Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Correo; Gib again; PP dinosaurs; Ignorant Spanish banks; Facebook tracking; and great Spanish words.

I mentioned the other day I'd complained about receiving, first, 3 and, then, 4 copies of The Economist all at the same time. Yesterday I got just a single copy, only a day or two late. A coincidence? Quite possibly. On the other hand, perhaps a pile of last Friday's Economists have suddenly been moved from their resting place in a central warehouse and every subscriber in Spain got a Tuesday delivery. All 5 of us.

So, the EU says it'll be sending observers to the Gibraltar-Spain border to ensure controls are 'proportionate'. But not this month. Perhaps in September. But most likely in October. By which time the problem will surely have been solved. Meanwhile, an ex-Labour government minister has insisted joint sovereignty is the answer, adding that Britain and Spain got within a hair's breadth of this in 2002, before Aznar's PP government got cold feet and backed out at 23:59. Well, maybe but the problem is that 99% of Gibraltarians voted against this. And the UK government won't do anything against their will. It says.

Talking about the right wing of the right-of-centre PP party, it still provides a home for nutters who think the Franco government didn't go far enough. The latest of these to emerge from the undergrowth is the mayor of Baralla here in Galicia. During a council hearing last week, he opined that those shot by the fascist government probably got what they deserved. As is the norm for politicians here, he didn't apologise. Just admitted his comments were 'inappropriate'.

Nothing if not predictable, the mired-in-doo-doo PP party has responded to opposition parties' criticisms around rail management by accusing them of 'playing politics with death'. At times it seems Spain's politicians really don't care how low their reputation is with the people, confident in the knowledge that, come the elections, they'll all return to the tribal loyalties inherited from their grandparents. Forged in the Civil War era.

Why am I not surprised that Spanish banks ignore 80% of the complaints they get? I vividly recall the time I asked mine how the calculation had been done to give me a return far lower than I'd calculated on a 2 year deposit, to be met by a blank stare. So I quit the bank, for which they handsomely charged me!

Premium phone lines are the norm here in Spain, for just about everything. So, I was intrigued to see the british government is, rightly, going to ban they for help lines. I wonder, without any confidence, whether this will happen here.

During the camino walk I did on Monday, we stopped in a village to get a cold beer and to buy some water. There was a tap in the square and, after filling my bottle, I asked the shopkeeper whether it was drinkable. She shrugged and, when I asked her what this meant, she replied: "Well, they say it is. But none of us drink from it".

Which reminds me . . . Within a second or two of mentioning the camino in yesterday's post, an ad for Compeed foot products appeared on my Facebook page. And not just in the ads down the side but in my news feed. Frighteningly efficient. Spooky even. Incidentally, since I changed my status back to single, the ads for dating agencies have started to re-appear on my page, accompanied by seductive fotos.

The Spanish El astillero means 'The shipyard'. A little to my surprise, there's a place by this name up near Santander. Guess what it's known for.

And, finally, on the subject of Spanish words, here's The Local's list of 10 which could be usefully absorbed into English. Like so many others over the centuries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Colin, Some years back I used to regularly visit an old lady in a nursing home. She used to frequently complain that her “Hello” magazine, which she ordered weekly, always arrived dog-eared and late.

After some detective work, she discovered the staff were “enjoying” its contents during their lunch breaks, before delivery. The quotation marks are because it was the Hello magazine, but I guess you worked that out for yourself.

So, I wonder, could someone in the delivery chain to your post box, be an economics student?


Hain at 23:59 – Well, he cared nothing for the will of the Gibraltarians and almost pulled it off. Isn’t that amazing? As for their loyalty to GB, just wait for the coalition’s anti-tax-haven measures to strike home and see what the Gibraltarians think then. How can you defend the elitist, tax-dodging Gibraltarians and in the same breath claim that the train driver was a pawn of the business moguls? Now, on what side of the political fence are you sitting?

How equivocal does this look – They’ll pull up that drawbridge and grab that key. And just think, Peter Hain was sixty seconds from undermining the ramparts? Huh. Turning down this most generous offer must count as the most sensible decisions of Sr. Aznar’s administration. You must give them credit for something Colin – How about that?

Today I hear you are living in Bongo Bongo land. – How does it feel to begrudged foreign aid? Oh sorry, you’ve had it already, thanks to your EU membership - Now stop crowing, I can just see you marching up and down shouting “HURRAH - Just look at our motorways and high speed tracks and well, just about everything since Franco - HURRAH HURRAH”. Now settle down my good fellow.

As for denier Perry’s assertions that the Arctic is freezing solid – Please ask him to observe the arctic ice, gradually vanishing year by year.

But this is no place for such Climate Change Argy-Bargy, so I say to Perry stop trying to hijack an excellent blog. What we need is news of Pontevedra, struggling to find its way in the smart-phone universe we all live in – Keep up the good work Colin, we need you.