12 February 2022: Ethics; Illegal developments; A new tax; A new hack; A poon; & 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’

Cosas de España/Galiza

The first insight I had into Spanish ethics was being asked to pay a large proportion of my house purchase price in ‘black’ cash. And then being told both the notary and my bank manager would assist with this. I declined, of course. I guess the second insight was being told that everyone could easily get hold a card to put into one’s machine and so avoid paying for digital TV viewing. This was stopped years ago but a recent newspaper report suggests it’s back on the menu of life in Spain.

Mark Stücklin joins me here in expressing doubt that the illegal development down in Extremadura will ever be demolished, even after many years more of litigation. [If things don’t go well for them, defenders of the resort have options with the Constitutional Court and the European Courts]. In his opinion: Just like the planning disaster in Marbella the hundreds of thousands of illegally built homes in the Andalusian countryside, and the hotel Algarrobico in Almeria, demolition will never happen. Much more likely is that the luxury island development of the Isla de Valdecañas will be left to rot, and investors will be trapped indefinitely.   

Some of Spain’s banks are responding to complaints from senior citizens and will now offer them services until as late as 2pm. In case you don’t know, this is ‘midday’ in Spain, the end of the morning. But not as we know it, Jim.

Here’s Mark Stücklin again on a ‘sneaky’ new tax. I’ve think I’ve mentioned that the Tax Office (La Hacienda) is as unscrupulous as anyone else in Spain. Interesting to note that, 20 years ago, the castastral value of properties was always way below the real value. Beneficial for the calculation of the annual IBI (property) tax. Not any more . . .

Still on bloody taxes . . . Here’s a warning about the return of a wealth tax, which used to be called El Patrimonio, and might well still be.

Another warning . . . about hackers cleaning out your bank account.

The final stage of the provision of a full high-speed train service from Madrid to Galicia will be the construction a new track around the city of Ourense. Can’t say I was surprised to read that this was supposed to happen back in 2013.

Maria’s Beginning Over 9: Finally free

The EU

So, who knows what the Council of Europe is? Clue: Nothing to do with the EU. First proposed by, of all people, a Brit – Winston Churchill. Wiki on it here.  .

Quote of the Day

Headline: For God’s sake, chatbots, let me talk to a human being!

The Way of the World 

Placemaking: A multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being. What’s not to like?

Spanish

Never realised this  . . .  Guantanamera means a woman from Guantánamo. Here’s a lovely song about one. Without ads . . 

English  

A poon. New to me: A simple or foolish person.

Finally . . .

Miscellany:-

– In 2021, TikTok overtook Google to become the world’s most popular domain. Must find out what it is.

– The letter V is the only one in English never to be silent. (And is never pronounced like an F or a B)

– Another appearance of the in-phrase of the moment: It’s the human dimension that cuts through.

For new reader(s): If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there. 

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