Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Corruption; Pensioners; Columbus; Autovias; Dixie; Pooling; and Wasps & Spiders

Looking back over the last 10 years, it's hard to avoid the conclusions that Spain's political and business classes thought the good times(vacas gordas) would last forever and that they could fill their boots to the max and rely on the assumption that, in a low ethics society, they'd get away with it until they retired on the proceeds. Or perhaps they thought the golden years wouldn't last so long and they should plunder the public purse as swiftly as they could. Either way, the result can now be seen in the number of corruption cases going through the courts and the fact there's at least one new one every day. Keeping track of them all would be a full-time job.

Which reminds me . . . How many submarines  does Spain currently have? No, I didn't know either but I believe the answer is in two parts:- 1. None now, but 2. Four to be built. No, I can't understand why Spain needs any submarines either. Perhaps it was simply a typical Good Times decision. Anyway, the first is under construction and there's a hell of a problem. As planned, the thing is so heavy is won't be able to surface if it ever goes under water. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to give the contract to a firm which knew the first thing about building submarines but maybe there were other considerations. So, to make sure that the sub can rise as well as sink, it's being widened and lengthened. I'm not sure how this does the trick but I'm no submarine builder either. Perhaps it won't. Who'd be surprised? All I know, from what I read, is that this will add €208m to the doubtless already stratospheric cost. VAT and commissions included, I guess.

And then you read that, over the same 10 years, Galicia's pensioners have lost 20% of their purchasing power and 64% of them are living below the level of the minimum wage. And you lose your faith in humanity. Or whatever's left of it.

You'll recall that Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) was Galician and that he was born here in my barrio of Poio. Or was he? Was he really Pedro de Sotomayor, a lord from a nearby castle? For it seems that one disappeared when the other appeared, Pedro having been transmogrified into Cristóbal. Read more on this here (in Spanish) and make up your own mind.

There's a motorway which runs from Galicia all the way to the French border, along Spain's northern coast, the A8. Or, rather, there isn't. There are bits of it and every year there's a new bit of it. Construction has been going on for more than 10 years now and is expected to continue until at least 2015, when I will finally have a clean run to the ferry port of Santander. At which time I suspect the A8 will overnight become the AP8, with the P being short for Peaje, or Payment.

It certainly will if the Association of Toll Companies has its way. The've told the government this week it's missing billions of euros in revenues by leaving some of Spain's handsome motorways as autovias rather than as autopistas. Their increased profits will surely be purely incidental to the change they're altruistically recommending.

A month or two ago, I went up to the Ortigueira Celtic Music Festival with my almost-sane friend, Dixie. Amongst other things, he's a professional photographer and this is where you'll find his tremendous snaps of the proceedings. Sadly, none of them include either me or Dixie himself. Well worth buying, whether or not you're a Celt.

I see that there's a new gym activity - cycling in a swimming pool. Given that we have a lifting( a facelift), a footing(a run), a jogging(a jog) and a spinning(a spin) and a parking(car park), I confidently predict this will come to Spain and will be labelled un pooling.

Finally . . . Outside my kitchen window, I have a large-ish spider.

Having read this morning of the bee-killing wasp(Vespa Velutina) which has apparently brought its predatory habits to our coast, I do hope the web is robust enough to catch a few of these foreign murderers. 


Sierra said...

The submarine saga is ironic given that Spain had an early lead:


Colin said...

Yes. Is that the same one as the one on display down by the seafront in Barcelona?

Perry said...

I've had an interest in submarines since reading "Yankee RN" in my early teens.


The Americans build their newest submarines in modules, so they can add new sections as necessary. In order to assist the Armada Española with the acquisition of their submarines please forward the following link to them & mention that Professor Ross Babbage of the Australian National University has called on Australia to buy or lease a dozen Virginia class submarines from the United States, rather than locally build 12 replacements for its Collins class submarines. That should win you some friends. :<{




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