharmacies are a common site on Spanish high streets. When I first came here I thought it would be here I could get things like analgesics, if they weren't available in supermarkets. But, no, you can't. Frankly, I wouldn't know why parapharmacies have this name, since sun creams, perfumes and the like don't seem to justify it. Even if the shop assistants do wear white coats. Perhaps it's a Spanish joke.

I really much knuckle down to at least a page or two of my new car manual. If only to find out why my key sometimes locks or unlocks only one door and why all four windows sometimes open a fraction when I unlock the door(s). Can this really be a feature?

Finally . . . A joke. The European Commission is seeking approval of a 26% increase in its budget for Salaries and Pensions. Well, why ever not? That's our future government and it has to be of the right size and quality for the challenges ahead. But can anyone get on board the train? Or is it First Class passengers only?

4 comments:

Ferrolano said...

Colin, I have seen the same thing when opening the doors of a friend’s car. With the electronic remote key, all doors open and close on command. More recently, when using the actual key we have seen the same thing that you have described, drivers door or all of them will open. We think that it is due to how long you hold the key in the “open” position, a quick turn and one door, a longer action for all of them. Give it a try.

As for the windows opening slightly when the doors are opened, (which again I have seen on other cars), is designed to happen. You will notice that they close again after the doors have been fully closed. I believe the reason is due to either the difficulty of being able to close the door against the surrounding seal caused by the momentary build-up of pressure inside the car. Or, because the door does not have a frame around the window and consequently the window has to compress the surrounding seal when the door is being closed. This compressing action may cause the window to flex slightly and there maybe a risk of it breaking. It could be a bit of both – is there a car designer out there???

Not providing a window frame does reduce the door material and manufacturing cost, which is more than offset by the electronics required to automatically open and close the window.

Colin said...

Well, here's the results of today's tests:-
1. One press of the button opens the driver's door

2. A second press opens the other 3 doors

3. A third press opens all four windows

4. If I keep the button depressed, the window all open completely.

I still haven't figured out what causes the wing mirrors to fold.

Will read the manual tomorrow . . . .

ANA said...

I buy most of my medicines etc from Chemist Direct the online pharmacy. I'm fed up with being ripped off by the numerous local chemist's. I couldn't get hold of something called aqueous cream which is cheap and available in the UK. One of my local chemists said he could 'make one up' for me for twenty euros if you please!

Colin said...

Thanks, Ana. Never knew about that.

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