Exports still rising, factory production up again, inflation down again - There are a number of things that the Spanish government can point to as proof that its medicine is working. And, believe me, it does. But no one seems to be listening or believing, especially when they read that the astronomic 27% unemployment rate won't be falling for several years yet. So, the positive indicators are far from being translated into a feelgood factor.
Talking of attitudes towards institutions . . .
Trust and Mistrust of the EU
The EU average - 30% and 60%
Cyprus - 13% and 83%
Greece - 19% and 80%
Spain - 17% and 75%
UK - 20% and 68%
So, perspectives are worse here in Spain than in the UK, which is quite a turnaround from, say, 5 years ago, when the money was still flowing in and there wasn't a team of bureaucrats in Brussels telling the Spanish government to rethink its latest budget and to impose even more austerity. In the name, one assumes, of 'convergence'. As for the bigger boys:-
France - 34% and 57%
Germany - 29% and 61%
Looking at these numbers, you do wonder how they got the average to what it is. I guess it's because the Eastern European states are more bullish about what the EU will do for them. Bulgaria's numbers, for example, are 54% and 28%. Possibly because they see an EU-inspired solution to their gypsy problems. Exportation.
It's just possible that mistrustful attitudes to the EU reflect knowledge that the auditors refused to sign off on the accounts for the 19th year in a row. Possibly because of the allegation that €7bn was lost on "fraudulent, illegal or ineligible spending projects". The bigger the bureaucracy and the bigger the budget, the greater the corruption, of course. And, with 28 countries to manage, the EU deals in some pretty large numbers and some pretty complex processes. So, what did anyone expect?
Listening to a podcast on the American actress, Ava Gardner, I was amused (and surprised) to hear she'd acquired - via a relationship with Hemingway - a taste for a drink called Sol y Sombra. This is a mixture of brandy and absinthe and is not for the faint-of-heart. Or, rather, this was the mix back then. Now the absinthe seems to have been replaced by anise. Unless I misheard. Incidentally, a few years ago I met a chap in London who claimed to have been the window cleaner to Miss Gardner when she lived (and died) in that city. He had some interesting tales to tell. As would anyone who came into contact with her, it seems. She even tried a spot of bullfighting once while tipsy and paid a heavy price for it in the form of a broken cheekbone.
Finally . . . As I was doing a spot of cooking last night, I dwelt for a moment on the fact that I was healthy and content with my life. A second later I trod on a wet patch in front of the fridge and my foot went from under me. Happily, I didn't fall and, say, break a hip or hit my head on the tiled wall. But the irony of the development hit me and I inevitably reflected on the oft-repeated sentiment that we're always just a second away from injury or death. Meaning, for me at least, that we owe it to ourselves to enjoy this life to the max, just in case there ain't a second one.
Postscript: I got up this morning to find that that my Humax digital recorder is again on the blink and that my internet speed is so low I can't even test it. So I'm a little less content than I was last night.