Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 22.3.18

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.

  • I saw the word ataraxia used in relation to President Rajoy the other day. It turns out to mean: calmness or peace of mind; emotional tranquillity. So, pretty apt. It goes with his apparent inability to do much. And also with his admantine refusal to do anything at all about the immense corruption in his PP party. Possibly because he's deeply implicated himself.
  • This was expected. By me, at least.
  • I've mentioned that Spanish law officers can be extraordinarily sensitive, having recourse to the infamous 'Gag Law' whenever they feel they've been insulted or traduced. Here's the latest example.
  • I'm increasingly confused by different messages re pensions in Spain. As I try to improve my understanding, here's a relevant cartoon, on the pathetic increase announced for this year:-

Life in Spain
  • A Pontevedra café that was once just El Pasaje has been refurbished and renamed Pasaje a Los Sueños de Alé y Patt. I assume these are diminutives and that Patt is short for Patricia. But by what logic? A botched attempt at anglicisation?
  • Last week, there was a flood in my regular watering-hole, leading to temporary closure. When I arrived at 13.00, the owners suggested we meet in another bar shortly. I agreed and went off towards it, meeting the waiter and waitress leaving as I got there.They declined to wait for the owners, so I went in and did so on my own. For one and a half hours - armed (as ever) with reading matter - before I gave up and went home. This no -show hasn't been mentioned by anyone in 5 days, even though I lunched with everyone 2 days ago. Relating this tale to a friend yesterday, she pointed out that no Spaniard would have been surprised at the non-appearance and would never have waited long. More relevantly, the bar owners would have known and expected this and would have been astonished that I had waited, and confused if I had mentioned it. Any irritation on my part would have been utterly incomprehensible to them. By Spanish standards, they'd done nothing wrong.
  • Which all reminds me of one of my favourite dicta: The Spanish don't have Plans; they have Intentions.
  • And that no one in Spain worries about wasting anyone else's time.
  • No wonder the waiter and waitress were disinclined to wait for the owners. I should have taken a leaf from their book. Except that, to be honest, my intention had always been to read for an hour or two over a copa.
  • Spain is not a great place for entrepreneurs. Once you get past the bureaucracy in the way of setting up a business, you're immediately hit by high obligatory social security taxes, even if your revenue is nil and you're operating at a loss. And now the government – under the rubric of data protection – has told autonomas that they risk a fine if they use whatsapp to communicate with their customers. Does this happen anywhere else? A regular question in Spain.
The EU
  • Here's Don Quijones again on Brussels banking shenanigans, designed for the benefit of banks and the disbenefit of taxpayers. No one in Brussels can be voted out of office, of course.
  • Can anyone really be surprised at this?
  • Interesting that the white-skinned Austin bomber hasn't been declared a 'terrorist' by Fart. Nor any mass shooter, of course.
  • I do hope what passes for Fart's brain is preserved for the benefit of society. Future genetic developments should ensure we can identity foetuses showing significant similarities. Or even unfertisiled cells.
Social Media
  • I said above that I was confused on the issue of pensions. One reason is that yesterday the local media reported that more than 50% of Galician workers earn less than those recently retired. But, of course, this reflects not only the size of pensions but also the reduction in wages over the decade of 'internal devaluation' forced on Spain by Brussels/Berlin. The average pension is said to be €1,160 a month or €13,920 a year. Possibly more if there are 13 or 14 payments. It's only taxable after €17,000, I understand.

Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 22.3.18


Maria said...

Ah! The Gag Law. Recently, a local driver was stopped by the local cops and fined for administrative reasons. The guy was incensed and took his feud to Facebook. In my opinion, he just gave an opinion, but the local cops do not like being criticized by someone they consider to be in the wrong. The guy posted an article about an attempted kidnapping of a school girl with a caption saying that if local police and Guardia Civil did their job instead of writing fines, such things wouldn't happen. He went on to say there were no balls within the "so-called" "fuerzas do estado" (sic), and that those who are no good at other jobs can always find one there. At no time did he use vulgar words except "collóns" nor did he threaten.

He now has another 600 euros to pay for expressing his opinion and giving the cops the social finger.

Sierra said...

Did you know that if your income is less than 1.5 x 14 x IPREM, could qualify for PVPC?

Colin Davies said...

I went through hoops on this in respect of gas. Without success.