Update: According to the man in the shop, my USB pen is crocked, or to use the technical term - 'fucked'. This happens when you use a pen as if it were a regular hard drive, instead of only using it fleetingly. If you do the former - as I did yesterday for the first time - it will eventually overheat. Perhaps after ten years or perhaps after only one day. As in my case.
So, I can't retrieve last night's post and will have to rewrite it from memory over the course of today.
In more than 68 years of marriage, my father never allowed my mother to put anything other than salt in her cooking. So you can imagine how bland our food was as kids, before we could leave home at 18 and throw ourselves into the world's vast array of spices. I thought about this tonight, as I was preparing stew for my bedridden mother, my sister and I. I was tempted to chuck in several cloves of garlic from the hands I'd brought from Spain but decided not to, just in case. But I did go to what would be the spice cupboard, to find only half a jar of dried parsley leaves. In the end I contented myself with adding just a couple of red peppers (pimientos, not chili) to my mother's standard ingredients. One step at a time.
I have some familiarity with the way properties are bought and sold in Spain. It takes up a lot of time and involves a great deal of paperwork. This is true whether the title is registered or not and it's always done via a notary. Who is a civil servant and an institution more appropriate to the 18th than the 21st.century. In fact, I've always been surprised that he or she wasn't using a quill pen. Here in the UK, you can't get hold of paper even if you want to. All title documents are held electronically at the Land Registry and getting hold of them is as simple as filling in a form on line and sending it off. If you're lucky they'll be with you (on line) in an hour. If not, within a day. Inconceivable in a Spanish context. In this, as in other aspects of Spanish life, one feels that no one is at all interested in making the process more logical, easier or quicker. Instead, one suspects that the underlying attitude is 'It may not be perfect but it either creates or maintains employment. So we'll stick with it.' Not exactly an approach that chimes with a dynamic society. On the other hand, the tax authorities send you a draft declaration every March and you can do everything on line, quickly and efficiently. This is what I mean when I say that Spain has one foot in the 21st century and one in the 18th.