Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I woke at 6.30 this morning. Not because I wanted to but because someone was cleaning the street with a machine that sounded not like a leaf-blower but like a hedge-cutter. My decision, the previous night, not to get out of bed and find my ear-plugs looked, in retrospect, like a very bad one.

A few more things about Portugal:-
  • The Portuguese introduced the samosa to India.
  • Cafés, bars and restaurants in Portugal still have internal Smokers' Areas.
  • If you're stuck in an autopista queue, there's every chance a stack of motorbikes will roar past you on the hard shoulder. Plus a car or two.
  • Mobile phone use by drivers seems to be even higher than in Spain.
  • The bureaucracy is even worse than in Spain.

An interesting correlation – A Snickers bar in an autopista café in Portugal costs 1 euro 65, against 1.35 in Spain. And petrol was 1.65 a litre in Portugal, against 1.36 in Spain.

Back in Spain, the government seems to be taking a leaf out of Gordon Brown's book on fleecing the voters. Our Gordon was fond of what were called 'stealth taxes'. Ways of increasing the tax burden that were less visible than, say, a one percent increase in income tax. Later this year, the Spanish government will announce a change in the way the regular inspection of your car needs to be done, increasing the frequency and, thus the fees payable. Nowt to do with safety, I suspect.

Up to La Coruña tonight to see Kurt Elling and his combo. Which may or may not be a word which is still used in jazz circles. Excellent. And worth the 260km round trip.
Plus he made an excellent joke when finishing up at 10.20, telling the audience he knew they all had dinner appointments for two hours time.

Finally . . . Kurt Elling, performing My Foolish Heart. Enjoy!

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