It's been said that taking people to court - via a denuncia - is Spain's national pastime. Whether you can do this for both civil and criminal offences, I'm not sure. But I do get the impression there's no concept of a frivolous case and that the Spanish judicial system is pretty clogged up with these petitions. So it's probably a good thing that a bit of a brake has been applied via an increase in court fees. Numbers were down 3% in 2013 and are expected to reduce again this year. Poor lawyers.
Spain has been - and remains - one of the biggest recipients of EU funds - a total of €300 billion since it joined in 1986. During this period, the country has been utterly transformed, with per capita income shooting from €7,000 to €23,000 a year. So it's not very surprising that - despite what Brussells-imposed austerity has done to Spain in the last few years - the EU remains more popular here than elsewhere. If not quite as much as it used to be. More than 58% of Spaniards are still in favour of the EU, compared with 75% in 2007. Only 30% disfavour it. As El País put it "Other studies show how deep-rooted pro-European feeling is in Spain. Accession to the union meant definitive closure on the dark past of the dictatorship and isolation." As someone has said, "It's difficult to find an autovía, AVE high-speed train, bridge or port in Spain which wasn't financed with EU funds". The end result is a level of involvement in the upcoming EU elections which will probably exceed that of most other members. Despite (or because of?) the disdain most Spaniards understandably display to their homegrown politicians.
Talking of Spanish politicians . . . There seems to be talk of a unity government in the air, comprising the 2 leading parties. Which would surely be a stretch as they couldn't even get together to tackle corruption. But, then there's no political will in respect of the latter. Among other reasons.
Yesterday I wrote to my car insurance company, asking them to reply to either of my previous 2 messages. They called me today and the guy asked me to confirm that I was Mr Davies and that I'd written to them about an accident in the UK. Then he asked me - 'just for security' - to give him my ID number. In case, I suppose, that the person answering my phone and familiar with the subject was someone pretending to be me.
There was a cartoon - by Roto - in El Pais the other day, showing a matador administering the final sword thrust through the bull's shoulders. The latter is saying, "Maestro, why don't we talk about it?" Although he could be saying "Why didn't we talk about it?", as the present and past tenses are the same for the first person plural in Spanish. This is one of the early fences you have to get over in tackling the language.
What do foreigners think of the Brits they live among? Here's one batch of amusing responses.
Finally . . . The King of Galicia's Gipsies - whose family attacked the lawyer of someone he was suing - goes under the unfortunate name of Morón.