In one of Spain's many cabalgata processions on the eve of Los Reyes, one of the 3 kings was killed when he was knocked off his throne by an overhead cable and landed on his head. Will anyone be sued for this fatal negligence or even just lose his/her job? I rather doubt it. Various factors here seem to militate against consequences that are routine elsewhere. Especially as regards corrupt administrators and politicians.
In 2006, for an outlay of just €30, the Catholic Church acquired the title to the Great Mosque in Córdoba. Their next step was to re-name it the Holy Cathedral Church, on the basis that a 15th century church had been stuck in the middle of this magnificent building. And now, to cap it all, the church has filled the mosque with Catholic icons and symbols - plus cribs - as part of an exhibition. Including a statue of of San Juan de Ávila right next to the wonderful mihrab. Those who are affronted by this cultural vandalism can sign a petition on change.org, here
Differing cultures: I read this paragraph yesterday on the differences between US and French cultures when it comes to kissing and talking to people you don't know: In 1987, Raymonde Carroll, published a classic on the topic. It identifies the key divide between the French and the Americans over the rules of intimacy. The French, says Carroll, will only have conversations with people with whom they are already intimate, while Americans will only touch people with whom they are already intimate. But though Americans won’t touch strangers, they will talk to them. They will chat to people at neighbouring tables in restaurants, or in line at the supermarket. That conversation doesn’t turn the speakers into friends – a mistake Europeans sometimes make. Generalising grossly: to Americans, conversation doesn’t imply intimacy. For those poor folk trying to understand us Brits, this is the key point:- Applying Carroll’s theories to Britons, you understand why foreigners think we are repressed. Americans won’t touch strangers; the French won’t talk to them; but Brits will neither touch nor talk to them. I'm more than happy to say I'm no longer British in this regard. As I said to my daughter last night, I get a kick out of seeing the look of shock on the faces of British women who are surprised when I wave aside their outstretched hands and kiss them on both cheeks. "It might not just be shock", she was kind enough to remark. Bloody novelist!
The Spanish, by the way, will touch, kiss and talk to anyone, whether they know them or not. This is one of the main reasons I love them. As it means you get kissed by a lot of beautiful women. And quite a few handsome men.
The EU and the eurozone: The commentator Ambrose Pierce-Evans is, I believe, a supporter of the EU but not of the euro. He is particularly critical of the impact of northern European policies which have devastated the economies of southern Europe. Click here for his latest overview - Deflation is the Final Betrayal of Southern Europe.
Finally . . . The Galician Traffic Police police stopped 22,000 drivers in the week before Xmas and only 300 of them tested positive for alcohol. Or 1.4%. Still too many, of course, but the police must have been ambivalent about the low numbers, having probably failed to hit their end-year revenue targets. By the way . . . one of the 'motoring' offences committed by pedestrians in La Coruña the other day was crossing the central reservation.