Several times over the last decade, I've confessed myself nonplussed at how El País and El Mundo select the people for whom they publish obits. Today's El País offerings, for example, were in respect (literally) of Beate S. Gordon and Jon Finch. I knew nothing of either of them, though might just recognise the latter from his Shakespearean roles of thirty years ago. Who next? My brother-in-law?
Healthcare is one of the state provisions which is delegated to the regional governments of Spain. As a result, there are wide differences in the per capita spend on health across the country. As you'd expect, the (rich) Basque country and Navarre region spend the most and the Canaries the least. I don't know about the States but this “post-code lottery” would be seen as anathema is the UK, where equally good (or bad) healthcare is seen as a quasi-religious totem. It is, of course, impossible to achieve. But, anyway, all of Spain's regions are cutting back on their spend, leading to fears Spain will lose its position as the country with the longest male and female life expectancies in Europe.
El Correo Gallego was in no doubt yesterday that “this interminable crisis” had brought one positive consequence in its wake. This was a realisation – at least among the citizenry – that it was time to end the privileges of the political class. This was an odd way to refer to rampant corruption but that's what the theme of the leader was. The latest example is the Treasurer of the governing PP party being found to have salted away overseas the trifling sum of 22m euros. There'll be another one tomorrow.
But how angry are the Spanish about corruption among their businessmen and politicians? Sure, there are the newspaper op-ed columns. And, yes, there are letters to the editor of a type we never used to see. But as the writer of one of these pointed out, people in Argentina and Pakistan have gone out on the streets in their hundreds of thousands to protest against corruption, whereas we've seen nothing here. Except a passive approval of the idea there should be a cross-party approach to finding a solution. I wonder if people believe the problem will solve itself as economic decline – hopefully temporary – means fewer and fewer opportunities. I hope not
A random number – 7. The number of trashed umbrellas I saw on a brief trip into town this evening. Reported in tomorrow's Diario de Pontevedra, this will be 7.36 umbrellas.
I guess it was a story just too romantic to be true – that crates of brand-new Spitfires would be found buried in the soil of Burma, having been interred at the end of World War 2. Since none were found by an international team of archaeologists, the venture is now being seen, in hindsight, as an expensive farce. Which is a double shame. If not triple.
Talking of archaeologists, there was a program on BBC last night about the Chachapoya civilisation of South America, who inhabited a lofty part of what is now Peru. I was reminded of it today, when reading of the blessing of animals on yesterday's feast day of St Anthony. My thought was that, if we'd read of a Chachapoyan high priest blessing a ferret with 'holy water', we would have given a condescending smile at the primitiveness of it all. And quite rightly too.
Finally . . . I mentioned an un-busy copistería last night. Almost inevitably, I passed one today that had closed. I'm sure it won't the only one.