29 January 2022: Stealth Covid; Modelo 720; The rich-poor gap; Farmacias; & Other stuff.

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’


Whatever it is, Stealth Covid (Covid Sigilosa) is said to have arrived in Spain, at least a month after it was identified in the UK.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Well, as predicted years ago, it’s taken the EU almost 10 years to declare illegal certain elements of the dreadful Modelo 720 law of 2012. It’s reported that the huge fines levied under it will be repaid, but only in cases where claims have already been made. So, I don’t expect to get back the €1.500 I was fined for for late reporting in 2013, when hardly anyone knew of the new obligation. The total amount raised to date is either €225 billion(the Diario de Pv) or merely €225 million(The Olive News) but I really can’t see the Hacienda rushing to pay back much, if any, of this. The institution is not exactly famous for its admirable ethics. ‘Crooks’ was the description of the asesor I used back in 2013. Incidentally, a few years ago it was calculated that – because of the risk of humungous fines – only 4% of folk who should be reporting were actually doing so. No idea if this has risen since then. It was also reported back then that many thousands of Brits had quit Spain, fearing fines and/or future taxes on assets back home. The latter have yet to arrive but surely will one day, when the wealth tax (El patrimonio) returns to its former level.

El País says inflation is compounding the income gap in Spain, with millions of workers struggling with the loss of purchasing power. In other words, further deepening of inequality here.

The cities of Ferrol and Pontevedra are said to suffer the highest rates of unemployment in Galicia. This is a tad surprising as Ferrol is in decline, whereas Pontevedra – superficially at least – isn’t. Unemployment in Pontevedra is 16.2% , among 20,200 private sector employees and 8,700 in the public sector. I suspect the latter suffer no unemployment, so all 4,700 on the paro are company employees. Meaning their unemployment rate isn’t 16.2% but 23%. Though much higher among the young, defined as 18 to 35.

We had a short earthquake along our coast on Thursday. Actually, we had at least 2 but I only felt the first one.

My elder daughter, who’s visiting me, tells me I’m wrong about the new shop which I’ve said offers bric-brac. In the UK, she says, it’d be referred to as an antiques shop, Whatever, I didn’t see any customers in it yesterday, though there was a woman looking in the window.

This, I’m sure, really is a bric-a-brac shop. Until recently it was a book shop which, in truth, I never expected to last as such:-

And this is the pharmacy I frequent, established just before I was born, in 1872. More like a church than a shop:-


On Tuesday France hit a record Covid case rate of half a million, meaning the country has one of the highest case rates in Europe. Anyone got any idea why this is more than twice Germany’s rate and more than 4 times the UK’s?

Finally . . .

Returning to that pharmacy . . . Yesterday I bought a jar of Vicks vapour rub there for my grandson. This costs €4 in the UK but more than €12 here. It might be boring to be a pharmacist but it’s surely very profitable.

For new readers:- If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here.  

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