1. Bank Holiday Traffic Hell. Despair at driving in Spain.
2. The biggest drought for 50 years.
3. The Royal child is on its way.
4. Bongo madness in the Retiro Park.
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | New Pope condemns Spain gay bill: “Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals.”
This may just be a Reading thing, but I have a feeling it’s pretty widespread in the UK these days.
On the other hand, it’s quite nice to go to the pub, and not leave stinking of cigarette smoke. It’s quite nice to see cars slow down when they see a traffic light changing to Orange. It’s quite nice to see some decent television without 20 minute adverts on the BBC. And there’s something wonderful about driving along empty country roads at seven o’clock on a bright, spring Sunday morning, past green fields, and towering sunlit trees. England is a beautiful country, but these days it’s becoming a little too ‘Reading station’ for my liking…
Perhaps the new agentes are helping a few more double-parked cars to get towed, but the whole city seems just as blocked up as ever. Hence my joy every morning when I get on my Scooter and weave my way to the front of the hooting masses. There is disquiet amongst the motorcycling community however, as it seems that a debate is afoot as to whether we should still be allowed to park on the pavement.
National law claims that this is illegal, and nowhere else in Spain is this allowed. So the Madrid council has produced a ‘municipal order’ saying that in fact it is OK, we can park on the pavement. The trouble is that national law wins over municipal orders, making it still illegal. Whatever the case may be, it seems that the agentes de movilidad have been told not to fine us for now, clearly meaning that the Madrid council sees itself as being above the law. Perhaps the Mayor also knows that if he revoked his municipal order he would have to find parking spaces for 160,000 pissed off motorbikers, one of whom recently claimed, ‘if they start fining us for that we’ll come out in mass protest and collapse the transport system….’
This reminds me of the taxi drivers dispute a couple of years ago. They threatened that if they were forced to obey speed limits and wear their seat-belts they would collapse the transport system by staying strictly within these lawful speed limits for a whole week, at which point, they argued, chaos would ensue. They would show us who’s who by not breaking the law for a while….
Is there anyone in Spain that doesn’t think they are above the law? Certainly not our Mayor or his beloved taxistas…
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
No idea what to put on the blogspain home-page. Maybe a survey/pole thing asking people what should go on the home page…
We’ve just been to see the memorial to Madrid’s March 11th 2004 train bombings. It’s a small hill and area of landscapes gardens in the Retiro Park, where Ecuadorians used to gather at weekends to eat, drink, and play football and volleyball. The place used to be a tip on Monday mornings and you can’t help thinking that by putting the memorial here the council has killed two birds with one stone: got rid of the mess and put up the monument. But still, it was the only empty space big enough in the park to put a decent sized memorial like this.
It is very well done, and testament to the fact that the Spanish really can get some hard work done when they put their mind to it. The mound is surrounded by a wide moat, and has a path curling around the turfed, terraced levels to the top. One hundred and ninety something trees, slender firs and solid olives, have been planted on the different levels of the mound, representing the number killed in the bombings. You really do get the feeling that each tree tangibly reflects one life that was lost, that this is an incredibly appropriate and evocative memorial – so much so that even bushing past the leaves of these trees provokes some kind of connection between you and a no-longer someone.