Friday, July 24, 2015

Cost of living in Spain; Salt; Jail sentences; Sr Rato; The Birthday Party; & Fish.

Like every over nation, Spain has a spectrum of cost-of-living rates. Viz:
Spain: 100
Madrid: 115
Navarra: 110
Cataluña: 109
Basque Country: 108
And at the other end:
Andalucia: 93
Galicia: 92
La Rioja: 90
Asturias: 88
Castille y La Mancha: 88
The Canaries: 83
So, no great surprises. Galicia's drug money clearly drags it up from its normal second-to-bottom place in every survey carried out in Spain.

I heard a fascinating podcast on salt this week. At one point the speaker talked of much-sought-after Russian pink salt. Later she went down into the only remaining salt mine in Cheshire in the UK, where I once picked up this (by-the-way pink) lump of the stuff, now serving as a paperwight.

Among the facts revealed was the use of this mine as an archive for papers, waxworks, furniture, body parts, and musical instruments such as pianos and barrel organs. Plus 'Things we're not allowed to tell you about'. Wonder what they could be. Lord Lucan, perhaps. And Shergar.

Some delinquents in Pontevedra were jailed for 6 years this week. Which rather puts into perspective the piddling sentences given to corrupt politicos. Which reminds me: The ex head of the IMF has refused to say anything at stage 1 of his trial. "My right to a defence obliges me", he claims, "not to answer your questions because I am unaware of the deeds of which I am accused".
Needless to say, perhaps, he was also a leading member of the current government.

Finally . . . I was invited to a surprise birthday party for the lovely Esther next door last night. Originally, the time was to be 10pm but this changed to 8.30. Ester actually came home at 10. Between 8.30 and 10, there arrived a procession of equally lovely Spanish women, all beautifully turned out but without partners and kids. I suspect the only reason I was asked to come early was to help Ester's husband deal with this tsunami of pulchritude. And to share with him a bottle of superb Mencia wine. Well, somebody had to do it. During the party, I was getting help from Ester's young son with the names of everyone there:-
Me: So, the pretty lady under the tree?
Jacobito: [Loudly] That's Teva.
Teva: Yes?
Jacobito: Nothing. Colin just wanted to know your name.
Me: [Quietly]: Gracias, chico.
But I doubt he caught the sarcasm.

Note: If you put frozen mackerel in your microwave to defrost, you really ought to take them out before you go to bed. Otherwise your re-heated coffee will taste of fish the following morning.

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