October 28 2021: Booster jabs; One tax less?; Electricity prices; Bloody bikes; Train news; & Other stuff

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Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops
Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
– Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain


Good news for those of us who’ve had the single Janssen Jab. Though my local health centre has said I’m too young – or not old enough, to be more accurate – to have this yet.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Says the Constitutional Court: One of the taxes paid by those selling property here is irregular and – until the law is (rapidly) revised – should not be charged. Cue great confusion. But here’s the advice from some property lawyers on Mark Stücklin’s site.

Madrid is having no luck with Brussels over its plan to stop electricity prices going through the roof. 

Walking around Pontevedra’s pedestrian quarter, you’d  never guess it was illegal to bike or e-scoot through it. Likewise on the pavements outside that quarter. But the good news is that the DGT is pressurising cities to stop this, by enforcing the €200 fine. Vamos a ver. 

Good news?: Renfe is planning a rival high-speed service from London to Paris. But it won’t come easy. Deutsche Bahn attempted to set up a service from London to Frankfurt a decade ago but eventually gave up. Renfe says it will take 3 years [ha ha ha] to establish. But when it does, the benefits for passengers should be massive. A service that many have long complained is expensive should become more affordable and eventually include routes to new destinations in France and beyond, opening up parts of Europe that were previously only reachable by subjecting oneself to the misery, humiliation, and servitude of a Ryanair flight.

Talking of trains . . . I had real problems tethering my laptop to my phone’s internet yesterday but eventually learnt that ‘wifi’ is different from ‘the (inter)net’. The much bigger – and permanent – problem is that between Ourense and the Castilian plain, the train on the new AVE tracks now goes through a tunnel or cutting every 10 to 20 seconds. Creating havoc with the 4G signal.

If you feel at all moribund, you might do your legatees a favour by rushing down south. For the cost of a funeral is much cheaper down there than it is up north. The highest prices for funerals and cremations were reported in Vigo in the north-west, averaging out at €6,115. Cadiz in the south averaged a far more modest €2,551.

The EU

The EU court has started fining Poland €1m a day over the judiciary row. The European Union’s top court said the fine was necessary in order to avoid ‘serious harm’ to the bloc’s legal order. A legal order, it’s said, which contains some illegalities and quite a bit of inequity.

Social Media

We have long known that Facebook is hurting our children and our democracies. They are contributing to anxiety, depression and poor body image especially among young girls. They are damaging democracy by amplifying the loudest and most extreme online views and opinions too. We have got to stop treating them, and other companies in that sector, as exceptional. They must play by societal rules.

Quote of the Day 

Right from the outset, big tech designed away childhood. That is just wrong.


Siri e Alexa aprenderán a falar galego,

Finally  . . . 

Christmas is coming and there’s a great new game for all the family to play. I call it “targeted content detective”. You sit round a table and write a list of all the ads you’ve been targeted with on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok on a Post-it Note. Then put all the notes in a hat, pick one out at random and place it on your forehead.Contestants then guess who you are from the products and services or egregious political opinions you have been targeted with online. Yes, it’s a bit like the game “forehead detective” except that instead of asking, “Am I a famous American actor?” you ask, “Do I believe Covid-19 is the invention of a shadow lizard government?” or, “Does my self-esteem spiral downwards when I look at Khloé Kardashian?”

Kids again . . .  A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of its container. During her struggle, the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. “Mummy can’t come to the phone to talk to you right now, she’s hitting the bottle.”

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