Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dealing with my father's papers has alerted me to the odd fact that neither he nor my mother used their proper first names throughout their adult lives, and possibly longer. My father's full name was David Christopher Davies. He was christened David when his father was away at sea. As he (my grandfather) didn't like this name, he called my father Sonny. Possibly inspired, if that's the word, by The Jazz Singer. Some time in his teens, my father changed his name to Digger. And some time after that, to Dai. For her part, my mother was christened – wait for it – Joanna Barbarita Bankes. And is possibly the only person in the world with this second forename. For some reason, she was only ever called Rita. Despite this, she has been very upset at ignorant people sending condolence cards to Mrs R Davies, rather than Mrs J B Davies. As for me, I was christened David Colin Davies and, in the family tradition, was only ever called Colin. Until I came to Spain and discovered that the Spanish don't believe in two forenames, but do believe in two surnames. To them, therefore, the unfamiliar second name of Colin is my first surname. For this reason, and because they recognise it, whenever I'm asked for my name I always say David. More accurately Dabeeth. By the way, some of you will have noticed that my father and I have the same initials and, of course, surname. Which has produced a fair bit of confusion over the years. Parents can be so dumb at times.

If you were asked to say what percentage the notes and coins in circulation represented of all the cash in the economy, I doubt you'd go as low as the true figure of 3%. The balance is just numbers on a computer and is created/increased whenever a bank makes any sort of loan or gives credit. Some say that this puts a certain bias into the system, especially when banks are allowed to do things they weren't allowed to do in the 70s. They also say the situation cries out for change. Which seems pretty reasonable to me.

I've said that, in need of property title certificates in the UK, one doesn't need to got to the Land Registry and talk to someone; it's all done on the internet these days. I was a little disappointed with this for the strange reason that the Registry is built on the spot where previously had stood my grandparents' pub – The Wellington. Within a stone's throw of the Birkenhead entrance to the road tunnel under the river Mersey. And I would have quite liked a reason to re-visit the locale, to spark childhood memories. But, thanks to the stupid British mania for speed and efficiency, this was not to be.

The new tax laws in Spain . . . Although you'd be forgiven for getting the impression these apply only to foreigners resident in Spain, they actually apply to everyone. And they may well have been brought in because Spaniards moved so much money offshore during the heaviest travails of the Euro. Introduced without consultation or notice late last year, they may well be illegal under EU law. They're certainly retrospective and may well amount to a Trojan horse, as was the case with the tax amnesty of last year. In that case, it was claimed that no questions would be asked but this, predictably, turned out to be untrue. With the new reporting arrangements, anything could happen and hence the concern. It would perhaps be ironic if a measure designed to catch Spaniards led to the loss of wealthy foreigners. The Law of Unintended Consequences. Anyway, here's more on this from the Round Town News of the south coast.

Finally . . . How fantastic to see the ground in Rome that normally gets 30-40,000 for football matches full of 80,000 rugby fans today. Even better to see Italy beat Ireland.

But not so good to see Wales beat England. But, then, Wales did have the ref. on their side . . . .

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