Monday, December 15, 2014

Life in Spain; The poor Spanish; Gallego v. Castellano; Taxes & tolls; "Reasonable doubt"; & Lost words.

On Sundays and bank holidays in Spain, there's little open apart from bars, cafés and cake shops. People will have differing views on on whether this is charming or a bloody nuisance. But, anyway, IKEA invested in a store in Valencia on the assumption they could open it on Sundays. But the local government said not and the regional government has endorsed this stance. As ever in Spain, a court case is now in the offing. It's hard to believe IKEA didn't check out this assumption so, presumably, someone was fibbing to them. On the other hand, it's reported that "Local furniture shops said IKEA opening on Sundays would be unfair competition, because they do not wish to open on Sundays and bank holidays." Perhaps they kept their powder dry.

Today's El País had an article headed: Spain - Good to live in; Bad to work in. The text revealed(?) that the Spanish:- Work more hours than most other Europeans, have longer holidays, deliver less productivity, sleep less, stress more and are paid less. Plus they spend more time on the streets and consume more in bars. Understandably, they have more 'friends'. As a country, Spain attracts less talent from elsewhere and loses more of its own talent. Clearly something is very wrong at the heart of the nation. "We don't instil effort and excellence", says El País. "We continue with the culture of the picaresque." Or, as I've put it many times, the first priority is fun. Great if you retire here but . . . Anyway, El País recommends the following actions, which have to be seen as the absolute minimum:
1. Get rid of the (stupid) split day, with its 3-hour-break and its late finish
2. Bring forward the TV prime time, so that people can get to bed before 1.30
2. Move to the Portuguese/British clock of one hour before Spain, along with France(!) and Belgium.
Meanwhile, I look forward to writing this same paragraph in 5 years' time.

Galicia's Minister of Linguistic Policy predicts that only 1 in 4 Galicians will have Gallego as their native tongue by 2045, if things continue as they are now. In other words, if attempts to spread Gallego continue to crash against the rocks of middle class aversion to a minority language and if folk remain unpersuaded of its utility in the Lusosphere (Portugal, Brazil and Madagascar). So, cue more attempts to reduce Spanish in Galician schools?

To no great surprise, we're being told that municipal taxes will rise again next year. But at least bankers will have to pay them along with the rest of us. Better news is that the highest tolls in Spain will not be increased. Presumably as a result as a fall in traffic, rather than altruism.

In the context of the Pistorius trial, I asked a lawyer friend about what "Beyond reasonable doubt" really meant in UK trials. "Nowadays", he said, "this just means 'sure'. Juries quite often ask whether this means '100% sure'. Judges are told not to get into ‘how many angels fit on the point of a pin’ arguments. Juries are just told they should know what 'sure' means. A reasonable doubt is a doubt to which you can ascribe a logical reason. It's all semantics anyway. A juror knows if someone is guilty – you can tell by looking at him. If he wears white socks with a suit and black shoes he’s a sex offender. If he has ACAB [All coppers are bastards] tattooed on his knuckles, he’s guilty of something. Otherwise why would he hate the Police?" So, there you go.

Finally . . . 3 words from Chaucer that we, sadly, no longer use:-
Fool-large: Foolishly generous
Chynche: Miser (Chyncherie)
Folily: Foolishly
Debonairetee: Gentleness

And that's just one page!


Alfred B. Mittington said...


Can you elaborate some, please??

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Now this is the third time this works. Once I am done writing the message, I am asked below, to 'Please prove you are not a robot' by typing in the numbers shown in the picture. However, if you type into the box 'I am not a robot' and then press the Publish Your Comment button down below, the site accepts it and publishes you comment.

Tomorrow I'm gonna try with 'I am flesh and blood'; and wednesday 'I'm a Maaaaan!'; and then Thursday 'I'm Muddy Waters' and then….

Bill said...

I wondered about Madagascar, too. I suspect you may have meant to write Mozambique? You might also have added Angola. Both have significantly higher populations than Portugal although I'm not sure what proportion of their populations use Portuguese as a first language, unlike Brasil, where I think the vast majority do.

Perry said...

I'm not a robot. My DNA is 2.4% Neanderthal.

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