So, we have a new Pope and the Catholic Church can start getting back to normal, if there is anything it does that can really be described as 'normal'. I am, as I've said, a lapsed Catholic but I was disturbed to hear today that, because I'm baptised and until I write to the Vatican to tell them I've lost the faith, I'm still counted among the billion plus Catholics of the world. In other words, I remain on their books. As do many of us, of course. Which doesn't seem right.
As for my daughters, one of them is very much a Catholic and the other is very much an atheist. They were sent to Catholic primary and secondary schools because their (non-Catholic) mother felt the discipline would be better there and because I felt it was essential they were exposed to one of the world's three great desert religions. If only because they're a wonderful source of humour.
One last word on the Papal election . . . Watching Pope Frankie appear was quite an experience, seated next to my Catholic mother and my extremely Catholic sister. But I was struck by the thought that the only other organisation I know that could compete with the Church in terms of male-dominated senescence would be the English Football Association. Which is not known for its fleetness of foot. Or its wisdom.
During's Spain's boom years, her population increased by more than 10%, when over 5 million immigrants took up many of the jobs being created, especially in the construction industry. Most of them, I think, are still there, possibly making up the bulk of Spain's 6 million unemployed. Which would help to explain why there's not been much violence on the streets.
If you're a Brit resident in Spain, here's what you need to know about about access to healthcare services here. But what you really need to know is whether new tax measures will affect you. Essentially, if you have assets of more than 50,000 euros outside Spain, they do. And the relevant reporting deadline in 30 April, I believe. But don't rely on me.
My father's stuff included an ID card from the late 1940s and, more interestingly, a 100 quid debenture issued by Stableford and Company Ltd. In 1923. I imagine this is worthless and that my father owned it because Stableford was a member of Wallasey Golf Club, where my father played and of which he was Captain at one point. Well, if you play every Saturday and Sunday and most evenings of the week, you get to be pretty good. If I'm wrong and the debenture has some value, bids are welcome.
Finally . . . If you're going to be in Pontevedra, here and here are somebody's idea of the best tapas bars in Pontevedra province and in its capital, Pontevedra city.