Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in SpainSpain
- There must be some positive benefits to late hours, reduced sleep and lots of chatting, for Spain is about to replace Japan, it says here, as number 1 in the longevity stakes.
- One good thing about Spanish high levels of ambient noise is that, in a restaurant, no one can hear a baby cry. But, then, this being Spain, even if the diners could hear it, they'd just smile.
- Woody Allen has a strong connection with Spain. Or, should I say, with Asturias, whose capital city (Oviedo) has a larger-than-life statue of him. So, perhaps it's not surprising that his latest cinematic endeavour will take place here. Notwithstanding how he's viewed back home.
- Here's a heartfelt plea from reader Maria to all of those who have a vote in the upcoming elections.
- Italy: The French government is reported to fear that the the Eurozone is not sufficiently armed to face a new economic or financial crisis. And that such a crisis could begin in Italy. Given that taken together, the financial sectors of the largest, second largest and fourth largest economies in the Eurozone — Germany, France and Spain — hold no less than €600 billion of Italian debt, derivatives, credit commitments and guarantees on their balance sheets - it's not really a surprise that these concerns exist. And, of course, it's not only the French who are worried about the near future. See DQ on this here.
- Germany: As everyone knows, the European economy is in trouble, but just how much may not yet be widely appreciated. Thanks to a sharp fall in German production, eurozone manufacturing output is declining for the first time in 6 years, survey evidence suggests. Most commentators regard this as just a temporary setback, caused by a sharp slowdown in car exports to China and the after effects of Germany’s diesel scandal. These setbacks are expected to pass. Or maybe not. As is ever more obvious, the problems of Europe’s car industry are as much structural as cyclical. Put simply, Europe is behind the curve on the switch to electric vehicles, and also on the infrastructure needed to support the transition. That it should so late in the day be playing catch-up with Asia and America is an extraordinary indictment of a continent assumed to be at the forefront of automotive engineering.
- The populace continues to yawn its way to a No Deal Brexit in just over a month's time. Or, at best, a 3-month-plus stay of execution. As it does, the governing Tory party - following the example of the opposition Labour party - continues to tear itself apart. Interesting times. One wonders now what the New Politics will look like in the New Britain. Should the latter ever come to pass.
- Word of the Day: Lección
- Odd Old Word: Dight: 1. Adjective: Clothed or equipped. 2. Verb: Make ready for a use or purpose; prepare. You'll need to know this word if you read a 19th century translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Among others.
- I noticed a sparrow in my garden last Thursday, so perhaps they're back from their winter sojourn. Coincidentally, I read this yesterday: The chirruping of sparrows is obviously a language and a sophisticated one at that. It reverberates in the human mind long after we have ceased to hear it. That is when the meaning kicks in, through resonance. The chattering is ingrained within our psyche and may even have inveigled its way into our genes.