Thursday, March 26, 2015

Obesity; British pubs; Being judgmental; Attitudes to work; Galicia hotspots; Telefónica; & Happy living.

A few years ago, it was said that Spain was second only to Malta in the list of European countries with fat kids. Things must have got worse as it's now reported that Spain is second only to the USA in child obesity. Inevitably, this is linked to changes in eating habits.

Talking of food . . . Eating in British pubs is nothing like the experience it used to be 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. And it doesn't have to be a 'gastropub' for this to be true. Even the rural pub my brother and I ate in yesterday had a fancy menu, with prices to match. After we'd ordered our respective 'sandwiches', the barmaid asked if we wanted chips(french fries) with them. It was only after we'd declined that we noticed these came at just under 4 quid a portion. No wonder she asked. Anyway, the poor lady was having a great deal of trouble with a new electronic till and, to our amusement, became quite flustered. As I would in Spain, I patted the hand that was on the counter in sympathy, at which it was withdrawn at a speed which implied I'd suggested a sexual encounter behind the bar. I'd forgotten about the British aversion to being touched. A final couple of words on food in this place - 1. Above the bar was advertised a 'Sausage Board' at fractionally below 20 quid. Say €28. Neither of us knew what this was - or might be - and didn't ask. Perhaps the sausages are gold-plated. 2. 'Vegetable Chilli'(?) was described as 'That pub classic'. Since when? 2013??

Religious folk can have some very strange notions. In India recently, a nun in her 70s was raped by one of a group of gangsters who raided her convent. Talking about it on the radio, one of her colleagues said that one of the victim's greatest causes for grief was that her vow of chastity had been broken. This struck me as rather odd, as it implied that her God wouldn't take circumstances into account when deciding on her fate on The Day of Judgement. Which would be a little mean-spirited, to say the least.

A survey of work attitudes of young people in Spain, the UK, Germany and Holland says of the Spanish that: "Despite a youth unemployment rate of about 50%, they regard work-life balance and an enjoyable work environment as more important than job security." And that: "The Spanish show a willingness to do anything they can to increase employability. They change subjects at university if they find one that will increase their career options and they are very willing to change country and job if it means giving them a career advantage". In contrast: "Brits still see career as important, with only 33% seeing enjoyment of their work environment as important. Earning money and building a career is more relevant." Pick the meat out of that.

Here's someone's list of 10 good places to visit in Galicia. Obviously not the best as Ferrol is in there at no. 4. And Pontevedra isn't there at all. Outrageous. Especially as it's just been voted the most comfortable city in Europe by people who are rather better at compiling lists.

I had to laugh - rather hollowly - when I read that Telefónica is to triple its customers' broadband speeds before summer, at no extra charge. Short of running cables into my street or upgrading the centralita and the wiring to our houses, there's no way they can do this. And, anyway, by mid-year I'll have moved on to the provider of my neighbours' radio-based service. 

Finally . . . There's a personality test you can take in the UK which purports to tell you where in Britain you'd be happiest living. For me, it's the district of Dumries and Galloway in Scotland. As if.

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