Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain.
If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.
Life in Spain
Cataluña 1: Just about the only thing that one can predict with any confidence is that Madrid's next challenge will be widespread civil disobedience, especially among Catalan bureaucrats and media employees. And very probably among the local forces of order as well. Cracking heads or even just arresting folk is not going to solve that one.
Cataluña 2: Having now read the papers I see that this resistance is already underway or at least imminent.
Cataluña 3: The number of companies to have 'left' the region now stands at 'more than 1,000'. As reader Maria points out, this very likely reflects pressure from Madrid on operations based in the region.
President/Prime Minister Rajoy: Here's a Guardian profile on this stubborn Gallego, renowned for his preferred strategy of doing nothing until – if ever – he really has to. If that's too long a prospect for you, here's a sort but accurate sentence: The prime minister’s decision to deal with Catalonia as a legal rather than a political issue has strengthened accusations of intransigence and prompted vows of resistance from independence supporters who are planning a peaceful campaign of civil disobedience.
The Bigger Picture: Here's The Guardian again with a view on how the Catalan imbroglio affects the EU. The paper observes that the latter is suffering another existential crisis and that it's the UK's job to help it overcome it. Interestingly, The Times agrees on the existential crisis but concludes it's the perfect time for the UK to jump the sinking ship. Guess where I am . . .
Meanwhile, here's good news for us Brits resident in Spain. Long expected by some of us, on the basis that we bring a lot of bunce to Spain.
Which reminds me . . . A reader asked if I'd given the NHS all the details of my Spanish residence, his/her point being – I think - that I should not been given free treatment. In fact, I did declare everything and was not asked to pay. Maybe this is because: 1. NHS personnel don't think 'commercially'; and 2. If I had used my EHIC card to get free treatment, the costs would have been billed to Spain. And then billed pack to the UK under the per capita lump sum per British resident that the 2 governments operate. I think.
Driving in the UK. I can't help noticing that drivers here don't need the endless speed signs that one gets in Spain, even on the autovias. This is particularly true of the UK motorways – where there are none at all - but, even on A and B roads, UK drivers are (sometimes) only told Roundabout Ahead and maybe Slow Down, rather than given a rapid sequence of 80, 70, 50, and 40 signs as they approach one. The other thing, of course, is that folk here know how to go round roundabouts. . .
Finally 1: I had a feeling of empathy or deja vu when I read this description from a UK columnist on corporal punishment at home: I am not entirely sure where I stand on this issue. Like most working-class kids of my generation the rod was not often spared in my household, metaphorically or literally. My mother kept a set of canes, left over from a failed vegetable patch, in the kitchen, and used them with some glee and vigour. At school too, I was caned fairly regularly for being an utter arse. He's stolen my recollections! But I have to go further and say I was strapped even in the 6th form of the grammar school I attended, when it was impressed upon me that this was a signal honour as it had never happened before. Except I don't think they used the word 'honour'. As you can see, it all did me no harm . . . .
Finally 2: I went for a follow-up appointment at the hospital today, to check that the antibiotics had worked. Which they have. It was reported recently that NHS medical staff will soon have to ask you what sexual orientation you have, and my pre-prepared answer was going to be: I'm not entirely sure, as I'm only aged X, and have only tried one so far. Put me down as a 'Don't Know'. As it happens, they didn't ask me this, even on the questionnaire they gave me. So I expressed my disappointment on the form and gave the answer I would have given them if they had asked. I hope it makes someone smile one day.
A tribute to M Macron . . . .
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