Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's August and so there's not a lot of news, which is usually a good thing. We've been going out to the pueblo every weekend, where we fart around, walk the dirt roads with the dog, and go to the pool. It's nice out there, hot but dry, and if it's too hot you go down in the basement, which is basically a cave. It hasn't been really hot yet in Catalonia; we haven't had to use the air-conditioner here in Barcelona.

We're going to London for a week in mid-August, and we'll take the train to Bath and spend two days and a night there. We'll be staying with our friend Elisabeth, who lives near Muswell Hill way up on the north side of town.

Political fallout from the blackout hasn't finished yet. Minister of industry and former Barcelona mayor Joan Clos has taken a lot of heat for saying there was nothing really wrong with the system of electricity distribution, while the rest of the Catalan Socialists have been sniping at the electric companies for their alleged lack of investment. Since Red Eléctrica is controlled (not wholly owned, but the state has the largest block of shares) by the central government, Clos obviously has to defend the performance of the Zap cabinet, and if that means he has to contradict the Catalan Socialists, then he will.

There are two big fires burning in the Canaries, one on Grand Canary and the other on Tenerife. 12,000 people have been evacuated. The fires haven't affected the tourist areas along the coasts, so no worries if you're traveling there.

La Vanguardia says 1) telecommunications engineers are badly needed in Catalonia, so if you know anything about that come here and look for a job 2) thieves have already stolen hundreds of meters of the electrical cable lying around the streets in order to sell the copper 3) Woody Allen has finished filming in Barcelona and has gone off to Oviedo 4) more than 53,000 people in Catalonia are on the National Health's waiting lists for surgery. One of them is my mother-in-law, who has cataracts; they did one of her eyes back in June, but they aren't going to do the other one until October. 180,000 Catalans are awaiting diagnostic tests 5) they're letting out the Vall d'Hebron rapist, who committed 16 rapes and did 16 years in jail. La Vangua says this has created "social alarm" 6) the Spanish guy who won the Tour de France is under suspicion as a possible doper because of his connection to the "operation Puerto" case 7) Spaniards spend €285 million a year on counterfeit brand-name products.

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