I mentioned Shakespeare yesterday. It turned out to be the nth anniversary of his birthday. What are the odds? Anyway, the other coincidence was that yesterday also saw an article on the point I was making - viz. that Shakespeare's English is as tough for us today as Chaucer's must have been for him.
Spain is Different 3:
- I can't believe I've left this until now . . . The concept of personal space is less established in Spain than elsewhere. In fact, I suspect it's not known at all. Thus, people will indulge in a pas de deux at the last second when they approach each other. Or walk across each other's paths at a distance of only a few centimetres.
- Anyone can start a court action in Spain - via a denucia - for almost anything, it seems. There appears to be no legal concept of 'a frivolous suit' but a recent rise in court fees may have reduced these.
- The Spanish don't go in for either original language films or subtitles. All foreign programs - film or TV - are dubbed by a self-preserving industry established under Franco as an instrument of censorship.
- Foreign film titles are not always rendered into the exact Spanish equivalent. To say the least. Some of them defy understanding.
- Recognition of Chip & Pin has yet to arrive in Spain, as far as I can see. You'll still be asked to sign a chit and, quite possibly, to provide proof of identity. I have no idea why this is so.
- The staff in Spanish petrol stations are always clean, pleasant and courteous. Unlike their opposite numbers in the UK, who are all on the minimum wage, one assumes.
BTW - I noticed an unusually quiet couple in a café at midday yesterday. Then I realised that at least one of them was deaf and they were lip reading each other.
No one really knows how many Brits (and Germans) have left Spain in the last 15 months but let's accept it's quite a significant proportion of the around one million the British embassy believes live here. What's more important is the range of reasons:-
- The impact of the long recession on their businesses.
- Anger and fear at the threat of demolition of houses bought in good faith with legal advice.
- New tax declaration measures seen as a prelude to a grab of overseas assets.
- Health deterioration among the old.
- The increased cost of living, following price inflation way above the rate of earnings/pension increases and the fall of the pound against the euro.
- The inability to fit in with the Spanish culture, against the background of departing friends.
- The "Byzantine bureaucratic barriers".
I don't actually know any Brit who's left Spain for any, some or all of these reasons but here's an account of one couple's reasons for (unwillingly) transporting themselves from Mojacar to Dubai.
The latest corruption case to come our way has a Galicio-religious flavour. It's called Operation Altarpiece and the details are here.
Finally . . . If David Moyes' reign at Manchester United really was as unavoidably disastrous as some claim, then the main responsibility for this must surely lie with his predecessor and fellow-Glaswegian, Alex Ferguson. Moyes himself, a man of dignity and honour, has been shabbily treated, even (I regret to say) by Evertonians. But, then, humour is very aggressive on Merseyside and he must have known what he was in for when he went to Goodison Park last Sunday.
Apologies to those readers for whom this is all unintelligible but, as I said, for the UK media Moyes' sacking was the leading international event a couple of days ago
Public Service Advice: I've just had a call from a guy claiming to be ringing about the problem with my computer. When I asked him why, he put the phone down. Presumably not a cold caller but someone wanting to gain control of my computer. Or insert a virus in it. Interestingly, he spoke in English, albeit with an accent.