Saturday, August 24, 2013

Gib; The Spanish Coast; The Santiago train crash; Solar power; A funny list; Spanish smells.

The Gibraltar government has held out an olive branch to the Spanish government, who promptly rejected it and then chucked oil on the fire by sending divers to take a look at the artificial reef it's so upset about. Meanwhile the guy who built the reef has told the guardian that construction on it began 40 years ago and had garnered no complaints until this summer, from a government besieged by criticisms of corruption and incompetence. He also pointed out the Spanish government had received millions of EU euros to build similar reefs along its coasts.

As the Spanish government wraps itself in the green mantle of good environmentalists in respect of Gibraltar harbour, it's salutary to take a look at what's happening under the same government to what's left of Spain's coast. Where principles come up against the potential for cash and profits. And lose out.

In the days which followed the dreadful Santiago train crash, there was a media frenzy around the driver, who was universally portrayed as a 'speed freak' who'd either deliberately or, at least, recklessly taken a curve at 200kph, with conscious disregard for the passengers. Nothing at all was said about the possible negligence of parties responsible for the design of the track and for the safety systems in operation. Or not, as it emerged, in operation. Several weeks on, things have been reversed. A member of Parliament who was injured in the crash has called for the Ministry of Public Works to be held accountable. Warming to her theme, she's said the Minister should have sacked the CEOs of ADIF and RENFE for their borderline criminality. Maybe one day.

Interestingly, the UK (which has little space and even less sun) has announced it's going into solar energy in a big way, just as Spain (which has a lot of space and even more sun) has announced it's reversing direction and will be using solar power creators merely as a cash cow. My apologies, by the way, for repeating a link on the latter development yesterday. Sometimes I write posts in a bit of a hurry. Or maybe I'm beginning to lose it. Beginning to lose it.

The Local does a good line in lists and the latest is the 10 things Spanish expats find odd about the UK. Some of these, e. g. the booze drinking and the lack of clothes on a winter night out, shock most of us Brits as well. See the list here. Someone has rightly pointed out that it omits the absence of mixer taps in the UK. Here in Spain most places have been built in the last, say, 30 years, and all have mixer taps. The other unlisted thing that probably shocks Spaniards is the absence of bidets.

Finally . . . One of the advantages of having a posse of women to stay is that they leave behind such things as a bottle of Champney's Spa Indulgence: Exotic Retreat Bubble Heaven. I took advantage of this to luxuriate in a bath yesterday evening but, sad to say, the smell from the drains won out over the mixture of coconut milk, papaya and ylang ylang. Which reminds me . . . I learnt recently that Spanish builders do without the vent pipe installed in other countries. One of them justified this cost saving on the basis that "We have windows that open and close". Not in my bathroom we don't.


Anonymous said...

Colin, You say that

"A member of Parliament who was injured in the crash has called for the Ministry of Public Works to be held accountable. Warming to her theme, she's said the Minister should have sacked the CEOs of ADIF and RENFE for their borderline criminality. Maybe one day."

But 22/8 you told us that ADIF & RENFE were private companies. So sacking CEOs was never an option.

This lady MP, like so many in authority in Spain, would benefit from reading your blog.

Maybe no day.

As for the "UK going into solar energy in a big way", I think not. Solar subsidies have been cut to the bone and coal has become ever cheaper, due to American fracking reducing their coal consumption.

What's more, UK electricity is now so highly priced, due to windmills, that making it from low priced coal is immensely profitable.

Quantum leap in solar technology required before it gets a look in.


Anonymous said...

Colin, Get some use from those Galician churches, start up a wispire scheme


Anonymous said...

Colin, Big chance here for all your hoards of blog followers to show what we Brits are made of - Get your votes in today - Without fail

Your Queen & country needs you


Sierra said...

One of the penalties of being pioneers in the plumbing field was that older British homes often have storage tanks in their attics that feed water heaters. Under certain conditions, those tanks could be contaminated – for instance, by the intrusion of a rat – and tainted hot water that flows into a mixer tap might get sucked into a cold-water pipe leading back to the public water supply, endangering the whole neighborhood. So regulations forbid mixing of hot and cold water streams inside a tap unless the tank meets strict standards or protective valves are installed. Modern UK systems tend to do away with the storage tank in the loft, and hence mixer taps can be used.

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