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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 15 October 2020
15 October 2020 @ 13:56

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''

Note: A HT to Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas for one or two of today's items. 

Covid

The  UK: What's in a phrase? Anyone know of any substantial difference between a 'lockdown'(bad, apparently) and a 'circuit breaker'(good, apparently)?

Living La Vida Loca in Spain/Galicia

Being very positive about Spain . . . See the article below.

Changing the tone . .  I am not a happy camper . . . Yesterday my neighbour asked me if some workmen could enter her garden through mine this morning, to replace some sewer pipes. Naturally, I agreed. What she didn't explain - perhaps because she didn't know - was that this would involve the destruction of part of our ivy hedge and the metal fence, the cutting of the bottom half of our shared bougainvillea and - to top it all - the passage over my recently replanted lawns of an effing 'mini' JCB!

To add insult to injury, they told me that, as my pipes feed into my neighbour's, I can’t use the bathroom today. So much for my shower! Inter alia.

My neighbour and I will be having words later in the day!

Fortunately, this won't affect/annoy me but - if you have property here and are non-resident - it might well annoy you . .  .The Tax Office (La Hacienda) will demand up to better than triple taxes from British citizens who own rental properties in Spain. It is already preparing to change the status of British citizens, whom it will treat as "non-EU" as of January 1, 2021. The measure implies large increases in the Non-Resident Income Tax (IRNR)’. A report in El Economista says ‘Spanish tax legislation establishes differences between EU citizens and those of the rest of the world, with a tax of 19% on net income for Europeans but 24% on gross income for foreigners’. Additionally 'foreigners' won’t be able to claim on repairs, community fees, mortgages, town hall taxes and so on in respect of rented properties. Brussels has said that it is against this discrimination and threatens to fine the Spanish Government. Which will achieve absolutely nothing, As with the appalling - and 'illegal' - sneakily introduced 2012 law on overseas assets. 

I might already have cited this advice from Mark Stücklin: British residents in Spain, don’t forget to apply for your TIE this year, just to be on the safe side. See  here.

I see from my 2000-2005 Diary that, back in 2001, I concluded it was a waste of time giving your phone number to shopkeepers who'd promised to call you when what you wanted was in stock. A friend recently commented this wasn't true any more. I beg to differ, at least in the majority of cases. The devil still takes the hindmost here. Both as regards retailers and folk such as blind-repairers, central heating engineers, chair-restorers and plumbers. At least in my life. And to mention only the current bunch.

English/Spanish

I was going to post 3  more refranes today but I've just had a chat with a (foreign) friend who's been here as long as me on the theme of people not calling you when they've promised to. He's just experiencing this with a car dealer and offered me the refrain: Por interés, te quiero, Andrés.  . . 

Finally . . .   

Flashback to my Diary of October 2002: I have just discovered in reading a book about old village accounts that 'ago' comes from 'agone'. I had always wondered. And that, say, 'John's book' comes from 'John his book'. Which is more or less how it's done in Gallego, but not Spanish. His book: O seu libro v. Su libro.

THE ARTICLE

Some interesting figures and facts for those who think Spain only survives thanks to the British tourists:  Christian Bungard

Don’t underestimate Spain

Let’s start with industry:-

- It's the 2nd largest car manufacturer in Europe, 6th globally, 1st in the production of industrial vehicles. 

- Acciona is 1st renewable energy company worldwide and Spain is the global leading country in renewable energy production. 3 of the 5 leading thermal-electrical companies are Spanish. You might like to see who are the main contractors of the wind parks in the North Sea and the English Channel. You’ll be surprised. 

- ACS, Abertis and Ferrovial are the largest infrastructure management companies worldwide! Yes, 4 British airports are managed by them, but also other airports all over the world, as well as ports, motorways and railway and subway systems. Just think of México City, Panama, Bogotá, Santiago or Lima as some examples. 

- It's also one the world main high speed train constructors.Not only the trains (with several manufacturers - CAF is world’s 6th largest) supplying underground networks like Riyadh , Washington DC, Santiago de Chile or Mexico City (amongst many others) but also the construction of the railway network (Saudi high-speed rail, Istanbul-Ankara or Seattle-Portland, for example). 

- It's the 7th producer of satellites in orbit. It’s also Europe’s main military transport aircraft manufacturer, as well as one of NATO’s main military vessels constructors. 

- It has some of the world’s main banks, like Santander, BBVA, Caixa or Sabadell, with subsidiaries in most Latin American countries, as well as USA and the UK. 

- It's a leading player in the biotechnology and health industry.

- It’s the third largest global manufacturer of industrial tooling equipment. 

- Regarding the dynamic fashion industry, it's home to Inditex, the world’s largest fashion producer and distributor, with production plants in 8 countries and over 5,500 stores in 82 countries.

- It's number 4 in the printing and editorial industry. 

- It's the world’s number one exporter of fruit and vegetables and amongst the top in pork, chicken and rabbit production. It’s Europe’s number one in game production -being the second European country with the largest number of natural parks and protected areas, this is a huge contributor to distant rural areas. 

- World’s largest fishing company is Spanish and Spain is amongst the top 4 in this industry. 

- It ranks three business schools amongst the world top 15. Number one for executive education is IESE. 

- It’s also a leader in sports business. Real Madrid and Barcelona FC are renowned brands worldwide. Also Nadal, Sergio García, and many others in less “obvious” sports. 

And finally, tourism:- Spain welcomed over 86 million visitors last year (2019). Have you any idea of the degree of the enormous infrastructure, labour, specialisation and coordination, also between different industries, administrations and regulators it takes to manage this volume of visitors in a safe, efficient and “normal” environment? Have you ever imagined what it takes? And we are not only talking about beers on the terrace by the sea. Some of Spain’s cities are amongst the most visited worldwide. Spain is the 2nd most visited country globally, the first for holiday tourism and the 3rd for business travellers (congresses, fairs and exhibitions). Spain has the 2nd largest number of World Heritage sites in the world, after Italy. It alsohas with the 2nd largest number of protected areas in Europe. 

Spain is also home to the Spanish language, spoken by over 500 million people worldwide. Guess how many thousands of students come to Spain every year from all over the world to learn the language. 

 

* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.



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