It's 7.25am and I'm sitting at a wobbly table in a miserably empty Starbucks place in services on the M60 between Huddersfield and Leeds. It's taken me 30 minutes to do a 10 minute drive through traffic jams both in the former and on the motorway(autovía). Welcome to the UK in 2017.
I seriously dislike coffee-shops like Starbucks, particularly their system of asking your name so they can write it on the cup and call you to get your order. But I did enjoy using a fake Spanish accent and calling myself Manuel. Or Manell as it's written on the cup. And also giving my drossbin email address for all their future spam. Under my nom-de-plume of David Rossbin. And an old UK post/zip-code where I haven't lived for 17 years.
But, anyway . . . Huddersfield might well be a nice place but I arrived in the dark of yesterday evening and left in the obscurity of this morning, having been well-hosted by my friend, Jack. It was a tad embarrassing going with him for a curry last night in the scarf which my daughter insisted was gay but we got through it. Jack kindly gave up his bedroom for me but, having given me extra bedclothes in case I was cold, left the heating on all night. Meaning I awoke at 3am in a sauna. Disrobing garment by garment, I eventually got cool enough to get back to sleep. . . . People can be too gracious. Well, in the UK at least. Those funny Brits.
I was intrigued to hear on the News this morning that England's high-speed train (HS2) is forecast to reach the North of the country in 2033. If Galicia's experience with Spain's AVE is anything to go by, the lovely Northerners will still be waiting for it in 2053. Though possibly with the stations already built.
Back in Spain, the Catalan president is reported to have effectively told Brussels that Cataluña will become independent whether Spain agrees or not, after an imminent – and 'illegal' - referendum. Well, maybe. But not as a member of the EU, it can be safely assumed.
Talking about central heating . . . See here for a report on the massive increases in electricity prices Spanish consumers are being hit with this month, following on from a doubling of these last year. True, we have the most advanced meters in the world but this matters hardly a jot when most of the costs are fixed by the company and the government. And ever higher prices suit both of them. It's a scandal but nothing will be done about it.
A Spanish chap called Alberto Letona, an author, has kindly given us an insight into Spanish habits which amuse his guiri friends. See them all here. I've been there too long to find any of them remotely strange.
Finally . . . My son-in-law spent some years working in Africa. This is gift bearing his name and surname. As the latter is Lomas, my assumption is that the carver was Chinese:-