27 December 2021: The 2 kings; PCR off-ripping; Go Costa Rica!; & A nice seasonal circular.

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’


Interesting . .  The decisive use of AZ vaccine may have spared the UK from the Omicron crisis now hitting Europe. Britain’s relatively low Covid death toll compared to the  continent’s might be the result of the earlier use of the Oxford jab to vaccinate the most vulnerable.

Cosas de España/Galiza  

The Times today refers to the king’s awkward silence over the exiled Juan Carlos. Adding that: His failure to mention his disgraced father in his Xmas speech has provoked the governing coalition to criticise him for ignoring “the elephant in the room”. The 3 Spanish investigations into Juan Carlos’s financial affairs are due to be shelved in the coming months and a Swiss investigation linked to them has already been closed.  The prime minister insists that the former king needs to give explanations to his compatriots about his conduct. Seems like a reasonable request to me. But it looks increasingly unlikely to happen,

The UK    

Can anyone be surprised to read that: PCR test providers use tricks to get to the top of the government’s list before charging up to 4 times their advertised prices. They do this by usingnames beginning with punctuation or a digit to “hack” the system. As with the top 5:  !!! 0-100 Travel 19, !! + + 0 0 44 Tests, ! Covid Testing Direct.com, ! Nomad and !247 Travel Tests. This might well be scandalous but it’s not illegal. 

The average UK price for PCR tests is around £80, compared with under £15 for Italy and Cyprus, and under £40 for France, Germany and Belgium. Last time I arranged one in Spain, it was €90. Some folk are making bucketfuls of money out of this pandemic. But you already knew that,

The Way of the World

If you’re planning to be a digital nomad, Costa Rica might be a good bet.

I confess I had to check where exactly it is – SE of Nicaragua and NW of Panama (where you can hide your profits from the taxman, I guess). I thought it was an island, probably confusing it with Puerto Rico . . . 

Finally  . . .

This is something I wish I’d written. By, I think, a chap called John Albutt

At this time of the year it’s difficult to know what to say without offending someone. So I’ve checked with my legal adviser and on his advice I wish to say the following to all my friends

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practise religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2022 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that Great Britain is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the sending of this message; however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced

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