Monday, March 12, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 12.3.18

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.

  • Good to know that Spain is currently going through a generational change among feminist movements. Click here for more. Hopefully, El País got this right.
  • Don Quijones continues to be sceptical about the strength of Spanish banks in general and of Banco Sabadell in particular. And he worries what will happen now that the ECB is finally prodding banks in the Eurozone to unload their bad loans. As for Sabadell, DQ notes this bank is getting treatment from the Spanish government rather better than that given to last year's failure, Banco Pastor. Taxpayer funds, he says, are flowing constantly in the direction of Sabadell – to the eventual tune of over €10 billion. With severe consequences for the fund which is supposed to protect private deposits. Brussels, he says, is again doing its Nelson act in respect of breaches of EU banking regulations. Which, incidentally, it says it will severely punish in the case of post-Brexit Britain. Details here.
  • Spanish justice again: A major corruption case: This week the judge presiding over the case ruled that the statue of limitations has unfortunately elapsed. As tends to happen with cases of white collar crime in Spain, the accused were cleared - not because they’d been found innocent but because the wheels of justice moved too slowly for a judgement to be reached.
  • Per Tim Parfitt today: Rajoy continued to say some crazy stuff. And I mean really crazy stuff. This week, it was: “I will speak with absolute clarity. I will do everything I can and a little more than I can, if that is possible, and I will do everything possible and even the impossible, if the impossible is also possible.” Don’t forget, he’s being paid to say stuff like that.
Life in Spain
  • Waiting for my neighbour to pick me up in town last week, I clocked that all 4 of the places reserved for ambulances next to Pontevedra's main health centre (ambulatorio) were occupied by cars.
  • Can anyone tell me what this combination of white and yellow lines means, in theory and in practice?

  • And what the rules are for pedesterian lights which flicker orange for drivers?
The EU
  • Here's me and others calling on Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron to have more common sense and face reality about the right EU model and now there's this announcement:- Paris and Berlin have postponed plans to propose an ambitious reform of the eurozone at the upcoming EU leaders’ summit on March 22 and 23, Germany’s Spiegel magazine reported Saturday. The power of the pen. Well, mine anyway . . . 
The UK
  • This is what should worry those who think there should be a second Brexit referendum: Two in three people Brits believe the EU is attempting to “bully” the UK in the Brexit negotiations. And that number surely isn't going to fall as Brussels plays hard ball over the coming weeks in the imminent 'substantive' discussions.
  • Of course, this is not necessarily true: Richard North – knowing more about the EU than anyone else in the UK - is an ardent Brexiteer. But he doesn't accept that Brussels is being hard on the UK. Rather the contrary: Throughout the whole Brexit process to date – the UK has taken a passive role and ceded the political initiative to the EU. The UK's role has been largely negative, declaring what it is not prepared to accept while continually failing to be specific about what it does want.  As a result, it is hardly surprising that the EU negotiators are running out of patience and, by the same token, it is difficult to sustain a credible argument that they are "bullying" the UK. In many respects, given the inflammatory statements from some cabinet ministers, M. Barnier and his colleagues have been a model of restraint. I'm sure reader Sierra agrees fully with that.
The Spanish Language
  • New word – Narcopiso. Click here for an article on them here in Spain. In a British newspaper.
Social Media
  • A warning from a man who knows about these things . . .
  • Spring is said to cause a rise in sap in both trees and males. It also seems to be the season for new beggars in Pontevedra. At least another 3 last week, most of them using the very polite, sorry-to-bother-you technique. Is there a school for begging somewhere near? Strangely, there was this bit in the Daily Telegraph this morning, addressing the issue of 'charm': Should we always give to beggars?: Pope Francis says we should always give to them. No excuses. I am grateful to the Pope for pricking my conscience. But is it, in reality, always true that one should give if asked? Should you give, for example, if asked aggressively, or by people who are very drunk or high? Is it always reasonable to assume that someone who begs is a “real” beggar? Might you sometimes be encouraging people who are not desperately poor but just like cheating? I have experienced such people. If you give automatically, might you not be making your own life too easy, feeling virtuous without bothering to work out real need? In practice, I find myself giving only to beggars whom I like or trust. One cold evening recently, I fell into conversation with a homeless Irishman. We had a friendly talk. I offered him money. He gracefully refused it. The next day, I found him outside a nearby shop, begging. As a sort of reward for refusing my money the previous day, I handed over £20. Was my judgment a fair one, or was I over-favouring charm? After all, the charmless beggar coaxes less out of the public, so he is the one with the greater need. Doesn't work with me . . .
  • Talking of drug smuggling . . . You can download - for free – here (in Spanish) the book, Fariña, which will cost you a small fortune via Amazon. It's now a major drama series here in Spain. If this link doesn't work, there are plenty of others on the net.
  • I rarely read restaurant reviews but this one, in The Guardian, caught my eye. Apparently its patrons are mainly blonde-tressed women, just bubbling and fizzing with food intolerances . . . Dairy- and gluten-fearing dietary warriors, seeking sanctuary from the terrifying world of modern food. The meal excoriated cost 55 quid (€60) each. But the place is in Chelsea.
In Memoriam
  • RIP Ken Dodd, who's passed away aged 90. A truly great Liverpool comedian and quite possibly that last of his kind as a stage performer. Fittingly, his last performance was in Liverpool on December 28 last. He never moved out of the house he was born in in Knotty Ash in Liverpool and was vastly loved by the denizens of that great city. And rightly so. Even if he wasn't everyone's cup of tea.


Sierra said...

Try the 1,003 pages of "Código de Tráfico y Seguridad Vial":

Good luck!

Sierra said...

P.S. Try page 117 - illustrated page 157

"d) An intermittent yellow light or two alternately flashing yellow lights force the drivers to exercise extreme caution and, if necessary, give way. In addition, they do not exempt from complying with other signals that force them to stop"

"d) Una luz amarilla intermitente o dos luces amarillas alternativamente intermitentes obligan a los conductores a extremar la precaución y, en su caso, ceder el paso. Además, no eximen del cumplimiento de otras señales que obliguen a detenerse."

Colin Davies said...

Many thanks, Sierra. I've been wondering how to get hold of that!

Colin Davies said...

Even more for the ref.

Colin Davies said...

But what the hell does 'if necessary' mean? If the pedestriah as ignored his/her read ight and started to cross the road???

Sierra said...

As a non-Spaniard you're on a loser - so basically "exercise extreme caution" and be prepared to stop

Colin Davies said...

Well understood but in this case I'm asking from the perspective of a pedestrian . . . Maybe same advice, I guess.