Friday, January 29, 2016

Notes from Madrid

Well, in the absence of both myself and a government, Spain has survived the last month.

Now in Madrid for a few days, I was taken aback at 7 this morning to be woken by the sound of a muezzin, calling muslims to prayer. This turned out to come from the radio in the room next to mine, where the decorators are in. Which was sort of a relief.

Needless to say, one of the headlines of the day is that there's another huge corruption scandal down in Valencia, involving the outgoing PP party. Another is the imminent acquittal of some defendants in a large corruption trial, merely because things have taken so long the court has run out of time under the statute of limitations. A not uncommon occurrence here - unless you're a resident with undeclared overseas assets. In which case, the tax office can go back to the dawn of time in order to calculate your fine. And then declare you guilty of a fiscal crime. Which reminds me, the ex presidenta of the Valencian government is going to escape prosecution for financial shenanigans simply because she's now in the Congress and, as an aforado(a) is immune from judicial process. By the by . . . Spain has just achieved its worst ever rating on the Transparency International annual survey of corruption around the world. Hardly a surprise.

The strangest headline concerns 3 nuns who were taken from India 17 years ago and effectively imprisoned in a convent in Galicia. But one of them escaped and blew the gaffe. There's a shortage of nuns in Spain, it seems. Both in numbers and size. The name of the order is the Mothers of Mercy. A label which apparently can't be attached to the Mother Superior of the Santiago de Compostela convent in which they were imprisoned for so long, against threats of a severe reaction if they tried to escape. Well, the Lord needs his brides, I guess

I sang the praises of Amsterdam airport the other day. Liverpool's, sadly, is towards the other end of the scale. Not in all respects but the signage is poor and the security system is the 7th. circle of Hell. Only 3 of the 6 belts were operative and one of these seemed to be reserved for non-existent 'Fast Trackers'. The result was a long initial queue which took at least 20 minutes to get through, as against about 2 minutes in Schiphol. As the sheep finally reached the end of the line, they were directed into one of the holding pens for 5 or 6 of them behind the 2 operating belts. But, yesterday - on the basis of criteria it was impossible to discern - one or two lucky ones were sent to the empty third belt. Happily, I was one these and could only assume I was perceived to be important because I was carrying a Burberry mac. I even had a pleasant chat with one of the security people over one of my items. They recognise quality in Liverpool.

Finally . . . I had the pleasure of watching Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet last night. A terrific production brought to a cinema screen in Madrid by NT Live, a tremendous initiative. Needless to say, my elder daughter and I then had something to eat at well past midnight. Good to be home.

Postscript: If says your choice is full, try direct contact. My impression is I'm the only person in this 'fully-booked' place. Apart from the decorators, of course.


Eamon said...

"There's a shortage of nuns in Spain, it seems. Both in numbers and size." Your astute observation probably holds the key to the reason why they were held "prisoner". The three Nuns were probably very young and malnourished when they left India. After about a year in the convent they put on weight and height due to the good vitals provided in the convent. If they were sent out on an errand they would be too tall and cause suspicion among the locals so they were kept out of sight.

Lucy Watson said...

Why are you staying there when I have made you up a guest bed here? Lxx

Perry said...

Stop Press.

Princess up smelly creek in barbed wire canoe with no implement for propulsion.

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