Thursday, November 08, 2012


Imagine you're driving your car, you hit a cyclist a glancing blow and then, when you get out to help him get up, you find you've knocked down Bradley Wiggins, winner of this year's Tour de France and an Olympics gold medal winner. Not the sort of fame you want, really. But would you get the scratches on your car fixed? Or would you leave them there like the kiss on your face of your first girlfriend? Or, in this case, boyfriend. BTW, it was of course, a white van.

So, Brussels has formally rejected the economic forecasts of the Spanish government. Or in that lovely Spanish phrase, has dismissed them as so much wet paper. On top of that, the EU mandarins have called for even more cuts and even greater tax increases than Madrid already plans to inflict us with. Despite this – and its impact on the real economy – Brussels says everything will be OK by the end of 2013. Nonsense upon vicious nonsense. Endorsing the view that no one really knows what's happening or what to do about it. Other than to slash and burn their way to more than 6 million unemployed.

Well, the tablets I sent to my daughter in the UK haven't arrived so tomorrow I'll be mailing some more by certified mail. I just hope my number doesn't put me in front of the clerk who smirked at my stupidity for sending them ordinary mail last time. If it does, I'll just say they did arrive but my daughter wants some more.

Talking of tablets, here's some advice if you ever find yourself needing soluble ibuprofen from Kern – Buy the pack of 40, rather than the pack of 20. According to the pharmacy I used this morning, they cost the same. At least this is what they said when I went back and queried why the 20 pack was the same price as the last 40 pack I bought. So I asked them to give me the 40 pack. Which they did. All with a smile.

My suspicion is that pharmacies are a truly profitable business here. Some evidence for this is that there are three of them in less than 500 metres of one street in Pontevedra, the flashing green crosses of each of them visible from anywhere in the street. That said, the road is lined with 6 or 7-floor flat-blocks, meaning a population density far greater than in, say, the UK.

Talking of shops . . . I've mentioned at least once I'm surprised at the places which have opened up in retail sites that have closed down. Travel agents and estate agents being two of these. So, I wasn't surprised to read, in the context of money-laundering that: Another common approach is to mix up non-kosher funds with the assets of a front company: any above-ground business that handles a lot of cash, such as a check-cashing service, travel agency, grocery store, car wash, or coin laundry. Alternatively, you might use a business with a hard-to-value inventory — precious metals, jewellery, antiques, art, etc.” Then there are the bridal shops and the pet-shops I've mentioned.

There was a terrible tragedy last week in Madrid, when several young people were crushed to death in a stampede initiated by some cretin setting of a flare in an (over)crowded dance venue. The mayoress of Madrid responded with the knee-jerk statement that they would never again rent out public places for events. Since when it's emerged that the safety and security measures were, to say the least, inadequate. Let's hope that a court case ensues and that the price is paid for lax attitudes.

Finally . . . Can I recommend the late Marion Montgomery, a truly wonderful singer whom I had the pleasure of hearing live three or four times. Here's one of my favourites, recently re-discovered in my vinyl collection. And here's another. A voice of melted chocolate, as someone said. Incidentally, despite never having smoked, Marion died of a lung cancer which she attributed to a lifetime of singing in night clubs. Possibly a lesson in there somewhere.

And, finally, another great number, introduced by the inimitable Peter Cooke. - Tired of you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Colin,

I think the European project is about the best that happenned to Europe since the days of Marcus Aurelius.
Things are difficult but if it wasn't for the 'catalan issue' I was starting to feel moderately optimistic that we might be seeing the end of the tunnel soon.

And Britain will have to take a decision. In or out?

Nice country though. I was there last week - first time in 12 yrs.
London looked tidier, swankier even, than before. The view on to the City and St Pauls from Boris' new Fish Tank "city hall" Canalettoish on cool but sunny autumm afternoon.

Moscow

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