Monday, November 10, 2014

This is a post I wrote on Saturday, before travellig to Santander and catching the boat to Portsmouth, after a delay of 3 hours because of bad weather . . .

On the eve of the Catalan independence exercise - it's not a referendum - the Spanish president has emerged from his bunker to say it's OK to go ahead, provided that the Catalan government isn't involved. I guess this is a technicality which can easily be accommodated. So no tanks or troops. Or even police.

A court of 3 judges has accepted some of the charges against Princess Cristina laid by the instructing judge. Those of money laundering have been dropped but those of tax evasion stand. She will be tried for these, unless the injured party declines to proceed. As this is the Spanish state, I think we can all be sure what the outcome will be. I mean the State Prosecutor has consistently tried to stop judicial action. Meanwhile, there are demands from some quarters that she relinquish her right to the throne in the event that the 5 people ahead of her kick the royal bucket.

As for corruption on a broader front . . . One of the VPs of the governing PP party has had us all in pleats with her claim that the party had "done everything it could against corruption."

Here's a surprise - a consumers' organisations says the electricity boards are charging us for things we don't get. "Thieves in white gloves" is the nice Spanish term for such institutions. More here.

Which reminds me, Telefónica has been fined €26m (a fleabite) for imposing abusive contracts on small and medium-sized companies. What about those of us forced to pay the same internet charges as those who get speeds hundreds of time better than mine?

Some very good news - crime in Spain (already relatively low) has fallen in all categories this year. This is an infamous area for statistics so let's hope these numbers aren't the result of some clever legerdemain. After all, you'd normally expect them to rise in times of hardship.

I drove from Pontevedra to Santander today, to meet up with my elder daughter and then to take the Brittany ferry to Portsmouth. The outstanding event was covering the 3 or 4 km of viaduct across the valleys near Mondoñedo. This was remarkable for 3 things: 1. It was open, not closed because of frequent fog, 2. It took us between pre-existing wind turbines, and 3. It confused the hell out of my satnav, which went into panic mode and tried to persuade me to drive over the edge on to some minor road below. And this despite me updating my maps only a few months ago. Said satnav outdid itself in Santander, trying to send me down a one-way street to the station and then directing me round the same block 3 times before I switched it off. Later, it suggested I turn right into another one way street, towards an approaching police car. But at least my daughter and I had the pleasure of listening to the mangled pronunciation of the British voice. So, not a complete dead loss.

Finally . . . A new beggar has approached me twice in the last couple of weeks in Pontevedra - a well-turned out woman in her 40s. Last night she was carrying a bag full of shopping and was clearly on her way home. If it happens again, I'm determined to ask her if things are really so tight at home that she's reduced to begging. Could be an interesting conversation.

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