Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in SpainSpain
- 50 Curious Facts about Spain. Maybe.
- Spanish Localism: Fewer than 2% of new Galicia's newly-qualified teachers will work outside the region. At the start of their careers - indeed, throughout them - their teachings posts will be - to various degrees - dictated by the regional government.
- More than 150,000 Galicians have a monthly income below the national minimum wage of €900. And the Galician average is said be to only €640/month. The second poorest region in Spain, I believe, after Extremadura.
- The Pontevedra Sunday Flea market: Chapter 5: The city council, having saved face by insisting it must move, have now lost it by agreeing to let it stay where it is. The condition is that it's 'set up' properly. In other words, by excluding the (illegal) gypsies and their awful tat. Who haven't been mentioned once in all the reportage this week.
- I duly tried a smoked hake sandwich at the new Gastroespacio yesterday and was sorely disappointed. White bread and a taste of little but vinegar. Ironically, the chef - who turned out to be the brother of my neighbour - had first given me a piece of the fish used for the sandwich and this had certainly tasted smokey.
- The Spanish are not known for a love of planning, preferring spontaneity. Except when it comes to fiestas, when advance efforts are truly impressive. As with this preparation - 'restoration' of one of the gates to the old quarter - for our Medieval Fair (Feira Franca) which is still over a week away:-
- The building on the right it the ex-convent of the Jesuits. Built 300 years ago in 1714 it still looks new - the beauty of (clean) granite. The city took it over when the Jesuits were expelled in 1767 and its latest guise is the city archive.
- O Burgo bridge: Here it is with the granite paving half completed. Repsol are fighting to stop the petrol station - the only one in/near the city - being closed down so that this area can become a 'park'. The 2 old houses in the LH corner are unoccupied and would be a perfect pilgrims' albergue, right on the camino. Months ago, it was announced they were going to be demolished, in the interests of the 'park', but it now seems this might not happen.
- Richard North today on Brexit: One thing that would work [to solve the Irish problem and avoid the infernal 'backstop'] is the Efta/EEA option, with new, bolt-on protocols covering such matters as customs, VAT and data protection. The UK, with its past history of integration as a member of the EU, would also have to agree protocols which kept policies akin to the CAP and CFP in place. There is too much water under the bridge for us to walk away from these core EU policies. At the very least, we would need a prolonged transition. Perversely – and certainly unintended – Johnson's prorogation of parliament, thus creating a new parliamentary session, has opened a new window of opportunity for the Efta/EEA option. It allows the Withdrawal Agreement to be represented to parliament as is, and allows for a workable solution to ensure that the backstop never comes into effect. And that is why the so-called "Norway Option" must be revisited – and urgently. It is the only credible option which will resolve the Brexit impasse.
- Inflatable sex dolls hanging from windows, dance music pumping through the walls and screaming arguments at midnight. The genteel Georgian streets of Bath are being ruined by an influx of “party houses” let on sites such as Airbnb, councillors have complained. Analysis of the Airbnb and Home Away websites shows that the number of short-term lets has increased from 476 in 2016 to more than 1,450 this year. BUT . . . Cities across the world are trying to tackle the growth of Airbnb rentals, which is eating up housing stock:
- Santa Monica in California wiped out 80% of its Airbnbs in 2015 by requiring owners to live in the property during the renter’s stay and register for a business licence.
- In 2015 there were crackdowns on secondary apartments in Paris set up specifically as short-term rentals, with officials fining violators up to €25,000.
- In 2016, Barcelona gave Airbnb an €600,000 fine for listing unlicensed apartments.
- Most newspaper and political sites host huge volumes of hostile comment, so much so that one ventures a contrary opinion with the greatest of trepidation. Comment sites have become the domain of mob rule and the death of reasoned discourse.
- Another denier of Trumpian truths.
- Word of the Day: Flechazo.
- This is the weekend for returning from the coast or your village to your home in whatever town or city you live in. In a car, you might make it - albeit slowly - but if you're going by train or plane, the employees of various companies will be making it difficult for you. Best to check.