Spain's economic growth for 2015 is now forecast to be 2.8%, which certainly sounds like good news, as it will only be bested in the EU by Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta. There are those, though, who think things aren't as good as they seem, pointing to continuing weakness in consumer spending, for example. As ever with differing economists, I wish I knew who's right.
We know that the internet provides a pulpit for cretins who spew bile but it's always a surprise to read examples of their vomitous outpourings. Following the horrendous air crash in France, Spanish trolls have expressed the hope that compatriots who died were Catalans, Basques or Hispanic immigrants. With luck, the police will track them down and prosecute them.
I've cited the late 19th century/early 20th century writer, Arnold Bennett. Yesterday, I came across this little tale of his, dated 1925: I was walking in Selfridge's basement yesterday when I met Mr Selfridge in a rather old morning coat and silk hat. He seized hold of me and showed me over the new part of his store. Cold storage for furs - finest in the world. Downstairs to the book department. Fine bindings, etc. His first remark was, taking up a book: 'Human skin'. I had to hurry away. He kept insisting it was wonderfully interesting. And it was.
I went shopping in the centre of Liverpool yesterday. Astonishingly, it was even less productive than a morning in Pontevedra. My first port of call was Waterstones, where they siad they didn't have the book I wanted but I could either get it in London or wait a few days. Then I went to the Apple store, where there were at least 20 youngsters in blue T shirts anxious to ask me what I wanted and then pass me onto someone else. The final guy told me they could certainly help me with a new battery for my laptop if I came back in 4 hours - there being 25 people in front of me. Apparently, if I'd thought to make an appointment, things would have been better. So . . . it's the internet for me now. Thank God M&S had the sox I needed, though they didn't have the trousers I wanted. They did have a shirt I liked; but not in my size. Worst of all, when I went to pay for the sox, I didn't get the discount voucher on women's underwear and lingerie that the couple in front of me had been given. When I queried this, the assistant said these were randomly generated and, blushing but laughing, suggested I make another purchase. I did try but handkerchiefs are apparently an unknown item in British shops these days.
By what stretch of the imagination can Apple's customer service be called, well . . . customer service? But anyway, the store is in Paradise St. 'Back in the day', this was the location of Liverpool's VD clinic, as it was called then. It always struck me as rather a bizarre pairing of names. Admittedly it was in the dog-end of the street. I'm told.
Finally . . . This is the offices of the now-defunct National Bank in Liverpool. This was built at a time when companies were so confident of their eternal future that they eschewed paint and hanging signs and had their names carved into the fabric of the building. What hubris.