The EU has a summit over the next few days, though I'm not sure whether its focus is Greece's need for more money or agreement of the EU budget for the next seven years. One participant is quoted as saying - “A political agreement is within reach and I think it is our duty as finance ministers to get it. Everyone has to accept that they will have to go beyond their red lines.” So, what exactly is the point of red lines, then? I ask again – Does anyone really understand what's going on?
The latest revelation from the Pope is that Jesus wasn't born in year zero but 'several years before'. Which has apparently been known by a few academics for a while now. But we all knew Christ wasn't really born on a date of a pagan mid-winter festival, didn't we? That said, whatever next? The Da Vinci code is true?
Talking of the Pope . . . I couldn't help but notice his red shoes in a foto in the paper. It crossed my mind there'd be nobody else in the world sporting these. How wrong I was. Walking home across the bridge, I crossed with a guy wearing a very similar pair. Perhaps a papal nuncio in mufti. Coming back from a casa relax in Poio. Where we revel in three of these.
Changing Spain 1: A night club owner who made life unbearable for people nearby has been jailed for several years. The odd thing about the trial was that it took place a long time after the action was initiated and the club closed down. You might think that the tardiness of justice here would militate against the taking of legal action but, in fact, there seems to be – here in Pontevedra at least – a tendency to make a denuncia at the drop of a hat. I've even had to make one myself, when Toni called the police after I'd seen someone in my garden.
Changing Spain 2: One of the things that most surprised me when I came to Spain was the number of branches of every bank in town. Plus the number of employees sitting at desks in the banks, waiting to attend customers dropping in without an appointment. It seemed a very expensive way to do business and I only got to understand it better when I came to know just how face-to-face the Spanish prefer to do things. Well, the crisis has inevitably led to economies and there've been several closures in town. At the national level, Spanish banks have closed 5,000 branches since 2007, or 12% of the total. Despite this, Spain still has more branches than any other country in Europe. Her total of almost 40,000 compares with 11,600 in the UK. Plenty of scope for further changes, I guess.
Best ever put down? In a BBC comedy last night – the wonderful Getting On – a lady doctor met one of her male colleagues in the corridor. As they talked she said:- “Do you know that you have a habit of touching women on the arm when you talk to them?” To which he replied:- “I've always been interested in cougars”. Which brought the immediate response:- “Yes, well I've always liked ferrets but . . .” I was laughing too much to hear the end of the sentence.
En passant, nobody Spanish would think it odd for people to touch each other on the arm as they talked. For the rest of us, it takes some getting used to.
Finally . . . A beautiful song, performed by beautiful people. For a very worthwhile charity.