Is the housing market every really sane? Here in Spain the boom ended in 2007 and there's been bust ever since. But, now, applications for building permits and mortgage applications are on the rise and there's at least one 'expert' predicting that 2015 will see the start of another boom. This is despite the fact there may be as many as a million unsold properties in Spain. Presumably in the wrong places. Interesting to note, though, that Brits have been reading the papers and watching the TV news; and so have sunk as a percentage of foreign buyers, at least in the South.
Christmas is coming and, as ever, there's someone to tell the kiddies that Santa Claus is a just a myth. This year, in the UK, this honour fell to a Catholic priest. Which took some cheek. Or a magnificent sense of irony.
Galicia prides itself on being Celtic. Not just more Celtic than anywhere else in Spain but exclusively Celtic, with a slight nod towards neighbouring Asturias. As with equivalent claims elsewhere in Spain, this is crucial in establishing a regional/'national' identity. Some say it's all nonsense but others are fiercely defensive of the claim. Me, I think it adds spice to life, whatever it's justification. Here's Michael Portillo talking to a Galician bagpipe maker and to a young dancer and here's a compilation of fotos by a Galician proud of his Celtic heritage. Finally, here's Part 1 of a BBC series on the Celts. I haven't watched it yet myself but am intrigued by the introductory remark that today's (would-be) Celts are defending "a fanciful but mistaken identity".
On a wider front . . . Google now provides panoramic views of 50 of Spain's artistic treasures, including the Alhambra in Granada, the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona and the Tower of Hercules in La Coruña.
I'm guessing that Córdoba's wonderful Great Mosque is included in this collection but it may not be. As I think I've reported, the Catholic Church down there is doing its utmost to deny any connection with Islam. Traditionally it's been called the Mosque-Cathedral - because there's a cathedral plonked in the middle of it - but the Church has taken to labelling it only a cathedral. Which is not very ecumenical. Petty, rather. And the tourist authorities are not well pleased. If you want to help to stop this, sign this petition.
Yesterday, visiting friends and I had lunch in a bar on the edge of Veggie Square, where we accepted a suggestion to try their entry into a competition between 20 odd tapas bars in the city. We were then given an assessment form which asked us to give it 1, 2 or 3 stars. But we were also asked to give personal details, including phone number and email address. And, of course, our ID numbers. So I filled mine in as Joe Bloggs, with erroneous numbers. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, transpires. I wonder if a notary will be writing to all the email addresses and calling all the phone numbers to check whether or not you're a relative or friend of the bar owners. BTW - After completing the forms, we were asked to fold them over. Presumably to stop the bar staff from reading them. As if.
Another 'new' word, really an old naval slang term:- Scrimshanker: a person who avoids his/her responsibilities, or is work-shy. Akin to "skiver" in British slang.
On the home front . . . Either Tony The Shouter has returned from the sea or his 18 year old son (as feared) has developed the same habit of bawling for no apparent reason. Either way, it's not good.
Finally . . . An interesting paragraph I read the other day: The rouble's slide has led to fury in the Duma, where populist politician Evgeny Fedorov has called for a criminal investigation of the central bank. Critics say the institution had been taken over by "feminist liberals" and is a tool of the International Monetary Fund. Those pesky women again.