Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thought from Galicia: 15.6.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 
Life in Spain:-
  • Here's The Local's list of 10 tips for surviving the Spanish summer, rather more relevant for the South than the North.
  • Talking of the weather . . .  Can this worrying prediction be true?
  • My tax challenge . . . .Before I went for my 11 o'clock appointment with the state tax office (the Hacienda) yesterday morning, I thought I'd try the office I was referred to yesterday by the chap in the town hall. This turned out to be the municipal tax office, as opposed to either the state or the regional tax offices I mentioned yesterday. A charming lady there told she couldn't answer my question and referred me to the office with which I already had the appointment. So, having plenty of time, I went first to my ex-bank and then for a coffee and presented myself there at 11. When I was promptly seen and told by another charming lady that she couldn't help me as this was a devolved regional matter. I should to the office of the Xunta's Facenda. Where might this be, I asked. Right next door, she said. So off I went again and, in due course, spoke to the third charming lady of the morning. She advised me that it wasn't my responsibility to complete Modelo 600 and to pay the tax but my daughter's in Madrid. But, I replied, that wasn't the case when I sold my house, submitted the same form and paid the enormous 7.5% tax. No, she said, but property and cash transfers are treated differently and the latter have to be dealt with by the regional tax office where the recipient lives.
  • I guess it's possible that devolution of tax matters, differential rules on property and cash and the existence of 3 different tax offices in one town are NOT designed to confuse you and cause you to make mistakes, so that you can then be fined; but one does wonder. After all, a lot of small fry have to be hit to compensate for just one large fry stealing from the public purse and then, naturally, evading tax on his/her illegal income.
  • I went to my ex-bank – the now-dead Popular – to ensure my account had been closed. There I found I still had to sign something and to cancel a credit card I'd never used. I took up the offer of the bank employee to call the number and then had to repeat the same information to 3 people before I put the phone down in annoyance. I wonder if anyone ever listens to the recordings every Spanish organisation tells you it's making so as to 'improve customer service'. . . .
The Spanish state prosecutors are seeking a decent jail sentence for the corrupt ex-head of the IMF,  Rodrigo Rato. My guess is he'll be given less than 2 years and allowed to walk from the court. Or at least back to where he's serving a short time for a previous corruption conviction.

Nutters's Corner: Reverting to the issue of bad weather . . . 'Historian' David Barton says God gives us bad weather because we’re doing things that upset him/her. Maybe it’s not his choice. Barton stresses. Maybe it’s our own sins or our own unrighteous policies. Well, that certainly makes a lot of sense. An omnipotent god can do nothing about the consequences of our (alleged) sins. Even if we pray to him/her to do something about it.

You might by now think you know enough about the appalling character of Donald Trump. Or you might be fed up of reading about him. If not, take a look at this astonishing 1997 article on him, which I re-read yesterday. I thought I'd already cited it but can't find the post. 

I got lucky with the night train to and from Madrid. Very shortly, it'll be subject to 2 delays. The first will centre on bridge-strengthening in Arcade and will mean a bus from Pontevedra to Vigo. The second will arise from works around the AVE high-speed train tracks around Zamora.

New English Words?:-
  1. Drear: As in: . .  a passing infatuation for the media which was bored with the drear of politics as usual.
  2. Phubbing: A modern disease.
  3. Unsheeping: As in this Spanish site.
I hadn't realised that Banco Popular had Galician origins. With its demise, ABanca(TheBank) is now heavily promoting itself as Galicia's only real bank. Given it's 88% owned by a Venezuelan operator, you have to admire the chutzpah.

Here in Pontevedra, our 'emblematic' Savoy café in the main square certainly seems to be doing its best to discourage lingerers. At my first visit yesterday, I discovered that not only are there no newspapers but also that the price for a bottle of water - €1.80 - is up at Madrid levels. Won't be going back.

Finally . . . Five or ten minutes after my successful meeting in the Xunta's tax office (the Facenda), I realised that – as is my time-honoured custom - I'd left my panama hat in one of the 5 places I'd been to in the previous hour. So, I backtracked to the state and Xunta tax offices - going through the security check again - but without success. So I then made my way to the café, where an honest waiter had kept it for me. On the way there, though, I'd decided that, if he had stolen it, I would finance another purchase by going there for a coffee every day for a year and not leaving my usual 10 cents tip.

Incidentally, the Facenda office of the Xunta's building was on the the 3rd floor. Near the lifts, there were these 2 signs:-

They were not money well spent, as I was the only person taking any notice of them. And I don't even speak Gallego . . .  Well, not much.

Today's cartoon:-

Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics - They all taste like chicken!


Alfred B. Mittington said...

My (digital) dictionary gives 'drear' as a rather literary adjective, of 17th c. origin, an abbreviation of 'dreary'.

Of course, the dear lady who wrote that article uses it as a noun… But that's a living language for you, right?


Colin Davies said...

Then perhaps you should borrow my OED, should I ever have the misfortune to meet you . . . First use as a noun recorded as 1563

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Those of us who are lucky, and wealthy enough, to own an OED (not to mention that they still have the necessary eyesight…) will always beat the poor proletarian and plebeian linguists who must make do with inferior lexicons…

But if you knew… Why did you ask your readers???


Colin Davies said...

Becoz until i read yr ignorant comment it was new TO ME. Hence the question mark. Just accept defeat gracioulsy FFS. You've had enough cause to . .. .

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Do you really think that posting your sorry reply twice will enhance the strength of the argument (or lack thereof)??


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