The Spanish monarchy is, of course, centuries old but it suffered a hiccup when Spain turned republican in the 1930s and then continued in suspense during the Franco "Caudillo" era which ended with the man's death in 1976. The institution was then restored in the person of Juan Carlos Burbón Burbón (sic), the man who would still be king. Things, though, are not that simple any more. According to El Mundo (a right-of-centre paper) more than 60% of Spaniards want Juan Carlos to step down in favour of his son. Worse, for the first time for a long time, the majority of Spaniards want Spain to be a republic rather than a monarchy.
Among other things, this disaffection with things royal reflects the fact that the king has suffered from association with the corruption trial of his son-in-law, a legal process that may yet suck in his daughter, Cristina - currently out of sight in Geneva. A spokesperson for the palace this week went so far as to call on the judge to accelerate the trial and, in doing so, to exculpate the princess. I'm guessing this wasn't seen by the king as interference with the judicial process.
However low the king's poll ratings are right now, they'll probably sink further when it becomes known here that, back in the 1980, he told the the British Foreign Office that Spain "did not really want" Gibraltar back as it would lead to claims from Morocco for Spanish territories in North Africa. Spain has always - speciously - differentiated these 'enclaves' from Britain's 'colony' of Gibraltar but, of course, Morocco, doesn't buy into this nonsense and anyone with half a brain has always seen that any movement in the direction of loosening Britain's hold on Gibraltar would lead to Moroccan demands at the UN for the transfer of Spain's 'colonies' in North Africa. So why does Spain keep banging the drum on Morocco and, for example, inciting massively increased incursions into Gibraltar waters? Well, maybe the cynics are right and that it's a wonderful way of distracting attention from the government's failure to solve (or, in the case of corruption, even address) far more important issues. All I know is that my daughter didn't suffer long delays when she walked across the border last Friday.
Some indisputably good news . . . . The number of deaths on Spanish roads fell for the 10th year in succession last year. I put this down to drivers learning from the good example I've set for them. Except when it comes to wearing earphones, of course.
Finally . . . I cleared out my car boot last evening. There was a large cardboard box which had held a bottle of Bailey's, a bottle of vinegar, a carton of milk and a bottle of greasy olive oil. Guess which one had fallen over and leaked over all the papers and books in the box.