SPANISH PROPERTIES 2: According to one of the country's main evaluation agencies, there are now 389,000 empty new houses throughout the country, with a bias towards the south and east coasts, of course. And then there's a God-only-knows number of 'old properties'. Despite this, prices are now rising again in those places where people actually want to live. Not in speculative new developments on the edge of Madrid or other cities, for example. And I know for a fact that Brits are once again buying rural properties here in Galicia, after many doldrum years.
THE LOOMING GENERAL ELECTION: The over 50s were going to get a letter about their future public pension but the government has vetoed this as it doesn't want them to know how low this will be. Nice. And they'll probably get away with this.
SPANISH TROOPS FOR MALI?: The Spanish President has said that M. Hollande hasn't called him to seek an answer to the question of whether Spain will renew its offer to replace French troops there. And that he doesn't expect a call until after the elections. I'll bet he doesn't, as he already knows the answer.
FINALLY . . . . A TRANSLITERATION MISTAKE??: Private Eye recently published this street-sign tribute to the IRA hunger striker in, I think, Tehran. If it really is Farsi, not Arabic, then I believe its says Barby Sarndz, not Bobby Sands. But I'm happy to be corrected. Not that it matters.
RECOMMENDATION: If you can get hold of The Sunday Times today, read the wonderful Comment article on a chap in Bolton who fooled the entire greedy, duplicitous art world for 40 years with his astonishing forgeries. If you hurry, you can even get a copy of his memoir, written in gaol. Where he really shouldn't be.