Reading Raymond Carr's book on the Spanish Civil War, I was struck by the thought that, if you came to Spain now after reading his account of pre-war Spain, it'd be easy to underestimate how much the country has progressed from the 'deep-set imbalances and injustices' of the early 20th century. But, after living here a short while, it'd then be easy to overestimate this progress.
Right on cue, a senior PP party member yesterday alleged that the new left-wing party, Podemos, aspires to power so it can destroy democracy - exactly the same accusation made by right wing parties of left wing parties before and during Spain's 2nd Republic between 1931 and the outbreak of war in 1936. Astonishingly(?), around 80% of PP voters appear to believe this crude nonsense.
Spanish parents don't teach their kids about the personal space of others. Essentially because this concept doesn't exist in Spain. This is bad enough when the tots are on their legs but when they're on bikes it's a lot worse. The fact that the parents don't seem to think it's wrong that you should have to jump out of the way of their little charges adds insult to injury, of course. Then there are the bloody adult cyclists in their ridiculous garb. Especially those who decide to do a bit of the Camino on a Sunday. In Pontevedra, the Camino runs through the old quarter. As this is downhill all the way to the river, you can imagine what happens on a sunny Sunday, when up to 20 at a time of these maniacs swerve in and out of people at a truly inconsiderate speed. It's a miracle no one is injured. Almost enough to make me religious.
It's apparently the convention here that an incoming mayor(ess) decides what official papers are to be shredded. But in Madrid, the outgoing mayoress has initiated a thorough clean-up "so as to release space" and not, of course, to destroy incriminating evidence. So diligent have been her staff that they now stand accused of shredding not just the important city padrón (census) but also the will of Carlos III.
Finally . . . Reflecting on the FIFA imbroglio, it struck me we should now change the phrase from "3 Wise Monkeys" to "3 Brazen Blatters". Checking just now, I was surprised to find no one seems to have suggested this already. Though Alfie Bloody Mittington will probably come up with contrary evidence. Probably of his own prior insight.