Fag(Cigarette) Packaging: Spain is one of the few countries who've failed to implement an EU directive on making packets bland, unbranded and frightening. The usual culprit, I guess. The politico-corporate nexus which has served both sets of hyper-corrupt leaders so well over many, many years here.
Spanish Football again: Football in Spain is a very technical game. The best football is here, says Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side was dumped out of the Champions League semi-finals by Real Madrid. See here for a nice comment on Liverpool's disastrous performance against Sevilla last week.
The Pursuit of Happiness: Some university researchers have discovered that we're happier when we are part of a group, whether this is the family or something else such as a hobby group. Who on earth would have thought it? The researchers have now moved on, as Private Eye would say, to investigate whether the Pope is a Catholic and whether bears shit in the woods.
A Brexit: Britain's luvvies have come out en masse against this, claiming they need Brussels (i. e. its gelt) in order to remain creative and productive. The estimable Allison Pearson responds to this cant here. As she says: The arguments put forwardare laughable. What are the 282 signatories actually extolling here? Surely not the actual functioning, or dysfunctioning, EU, which is elitist, white, male, dictatorial and hideously bureaucratic – everything that the artistic spirit rightly rebels against. What they really love, then, is a platonic ideal of Europe, of solidarity between friendly nations with each other’s best interests at heart. Marvellous idea, darlings, until you look at Greece. Punished, fearful and running out of medicine, the Greek people had to be sacrificed for the greater European ideal.
The UK NHS: After a fall and a knock on the head, the 90 year old mother of a German friend went to the Emergency unity of her local hospital in Devon last week. After waiting 10 hours, she was seen to and sent home, without any X-ray being taken. She returned the next day and was admitted, but died overnight because of blood on the brain. The coroner – rightly – suspects negligence and has only issued an interim death certificate, pending a full investigation. Conclusion: The British coroner service might well be 'the envy of the rest of the world' but I continue to doubt that the NHS merits this ludicrous accolade. I wonder if this would have happened in, say, Holland – where the health service operates on the basis of compulsory insurance. Whatever, here's an article on the subject of the NHS's 'inefficiencies and failures', suggesting ways it could be improved. All of which will be attacked from the Left as 'creeping privatisation'.
Border Collies: I've had 2 of these wonderful, intelligent dogs, the last one living for more than 17 years, against an average for the breed of 12.5. I guess I must have been doing something right. Anyway, a young working sheepdog has just been sold for a record £15,000 in the UK. The story here.
Pontevedra Pigeon Problem: The chap at the next table to me in a café yesterday - almost certainly a tourist - was clearly thrilled to be approached by a single pigeon. He first offered it his entire slice of cake and then scattered crumbs on the floor when it declined the whole thing. Predictably, within 3 minutes there were almost 20 of these flying rats around his feet. Astonishingly, he seemed pleased and impressed by this 'achievement'. If I'd had a machine gun, it would have been a toss up between him and the filthy birds. And the huge seagull which landed on another table a few minutes later, devouring in gulps the 2 cakes left on it. Outside my usual midday bar, I find a strong water-pistol is enough to keep the rapacious birds away. Amazingly, they seem to recognise me, departing as I arrive. No bird-brains, then.
Finally . . . . Russia's RT 'News' channel. Here's an interesting insight into one of their current stars, Alexander Mercouris. You couldn't make it up. As someone has said: In attempting to offer "an alternate point of view", it's forced to talk to marginal, offensive, and often irrelevant figures. You can say that again.
Here - very briefly- is the most beautiful and intelligent granddaughter ever born . . .