Thursday, February 26, 2015

Parliamentary games; The state of Spain; Spanglish; Spain's catch-up; & Bloody selfish parking.

You'd think they'd learn. Yesterday the woman deputising as President of the Spanish parliament was filmed playing Candy Crush on her computer, just behind the speaker during the debate on the President's State of the Nation speech. Or so it was said at the time. It was later suggested the game was actually a similar one related to the film Frozen. The lady herself insisted she'd been reading the newspapers. Well, she would, wouldn't she.

During his - pre-election - State of the Nation address, President Rajoy naturally painted his picture in exceptionally rosy - not to say phantasmagorical - tones. As usual, he claimed Spain was growing faster than any other economy in Europe. In fact, there are 10 better. But, as Adolf said, if you're going to tell a lie, tell a big one. People closer to the ground say his description of a Spanish populace now feeling the benefit of his austerity polities bears little relation to reality. This is from one sceptical commentary: Family income, which comes mainly from work, incomes or rentals; from bank deposits, interest payments, property speculation and state aid, is still falling. Wages have fallen: extra payments, overtime and the number of employees per family has also declined. Furthermore, the money that went into households such as unemployment benefits, aid to dependants and so on has also been trimmed. The owners of premises or homes that were paid rents have had to lower them – those who still charge their tenants anything, or who don't have empty shops or apartments. Bank deposits have gone from receiving a tiny interest to now paying account maintenance costs. On the other hand, costs continue to climb: taxes (both indirect and direct); official fines of all kinds (especially from the traffic police); gasoline (although there is now a brief and watered-down respite on the prices), electricity, water . . . The balance of the family budget gives rise, in the majority of cases, to red numbers. HT to Lenox of Business over Tapas for this. It helps to explains why shops and cafés are still closing, even in this city made prosperous on the back of civil servant salaries.

Spanglish. The latest:-Un outsider, as in: La agencia no es para nada un outsider: es un shop[!] de buen tamaño. And: El campeón del mundo, un especialista y un outsider. The pronunciation? - oat-seeder?? I also saw El ranking this morning but I suspect it's pretty well established now. At least its not an -ing invention, unlike un footing, un liftingun parking, etc.

Spain is less and less different.
1. Zebra crossings here don't have anything like the Belisha beacons that adorn those of the UK. Indeed, until last night, I hadn't seen a decently sized and visible sign for motorists. But now I have and I guess we will see more and more of them.

2. Speed bumps first appeared in Pontevedra about 5 years ago and they were of a reasonable height and incline. Now, there's scarcely a street without its fair share. And the height of them has soared, along with the angle of the incline. Some of them are higher than the adjacent kerb, at 6 inches or 15cm. And several of them can only be negotiated at a speed of around 10kph, if you want to prevent the front of your car hitting the road on the way down. And the improved road accident statistics? Conspicuous by their absence.

Cricket: The shocks continue. 1. Afghanistan has a cricket team; 2. It qualified for the World Cup; 3. It yesterday beat Scotland. There was much joy - and not a few tears - among the players. BUT: that's not all. . . The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also has a team in the competition. I assume its women's team plays in burkas. White, of course.

Finally . . . Walking to the station yesterday morning, I saw a good example of the irritatingly selfish parking that effectively eliminates spaces for others - when drivers leave 1-3 metres between their car and the next one. On the way back, I filmed it, though by this time there were only 2 cars, rather than the original 3.

Then, late last night, I snapped this example. What you can't see is that the blue car is also more than 2 metres away from the car in front of it. I can't possibly identify the couple to whom these cars belong but I can say they prevented someone from parking anywhere near his house. And that he wasn't well pleased.

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