Monday, December 24, 2012

Yesterday afternoon my other lovely neighbour – Amparo, wife of Toni – very kindly invited me to the first of the festive season's five big meals tonight. This may seem a bit belated to Anglo readers but two years ago I got the invitation after the party had started. Sadly, I wasn't then in a state of mind to take it up. But this time I've said that I'll happily poll up around 9.30 to 10.00.

I was going to evince a degree at schadenfreude over all the molehills I saw in Toni's back lawn this morning but I suspect this would now seem a tad ungracious.

There's been reports in the UK of a boy called Neon. This is the first time I've heard this name and it's got me wondering What next? Arcton? Helium? Krypton? Radon, even? Anyway, would you believe there's a site call Namipedia? Of course you would. Click here.

I'm finally beginning to work out how the prescription system works in the Spanish health service. Basically, the doctor needs to put all your monthly medication on his computer, which feeds into the computers at the pharmacy. If he makes a mistake of omission, then the “Shit in, shit out” principle operates and the pharmacist will decline to give you your medication, sending you back to the doctor for another waste of a couple of hours. And, if the doctor only notes one box when you need three a month, this will send you to the pharmacy three times a month, wasting more time. Until you next see your doctor and tell him or her very politely (they're still gods here) that he's made a mistake or two. To which the usual response is what we technically call 'medical silence'. And a sullen tap or two on the keyboard.

Talking of matters medical – Nurses in the UK's NHS are not renowned for their humanity towards their patients. In fact, say some, this has been jettisoned en route to the 'professionalisation' of nursing based on graduate courses. Right now in the UK, there's widespread disgust at the shocking neglect of patients at one large hospital, over many years. Here in Spain, it's taken for granted that the nurses will show constant care and that they'll have learnt the basic things such feeding, bathing and lifting, which British nurses now seem to regard as below them. Leaving them to nurses brought in from ex-colonies in Africa and India. More recently, there's been an influx of Iberian nurses, reflecting the difficulty of getting or keeping jobs in Portugal and Spain. In fact, thanks to targeted campaigns, the number of nurses from Portugal and Spain registering to work in the UK has increased 15-fold in the last four years. The Spanish nurses find it tougher and my guess is this is because they'll have a much lower proficiency in English than their Portuguese colleagues. Which is a shame.

Finally . . . Looking at immigration into Spain, Madrid has done a deal with Brussels allowing Spain to restrict the number of Rumanians coming into the country. This is, of course, totally against the principle of free movement of people within the EU but I suppose there's a limit to the number of beggars who can be absorbed. Not to mention the gangs which go around breaking into flats. And the phoney chuggers.

I'm off food shopping. Have a great Xmas Eve and Xmas day. I leave you with a foto of my two beautiful daughters and me, enjoying one we prepared earlier. They really don't deserve me. As I'm sure they'd agree.

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