Is Spain a free country? Yes, it is. Does it have a free press? Yes, but not free enough. Until it does have a completely free media - including terrible tabloids - the ability of the government to cover up its sins and to defy public opinion will continue untrammelled. Is there really only one Ebola patient here now? Or are there actually 72, as this blog maintains. Whatever, the Ministress of Health hasn't been sacked for last week's deficiencies in management of the crisis but has been 'relegated'. This amounts to having a Vice-President put in charge of future operations. I'm guessing this relegation hasn't affected her salary.
Not sure what’s happening up in Cataluña. It’s said the President has shelved plans for his Nov. 9 plebiscite/independence vote. He'll tell us tomorrow what the alternatives now are. As usual, the Spanish President is saying merely that he’s willing to talk to him if there's something to talk about. So, no initiatives from him.
Spain’s environmental footprint has apparently increased significantly. Or, putting this the other way, it has had a greater fall in ‘food industry sustainability' than any other country. This is being put down to an increase in chicken production. The National Geographic Society also tells us that Spaniards are the lease frequent users of homegrown food and that 42% of them drink bottled water daily. I’m not sure what all this means. Presumably that a lot of food and drink is being imported. Except in the case of chickens.
What I do understand is that mobile phone use is now the leading cause of death on the roads. Many of my neighbours seem to think that our long cul-de-sac is not really a road
Bit of useful Spanish: I’ve cited una lobi as the word for 'lobby' but now I’ve seen las lobbies as the plural, instead of the expected las lobis. I’m sure this will change over time. Which reminds me, there was an article in El País yesterday decrying the use of English words in place of perfectly good Spanish words. The author didn’t oppose useful new English words but was unhappy about pointless substitution. I sympathise. The French did the same to us hundreds of years ago. But all turned out well in the end as the language was enriched by giving us at least 3 words for everything. Allowing more nuances, for example.
I’ve mentioned that Pontevedra is festooned, kerbside, with shiny metal poles about 3 feet (90cm) high. Their main purpose, I think, is to stop people parking on the pavement, particularly on corners or near zebra crossings. I had thought they cost €100 each but have been told it’s nearer €450. Granite blocks would have been equally effective and a lot cheaper. But sometimes town-halls don’t do cheap.
Finally . . . A British chap who lost his parrot, got it back after 4 years to find it now speaks not English but Spanish. There can be only one conclusion. It flew to Spain and back.