Monday, March 03, 2014

More Spanglish; Pija wellies; Pija problems; Illegal taxes; Profitable phantoms; & A clever conman.


Spanglish: I've certainly seen un footing and I'm pretty sure I've seen un jogging. But un running is new to me. It featured in an ad yesterday for different trainers for different activities. A classic example of market segmentation, aimed at persuading you of the need for at least 3 different types of sporty footwear. For which a new word was needed in Spanish. So, where else to turn but to that old friend - the English gerund.

Talking of footwear . . . This relentlessly wet winter (yes, it's also rained every day in March so far) has afforded the ladies of Pontevedra the chance to sport designer wellies. These look exactly like un-designer wellies but have a small Hunter label highly visible at the front of them. I say 'exactly like un-designer wellies' but this is not quite true. The Hunter wellies are green and no one wore anything but black wellies when I was a kid. Sometimes with the tops turned over, to demonstrate individuality. And that you weren't planning to walk in water deeper than 20cm(8 inches).

Actually, this rain must be even more frustrating for the doyennes of Pontevedra than for the rest of us. For this is the time they normally strut the streets in their furs. And this can't be done unless the weather is dry. Poor things. I really feel for them. But not as much as I do for all the people who worked on their costumes and the floats for last Saturday's Carnaval procession. Inevitably, this was rained off and re-scheduled for next Saturday. When, they say, the rain will have finally stopped.

For the past 10 years most Spanish regions have been tacking 1 to 4 centimos onto our petrol(gas) prices as an allegedly hypothecated 'health tax'. The EU has just declared this illegal - presumably because the money raised didn't go to healthcare - and has ordered the Spanish government to pay €12bn back to us. Transport companies say they'll certainly reclaim, whatever the tortuous process invented by Madrid to make this as difficult as possible. As for us private individuals (particulares), the very minimum you'll need is all your petrol receipts going back 10 years. As it happens . . . .

Talking of money going in the wrong direction . . . One of the latest corruption cases to come to our attention is that of the Madrid company which received €15m of government money for non-existent students on courses that were also a phantom. 15 million. Hardly chickenfeed and I doubt much of it will be recovered. Is it just me or does it seem rather easy to be a highly profitable crook in Spain? At least until the law catches up with you and gives you a sentence the length of which depends on who your friends are. And how you've demonstrated your affection for them over the years.

In another blow for the abortion Bill which would take the law back 30 or 49 years, 2,000 Spanish health professionals have demonstrated against a measure which they believe would put women at risk. More here. As they say, the existing law is far more in tune with Spanish society.

Finally . . . One crook who's impressed me this week is the chap who approached a driver who'd double parked, told him he was a cop, that the fine for the offence was €100 but that he'd accept 60 in cash and forget about processing it. No idea how much he got before he was rumbled. Perhaps the first time he tried it, if he spoke in a Rumanian accent.

1 comment:

Perry said...

Colin,

Did you see the photo of POTUS on the blower to Moscow. The Peter Principle personified.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2571653/Europes-peace-risk-World-leaders-say-Russian-invasion-Ukraine-spiral-biggest-international-crisis-Cold-War.html

Dialogue overheard in Oval Office:

"Yo Vlad wassup? Look Vlad, I gotta get back to the TV. It's the weak end here & Michele has told me it's my turn to choose the channel. Nick Stokes? Who he? That's why your're invading the Ukraine! You figured that if the character of Nick Stokes is indicative of western thought processes, then Kiev is your's for the taking? Uhu, uhu uhu. Yeah well, I Cain 't argue that. Guess you're right. Chat next week?? Bye."

Nick Stokes link.

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2014/3/3/behold-a-gordian-josh-261.html?lastPage=true#comment20798732

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