Spanish Politics: There were claims months ago – naturally denied – that the newish left-of-centre party, Podemos, had received illicit cash from the late Venezuelan madman, Hugo Chávez. And now there seems to be some evidence that he sent them 6 million dollars. The inevitable question is how this revelation will affect the already-difficult negotiations around a tripartite coalition government. Badly, I would have thought, at least from Podemos's standpoint.
The Spanish Economy: Despite (because of?) the absence of a government, this continues to steam ahead at a rate better than that of nearly all other EU countries. The big factor, of course, is tourism. With, as yet, no terrorism along Spain's sun-drenched coasts or, since 2004, in any of its beautiful cities, the country has benefitted greatly from downturns virtually everywhere else.
The Ponters Retail Scene: Shops continue to close here, the latest being a pastry shop in my barrio.
I'd thought these were impervious to La Crisis but obviously not. Bit of a shock. As it happens, I'd been wondering which sort of shop had come through La Crisis here – even prospered – and which had suffered most: Here's a very tentative list:-
FEWER (NOT 'LESS') OF
Estate agents – But now on the increase again.
Expensive women's clothes
Wine & deli boutiques (Though closures in the centre)
Upmarket pastry shops
Notaries – Though business well down. Living off the millions made during the boom years.
I wonder, firstly, how this profile compares with other cities, and, secondly, what it says about Pontevedra. Especially the sprouting of outlets for expensive items. Drug money?
Words: A Sky News reporter this morning used the word 'pertinence', which is so uncommon I had to check it existed. So, impressive. Mind you, the same lady yesterday used 'less' when she should have said 'fewer'. Swings and roundabouts. You win some, you lose some. Cue comment from that old bore, Alfie Mittington.
Dogs. As a wolf-lover, I hate to think that tiny dogs are descended from them. Most particularly the phenomenally ugly pug, whose face is worse its arse. Anyway, someone suggested dogs were getting smaller so they could fit into women's handbags. I doubt it but I do agree with him that a better solution for these benighted souls would be to get a bigger handbag. Or a real dog. Minimally, one larger than the cats which plague my garden.
Finally . . . A man has been arrested after trying to smuggle almost half a kilo of cocaine through Madrid’s airport . . . between his legs. The man´s unusually large bulge was actually a tightly wrapped bundle of cocaine. Security officers discovered it in the man's underwear. Given that the guy denied that he had any drugs, was this the first example of a bull and cock story?
This is me, during my year teaching in the Seychelles, a while ago. Before the airport was built and tourism took off. A tough challenge but someone had to do it. I wonder where my friends are now and whether they've worn the years as well as me [or 'I' for Messrs. Missler and Porter]. I'm second from the left, by the way.