Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 6.12.17

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.

Cataluña
  • Sr P is no longer being pursued by the Spanish government but - fearing prison if he tries to do this in Barcelona - he's staying in Belgium to contest the imminent elections from there. Several of his mates will be electioneering from prison. Welcome to politics Spanish style.
  • Of course, this is not unprecedented, at least at a local level. More than one Galician mayor – though convicted of drug trafficking – has been re-elected while still in prison.
Spain
  • I've noted a few times that no one trusts anyone in Spain. A 'low ethics society', as a Spanish reader once said. The latest evidence of this is my insurance company telling me they need to send someone to check I really have replaced a central heating water pump and why. When I said I could take fotos of everything and that my claim would be small, and asked if this expense was really necessary, the retort was this would happen even if the claim were for just one euro. Then I was castigated for proceeding with the repair without first telling them I was freezing cold and urgently need heating. Rather than waiting “24-48 hours” for an assessor to poll along.
  • In a second call to my insurance company, I asked them to send me by email a copy of their terms and conditions. The response: We need to have your name and birth date details for security purposes. To send me a copy of their standard T&C, for god's sake!! Where's the common sense in all this? Incidentally, they had my email address down wrongly, despite the fact I was in correspondence with them last year. Human error, I guess.
  • Not long after this I received a machine call asking how happy I was with their treatment of my call. Though I'd originally called the number answered by English speakers, this call was in Spanish. I didn't respond. As I say, Spanish companies merely play at customer orientation, going through the motions without really understanding the concept. Their heart really isn't in it.
The EU
One of the key differences between European cultures jumps out from the knowledge that, both in German and Dutch, the word schuld means both 'debt' and 'guilt'. Not in Spain, I guage.

USA
Is Donald Fart winning, asks the BBC here.

Brexit
Richard North this morning: This current [Irish] shambles has demonstrated that the UK government's strategic thinking on Brexit has not advanced one iota. It is still wanting to have its cake and eat it, and still hasn't come to terms with the consequences of leaving the Single Market. 

Russia
  • Banned from next year's winter olympics but hosting next summer's football World Cup. I guess it makes sense to someone.
  • I haven't mentioned RT News for a while, essentially because I no longer get my laughs watching it. But here's something from Private Eye which made me smile:-
¡
Nutters Corner
  • The final chapter in the saga of the cretin who was going to use a home-made rocket to prove the earth was flat. Not terribly surprising.
Galicia
  • The Ministry of Development (Fomento) has issued new forecasts of when the AVE high speed train from Madrid will be running to Ourense and beyond. I won't bore you with them, as they've made them every year since 1990 and they've been wrong every time. Coming up for thirty years. Almost funny.
  • Here's a nice article on the place where the Atlantic meets the Bay of Biscay. Best approached with a knowledge of Gallego . . . 
Pontevedra
  • I've mentioned, I think, that there's a new slew of beggars in the city. Like the pigeons and seagulls, they're suffering from the absence of tourists, or even just locals sitting outside. All of them are ravenous for tidbits and, so, are an even bigger nuisance than usual. Another reason for wanting a rifle.
  • Here's one of our traditional beggars, on his way up to his eternal spot – in a corner of the main square. Where he stands all day, juggling coins in the palm of his hand at everyone passing by. Even me. Despite the fact I've given him nothing in 17 years.

Finally
  • So, Christine Keeler and Johnny Halliday are both dead. What is the world coming to?
  • Which reminds me . . . Can you imagine a world in which you're persecuted and even killed for not agreeing with someone else's point of view? Well, you don't need to, of course. You're living in it. Thanks to extreme theists.

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