Monday, June 12, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 12.6.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 
Well, better late than never  . . . .

At 10.10 this morning - a tad late - my daughter and I presented ourselves at the notary office, to effect the donación mentioned last week. They suggested we go for a coffee as they weren't ready for us. We returned to the office at 10.30 and were taken to a side room, where we waited 10 minutes. A young woman came and asked us for all the documents my daughter had already sent copies of. When I asked if there wasn't already a draft document to look at, she murmured something about not having had time. Ten or fifteen minutes later, she returned with a draft. It was wrong in two material ways and so we asked for it to be re-done. She came back with the final document and we read and approved it. After another 10 minutes, the notary appeared and went quickly through the document. He expressed surprise that I was resident in Galicia and then displayed his (unsurprising) ignorance of Galician law around the tax on transfer of assets. He told us we neededto go to the Madrid tax office to pay the small amount of tax payable on the transaction. We signed, he went away and directed us towards a clerk. The latter gave us the original, 2 copies and a nice large envelope. Plus a bill for €290. As usual, no one displayed any understanding of the time we'd had wasted, either before or during the visit to the office. And no one gave us an explanation of why 15 minutes of a notary's time cost almost €300. No wonder it's a sought-after job. Even if it must be excruciatingly boring. 

By the way . . . This notary was recommended to my daughter by 2 friends as one of the best in Madrid.

Before going to the Tax Office, we visited the Thyssen and had lunch. Then we checked on the office hours of the Tax Office. It had closed at 2pm for the day. And I go back to Pontevedra tonight. On a train that leaves at 10.14 . . .

So, with that major moan out of the way . . . .

Life in Spain:-
  • See above.
  • Trouble is brewing in respect of Cataluña. What the regional government is doing there is undoubtedly illegal but the question is what on earth can Madrid do about it.
  • The Constitutional Court has declared illegal a 2012 tax amnesty designed to allow corrupt politicians to legalise their 'savings' outside the country. But interim settlements won't be affected. See here for more on this bizarre development.
  • Although most museums and galleries in Spain are closed on Mondays, the Thyssen was not only open but free today. And visiting it was a pleasure. Unlike Saturday's visit to an exhibition of Escher 's wonderful stuff in a place into which far too many visitors had been allowed to crowd.
  • Madrid is awash with border collies. Clearly the 'in' dog here.
  • In 1887 several people were arrested in Madrid for making noise after midnight. How times have changed.
  • On the Metro this morning, we didn't see any of the new signs warning against 'manspreading:-
So I did it . . 

My daughter is a fluent speaker of Spanish and, like all of us, occasionally can't recall the English word she wants. More amusingly, she volunteered that she's mistakenly come up with 'I arrove' instead of 'I arrived'. Twice! Waste of a private education.

If you want to have a decent idea of what's happening in respect of Brexit, click here for the comments of the only person in the UK who really seems to know what's going on. And who - despite being a long-time Brexiteer - is very, very, unhappy with things.

For Gallego speakers, the equivalent phrase provided by one of my daughter's friends for 'insult to injury' (see the top of this post) is Enriba da cona un corte. Which I should perhaps just translate as 'Another gash on top of the first one'. That said, my closest Gallego-speaking friend says it's new to him. But there's actually a Facebook page. Albeit with nowt on it.

Did you know there's a blocking app that can protect you from the distraction of the internet? It's called Freedom. Though it might only work with Mac devices.

Finally . . . Donald Trump's planned visit to the UK might seems to be off. He's reported to have told the (current) Prime Minister he won't come if there are large protests against him. Well, if these weren't going to happen before, they certainly will now. As the Telegraph puts it it: British public opinion about the American President is not overwhelmingly positive. October had been the probable date for it but now his visit is sine die.

So life is not all bad.

1 comment:

Perry said...

Colin,

Once again you have hit the nail on the head. If there isn't a word of phrase in another language for an English concept, then perhaps that concept is foreign to the foreigner. For example, fair play or waiting your turn or most egregious of all, remaining multicultural. Multiracial Rome had a phrase for it: "When in Rome, do as the fffff****g Romans do."

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