One way the Spanish health service keeps its nurse numbers down is to rely on the family to sit by the bed, preferably round the clock, to feed and get drinks for the patients. For those who stay overnight, there's at least a straight-backed chair or, if you're really lucky, a reclining chair. The next logical step has been taken by several hospitals in Cataluña - they'll sell you a card with which you can convert a chair from a total to a partial nightmare by letting the chair recline. You can even buy a discount card for 5 nights. People are complaining, but not about 'privatisation of our health service'.
Talking of satnav errors . . . Although I know well the route to my daughter's flat in Madrid, I decided to put mine on just to see what directions I'd get and, more importantly, what time I'd arrive. So I set it for Calle de las Palmas and began to follow its instructions - including driving down a bus tunnel into a terminus. The next 20 minutes was an amusing (to me) barney between my increasingly agitated friend, Dwight, and the satnav lady. Dwight knows Madrid intimately and was convinced we were being taken to the airport. So, I turned off the satnav and followed Dwight's instructions. In short order we arrived at my daughter's flat in Calle de la Palma, which - you may have noticed - isn't Calle de la PalmaS. So, a re-learning of that old IT lesson - Shit in, Shit out. My fault, not the satnav's. Not that this calmed down Dwight very much.
There's a heat wave in southern Spain this week, giving July temperatures in May. So, not a perfect day for unloading a carload of stuff being shipped from my house to my daughter's flat. Especially when the lift had ceased functioning. But that didn't worry me too much, as the donkey work was being done by Dwight and my daughter, while I concerned myself with edging in and out of an illegal parking space and scraping the nearside front of my car on a metal pole in the process. This had had the top 10cm taken off so that you couldn't see it. How we laughed.
But, anyway, I spent a wonderful evening with some friends who live in a lovely spot outside Madrid and who make the best G&T in the world. Which, along with the birdsong, more than compensated for the tribulations of the afternoon. When I arrived at the community in which they live, no combination of my 3 names coincided with what the security guard had on his roster. And he told me, several times, he'd been told to expect a Sr. Onda. Turned out my friends had given him not just my name but also the make of my car . . .
Finally . . . A joke from Dwight about Franco, possibly invented by one of his own ministers. So, a minister is talking to Franco, c. 1955:
Generalisimo, you know that our economy is not doing too well and that the people are very unhappy. Especially those who are starving.
Well, I've been thinking. Look at how Japan and Germany have bounced back after defeat by the USA, all on the back of US money.
Well, I think it would be a good idea to declare war on the USA and then we can expect a huge injection of money into Spain when we lose.
[Pause] And if we win?
A Happy International Women's Day to all my female readers.