Spain: A Good and Bad Place to Live: Click here for The Local's assessment and for the reasons why Spain ranks 13th out of 39 countries as a place in which to live and work." As regards quality of life, Spain comes second, after New Zealand. And for most of us, is a lot closer. And first when it comes to Health and Social Life. I'll leave the negatives for you to discover, especially as they don't affect me.
Catalan Independence: Would you believe that the Catholic Church is the latest organisation to jump into this morass, announcing that:- "There's no moral justification for the region-cum-nation to seek independence"? Further, it asked its members to pray for unity ahead of a next weekend's regional election, seen as a proxy for a referendum on independence.
Investment in Cataluña; Despite the threat of succession and its apocalyptic consequences, foreign companies increased by 300% in the first half of this year. They must know something that most of us don't. Like, it's never going to happen.
Travelling in Spain: As we foreign residents know:- Travelling by bus, metro or train is up to 30% cheaper in Spain than elsewhere in Europe. Not surprisingly, Spaniards avail themselves of public transport more than their European neighbours.
Usted(es): This is the Spanish formal word for 'You' and it takes the 3rd person. I hate it and regularly ask people not to use it for me. The latest is a Mexican lady who visits my mother. She says she can't stop as she's conditioned to use it in appropriate circumstances. As no foreigner will ever work out what these are, I never use it. So, I say tu to my doctor while he is calling me usted, possibly the reverse of what it should be. I just hope they forgive me as I'm a guiri.
Business Languages: Surprising to read that French is still the most popular foreign tongue for British businessmen, followed by German. Spanish is only third, despite its greater global importance. My guess is that UK companies don't see South America as an attractive market.
British Humour: Here's a bit more on this, in the context of David Cameron's porcine relationships.
Finally . . . An irony?: Does anyone else think it's a bit rich for the head of the wealthy Catholic Church - whose luminaries dress in gold-stitched silk - to bang on about helping the poor. Perhaps I've visited too many overflowing treasuries in Iberia. Or seen too many priests living high on the hog. And the money flowing into Santiago de Compostela on the back of a ludicrous myth that the Church cynically sustains. But at least they no longer sell indulgences there. Merely announce that every now and then there's a Holy Year, to bring in even greater crowds. But they surely mean well.