I was astonished to hear that the Pug is Britain's 6th most favourite dog. For there's good reason for the English expression 'Pug ugly'. My own view is that it's hard to tell one end of a Pug from the other. So, I was surprised to hear that the breed had been around for 3,000 years. Significantly, though, during all this time, it's been bred to do nothing more than sit on a lap. So, not only ugly but also useless. No wonder we say up North that there's nowt as queer as folk. Especially those who put clothes on Pugs. Yes, they really do exist.
When I was at university, a friend received a letter from his local council telling him his grant for the forthcoming year was just one pound. The letter went on to ask if he wanted this as a single payment or in 3 termly instalments of 33p. I was reminded of this when reading this morning that Spain's second most important politico had mailed to a heavily indebted town a cheque for one cent. This was subsequently explained away as a 'technical adjustment'. As you'd expect, the town remains stunned at the development.
Tipping in Spain: A week or two ago, I read - probably in one of The Local's lists - that foreigners visiting or living here should learn to tip at Spanish levels. This struck me as bizarre since, at least in this part of the country, the Spanish are poor tippers. They sometimes leave insulting amounts ('All my loose change") and rarely go above 5%, compared with 10-15% in the UK and up to 25% in the USA. But perhaps things are different down south. Though I suspect not.
Just in case you think I was joking when I said you'd be mad to buy a house in southern Spain, here's another reason why I wasn't.
I've mentioned the case of the adopted girl (Asunta) whose parents have been arrested and charged with her murder. I understand they'll be tried by jury. In which case it's hard to understand how one can read articles like this one in El Pais, entitled "Was Asunta killed by her mother". Will there be any jury member who won't have made up his/her mind before the trial actually begins? Almost certainly against parents who are being tried by media.
Finally . . . I nearly wept when I received a letter from my UK bank enclosing a card with which I can pay for items totalling 20 pounds or less without my PIN. I just insert the card, take it out and leave. Without having to prove my identity, provide my signature and confirm my maternal grandmother's maiden name. I suspect it'll be a century before this simple system arrives here, where no company is prepared to take even the smallest risk and where everyone is inured to bureaucracy and excess paper. But I hope I'm wrong and that it's already arrived in, say, Bilbao or Barcelona. Vigo, even.