Saturday, December 02, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 2.12.17

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.

  • Here's Don Quijones on the complexities of the situation. I have to say I agree with this observation: Reports on these events in the anglophone media have been mostly breathless, excited, misleadingly opinionated and depressingly shallow. Paul Mason’s piece in the Guardian is a partial exception – though it displays more enthusiasm for Catalan independence than understanding of the complexities. Essential reading. Especially his conclusions.
  • Another non-surprise: Spain's ruling Popular Party (PP) will stand trial for allegedly destroying laptops used by a former treasurer being tried over a suspected slush fund, a court ruling published on Friday said. It will be the first time that a political party goes on trial in the country. More on this here.
  • 'Essential' advice from The Local on how to approach the Spanish winter. Like Spaniards.
  • When it comes to bilingualism – speaking both Spanish and the local language – Galicians are said to be way ahead of other regions. But I failed to jot down the number and now can't find the article. I can say that other regions come in at:-
- Cataluña 56%
- The Balearics 43%
- Valencia 35%
- The Basque Country 34%
- Navarra 15%
  • The Banker magazine tells us that Banco Santander is the best bank in the world. Never having had any dealings with them, I have no idea if this is true or not. But I rather doubt it. Depends on the criteria, I guess. And who's asking. I don't suppose the many people made redundant after the purchase of Banco Pastor will share this perspective.
The EU/Brexit
With agreement over the divorce bill seemingly imminent, Barnier’s task was simple enough. Instead, he started his speech – on the future of European security after Brexit – by expressing shock that Britain voted to leave the EU “after a series of attacks on European soil”, and months after France had called for solidarity against Islamic State. “Rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the union,” said Barnier, “the British chose to be on their own again.” This was a disingenuous and dishonourable line of attack. While I have little sympathy for the cack-handed manner in which this government has pursued negotiations with the EU [me neither], this framing of security as all or nothing – with us, or “on their own” – is a dangerous and counterproductive tactic. More from The Guardian on this regrettable development here.


The hippoPOTUS . . . 
The UK
  • As a British expat, which group do you belong to? Let The Local help you decide here.
  • The survey on bilingualism cited above also gave these figures for the percentage of Galicians who regard Gallego or Spanish (Castellano) as their mother tongue:
- Gallego - 85%
- Castellano – 91%
No, I can't explain this either. Perhaps they misunderstood the question. Or were asked it twice, in different ways.
  • On the subject of local newspapers, these are daily readersihip numbers reportd by the Voz de Galicia yesterday, in thousands:-
- Voz de Galicia 558
- Faro de Vigo 236
- La Región 80
- Correo Gallego 68
- Diario de Pontevedra 32
- Diario de Ferrol 18
- El Ideal Gallego 18
- Atlántico Diario 12
It's hard to understand how some of these remain in business. The survey reported that, nationwide, 9.6m people read a paper daily, against 964,000 in Galicia. Roughly, these are 22% and 34% of the respective populations. I've no idea how credible any of these numbers are.

  • Two more kamikaze drivers on our AP9 autopista in the last month. Drivers going the wrong way. One was a local youth and the other was a Portuguese man who was 4 times over the alcohol limit. At 12 noon.
  • Prompted by a message from reader Eamon in La Coruña, I looked at my water bills and discovered that, though we have the same consumption, I pay 25% more than him. I also confirmed that – so low is my variable cost and so high are the fixed costs – both increases and decreases in volume make relatively little impact on the total cost. So, it'll take several years yet before I've recouped the money lost on the leak of 4 years ago . . .


Sierra said...

Can't complain about €142 a year for water, sewerage and rubbish collection (helped by the local river providing the first, and disposing of the residue of the second). The local council gave up reading the meters as a cost saving measure three years ago, the quarterly amount hasn't varied since.

Colin Davies said...

Blimey. At only 9m3 6 times, I'm paying just under €300 a year.

Aren't modern meters capable of being read without a visit? Guess you don't have them yet in your barrio/street. Lucky you.

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