Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 30.5.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
Life in Spain:-
  • Driving in Spain 1: Here's another of the local junctions where you can't see what's coming from the left. Perhaps it's deliberate, forcing you to slow down.
  • Driving in Spain 2: I'm only able to write today because, on a roundabout last night, I slammed on my brakes when the car coming from the right failed to stop. But at least the driver raised his hand in apology, just after I'd avoided broadsiding him. I feared he was a local gypsy - infamous for ignoring rules. They don't take well to being remonstrated with. Luckily, he wasn't.

My ex-bank - Popular/Pastor - is on the block and is being looked at by 2 leading Spanish banks. To say the least, it's a distress sale and the trouble is no one has the slightest idea what it's worth, least of all the bank's own management. This is because: Popular’s books are filled with impaired real estate assets that date back to before the collapse of Spain’s gargantuan real estate bubble. They are now in varying stages of decomposition. And the prices at which they’ve been valued on the bank’s books appear to have little relation to today’s reality. More generally, as Don Quijones puts it: Despite all the restructuring, forced mergers and acquisitions, and the €300 billion taxpayer-funded bailout of the country’s savings banks, Spain’s banking system is not nearly as fixed as the authorities, both political and monetary, claim. More to the point, some investors may even begin wondering if Popular is the only bank in Spain to have massively inflated the value of the “assets” on its books. We will see, I guess. I'm so worried I've moved to an Italian bank!

I wonder how many Brits know that there was a second French invasion of England, in 1216 to be exact - after the those English barons unhappy with Henry II had invited the french king to come over and sort him out. Only a bit of good luck before the Battle of Lincoln in 1217 saved the day for the locals. The leaders of whom still spoke a sort of French, of course.

You'll all be wanting to know how much the bougainvillea sucker has grown in the last 7 days.


Well, it's an astonishing 23cm or 9 inches.

Finally . . . . Here's something I happened upon yesterday: How to be Unhappy. Translation tomorrow:-
Today's cartoon:-


2 comments:

Maria said...

Part of the Banco Pastor's problem is also customer assistance. If it has many employees like the fat, bad-humored one I found myself arguing with at the branch in Padrón, it will just keep losing customers.

There was a deposit account there with my father's and my name as co-titulars. I wanted to access my part of it, which is totally legal until all the papers and taxes concerned with my father's death are dealt with. Well, the guy said I couldn't and that he had to write an email to a bank lawyer in the central office to consult the matter. Irritated, but knowing full well the Spanish habit of passing the buck, I acceded to returning another day. Two days later I returned, and he repeated that I needed to liquidate all the taxes, etc., to access the account. Again, I argued that by law, half was mine to do what I wished with it. He promised to call the lawyer.

Yesterday, I returned. Again, he asked if I had resolved all the paperwork. Again, I repeated I only wanted to access my part of the account. He sent me off to another desk in the office. This time, a smile met me and an assurance that of course I could do what I wished with my part. No problem. When everything is resolved I am seriously thinking of digging a hole, lining it well, and burying my money in it. I wouldn't have to deal with surly bankers then.

Perry said...

Colin,

Of course I know about the Dauphin's invasion of England. I lived in Hertford from 1975 until 1983. First though, there was this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Hertford Hartford Cambs is a red herring.

Following the death of Angelo Salvo in 1216, a French invasion besieged the castle for a month until the governor, Walter de Godarvil, surrendered. However the country then supported Henry III and by 1217 the French had left. Following this the castle's military role became secondary to its use as a royal residence and in 1299 Edward I gave it to his second wife Margaret.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hertford_Castle

My former address was 104 Railway Street opposite Hertford East atation. The original track gauge was five feet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_and_Eastern_Railway

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