A Sunday Times leader declares: Mr Putin deploys propaganda outlets to sow doubt, to present the war as a plucky battle for independence rather than one instigated, armed, funded and steered by Moscow. The West should answer this by publishing and broadcasting all available intelligence about the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine. Given that the USA can surely photograph every 'non-Russian' soldier going to the toilet, one wonders why this hasn't been done already.
But, anyway, there's a irony about the EU negotiations with Russia being led by Germany, for the latter has consistently failed to spend up its obligations on defence. On the other hand, this might explain the country's preference for a 'peace deal'. Or appeasement, as some might call it. Which would rank as another irony from a country with such a militaristic history. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice. Can it have anything to do with trade between Germany and Russia? And expensive French boats?
I've mentioned that the Sunday market in town has been expanding its frontiers for a while now, usually up the side streets but sometimes right in the centre of Veggie Square. Well, now the local council is worried that it's lost the character of an 'antique market' through the activities of 'undesirable elements' - by which they mean the gypsies and their blankets of used clothes and rusty farm implements lain out on the ground, rather than on stalls. The chaos has got out of hand, says the council, and something must be done. Trouble is, no one seems to know who has jurisdiction on this. Which is one way of saying no one wants to take on the gypsies.
Which reminds me . . . The second date for the demolition of illegal gypsy properties down at the bottom of our hill came and went, without anything happened. This could go on - like last time - for 8 years or more. I guess it keeps someone in employment.
As I (very) slowly increase my knowledge of our local language - Gallego - it appears to be slowly dying. Fewer and fewer kids are using it as their first tongue, despite efforts to counter this through educational measures. Galicia is neither the Basque Country nor Cataluña, where middle class parents have strong 'nationalistic' reasons for wanting their language to dominate over 'Castellano'. So, it's a rearguard action really. Reportedly, 20,000 people rallied in Santiago de Compostela last Sunday in support of Gallego but I fear they're swimming against a tide. Especially when the right-of-centre PP party in power is busy diluting whatever measures the left-of-centre PSOE party put in place during its reign.
In this short street there are 8 or 9 closed shops - even more than the city average, I guess.
The only shop that seems safe is the pharmacy, which has been there for more than a century. What that says about commerce and people, I really don't know. As luck would have it, though, I have a foto of the place on file . . .
By pure coincidence, this street runs up from Veggie Square and is one those in which the gypsy traders have been spreading both their wares and the market.
Finally . . . A surprising victim of La Crisis. For several years we were entertained by the fotos in full-page ads for an 80-branch company called Corporación Dermoestética, offering plastic surgery. Although this is an industry in which Spain leads Europe, it seems that Spanish women have been tightening their belts without the aid of liposuction. For the company has gone bust, leaving many would-be clients without both their improved whatever and their deposits.
I really didn't plan either of the 2 puns in that last paragraph. If you missed one or both of them, wake up!