One area where a Directive from Brussels really will be responsible for changing Spanish society is that of the olive oil and vinegar set on every restaurant and café table. The oleaginous march of progress means these are to be banned. But not, as you might think, because they're unhealthy; it's an anti-fraud measure. And we all know how assiduously the EU and the Spanish government crack down on fraud.
Which reminds me . . . A large Galician fishing company – Pescanova – recently went belly-up, another victim of La Crisis. The president sold his vast holdings of shares just before announcements were made. Clearly a man blessed with exceptional luck. Or insight.
I'm also reminded of the reports that not only the current PP president (Rajoy) but also the previous PP President (Aznar) was receiving extra salary payments from a slush fund. Which makes a bit of nonsense of those lists of minor politicians alleged to be earning more than the top dog. They may still be overpaid, of course, but, relatively speaking, not as much as previously.
Not long after I came here to Spain I worked out that all of my utility bills were composed mostly of fixed costs, rather than variable costs in line with my consumption. This is the opposite of other countries, where your bill will relate far more to your usage. Twelve years on, things haven't changed. I've just received a water bill which comprises 96% fixed costs. But at least the company has improved its bills a tad in 12 years; as of a couple of months ago, I don't need to spend 3 seconds totting up 2 or 3 numbers so as to get the volume of water used. They now do it for me. Unlike the gas company, which has recently stopped providing either the total volume of gas used or any of the components that would allow me to do calculate it. Now, that's progress. And pretty good evidence of how Spain's effective monopolies treat their customers. No Ofgem here.
Many of us will have experienced the feeling that someone is following us. But few of us, I guess, will have feared it was the devil. Not so a chap down in Murcia who, having concluded Old Nick was after him, decided to seek sanctuary in the local church. Possibly forgetting that he was driving a car at the time. And pulling a trailer full of artichokes. That's fear for you. More here, and an HT to reader Sierra.
I've mentioned Pontevedra's Porcos Bravos a couple of times. I've now learnt that their motto is “Football, Beers and Orphans". I've no idea where the orphans come in but hope to find out tomorrow when I join these Anglophiles for their fish 'n' chips celebration of St George's Day. Which is more than can be said of most Brits. Me included, normally. Perhaps we can drum up a small military parade.
For no good reason – honest – I wanted to know what the Spanish for 'to nag' was. I came up with regañar and fastidiar but these – 'to scold' and 'to annoy' – don't really seem to fit the bill. Has anyone got a better option?
A preposition is a word that you shouldn't end a sentence with.
This wine completely hit the spot. It tasted of iron and granite, like it had been raised on Emily Dickinson poetry, and it had a cool thickness to it that seemed to match the London fog coiling around the street-lamps outside my window. But it also contained, somehow, tendrils of hope, like snowdrops pushing through the frozen earth.
- Victoria Moore: Daily Telegraph.
- Victoria Moore: Daily Telegraph.
Finally . . . Since when did the packaging and posting costs for Amazon reach 33% of the bill?