Greece: Madrid has taken a very strong line, supporting Germany's stance that there should be no debt relief and that the austerity strategy should be continued. This is not, of course, because the Spanish government really means this, though it just might. It's because - faced with the threat of a boost to the electoral chances of the new left-wing Podemos party - it's desperate to avoid any suggestion of success on the part of the left-wing Syriza government in Athens. It's even taken to publicising how much debt relief would cost each Spaniard. This, of course, is nothing compared to the amount per capital shelled out to incompetent/illegal banks.
Did you know that Picasso spent 3 years at an art school in La Coruña, between the years of 10 and 13? This, of course, is when he was painting in the normal mode of the day. But still displaying a precocious talent. If you're anywhere near the city near term, you might like to pop in and see an exhibition of his work there, covering not just his Coruña years but many thereafter. It's "the first to focus on the initial and intense artistic activity of the Andalusian adolescent."
I heard the word choli for the first time yesterday, in respect of British women. This turns out to be a woman who usually sports make-up which could be described as excessive, with a lot of colour, exaggeratedly painted lips, as with her nails, usually painted in vividly, in somewhat naff colours. She usually wears a track-suit, unzipped to show a lot of cleavage. She has a number of piercings - in the tongue and the lips, ears, eyebrows and wherever she thinks they look good, assuming there's any space left for them. When they go out to party, things get even worse, if at all possible, as they squeeze into the shortest, tightest dress possible, which they consider the height of elegance and good taste. Another observer added that cholis wear a lot of gold, Adidas trainers, have very long hair and eyes heavily outlined in black. So, if you're a British woman, you'll be pleased to know this is how at least some Spanish men see you. Blame the chavettes who go on cheap Spanish holidays and do outlandish things in Ibiza bars. Not to mention the British TV programs about British trash.
Apart from promising they'll tell us in advance where the mobile radars are, El Trafico says it's revising upwards the trigger point for their machines. This is after they (secretly) revised them downwards last year. As of now, the margin will be around 9% for speeds above 100kph. Below this, the margin will be 9km. For 20, 30, 40, 50 and 90 limits, this is 45%, 30%, 23%, 18%, and 10%. [Alfie: Please check these numbers.] I guess it makes sense to someone.
In his Sunday column in El País last Sunday, John Carlin sought to explain why overseas buyers are willing to pay 5 times as much for Premier League matches than for Primera Liga matches, even though the football is better in the latter. He felt it was because, with its full grounds and vociferous crowds, the English league was a much better spectacle than the Spanish league, with its half-empty grounds and placid crowds. Maybe, but it got me wondering. Are the Spanish crowds less impressive because of the Spanish aversion to 'association'. Or, putting it the normal way, the much observed Spanish 'individualism'. Just a thought.
Well, the rain held off yesterday and the Carnaval procession finally took place. Rio it wasn't but lots of people had put a great deal of effort into their floats and their costumes There seemed to be something of a Chinese flavour to the latter, possibly reflecting the stuff on sale in our several bazars. One new development, earlier in the week, was the chucking of eggs and flour by the youngsters of the town - usually at each other but occasionally at buildings and shop fronts. And much of what was thrown landed on the pavements. The residents and shopkeepers of the old quarter were not pleased but the council declined to do anything as the Carnaval was a time for the young people to enjoy themselves 'creatively'.
Finally . . . Here's just one of the fotos I took this week - of a group of men displaying the irreverent attitude to the Church which is a key feature of Carnaval.