A Change Of Scenery

Things have been a bit quiet in Frigiliana, so it was hard to find something to write about where I wouldn't have been repeating myself, so please forgive my extended silence.
Anyway, a week ago yesterday we flew to the UK in preparation for our main golden wedding ceremony; Thursday morning saw us boarding Eurostar for a nine am departure for Brussles in the care of Great European Rail Journeys. At Brussels we transferred to the Thalis (first class) to Cologne, where we then boarded the ICE of Deutsche Bahn (also first class) to our first destination, Berlin.
Everything went smoothly until shortly after we left Cologne and arrived at Wuppertal. We didn't set off again immediately, but then information came through on the tan nosy that there was 'an incident' ahead of us, so we had to sit patiently, or not, while rerouting was worked out. Eventually though - over an hour later - we set off again. Back to Cologne! There we were switched to an alternative line which brought us eventually to Berlin, where a coach transferred us to our hotel, the very impressive Four star Maritime Hotel. We got there about half past eleven, delighted just to flop into bed and sleep.
You're probably almost as exhausted reading this as I was doing the journey, so I'll tell you about Berlin next time.


Here We Go Again

Back in December we had a general election here in Spain. It yielded an inconclusive result with no clear path to forming a new government. I suggested at the time that it looked most likely that there would have to be fresh elections. Well, that now comes about. Spaniards will return to the polls on Sunday 26th June, when to be honest everyone expects a similar result to that in December. Since the establishment of a democratic constitution back in the 1970s government has been by one or other of the two main parties, the socialists or the conservatives - just like the UK really. However during the course of the previous government, three new parties emerged each with a reasonable degree of support, though not enough to take power. Add to this a growing concern about corruption in the governing conservative party, Partido Popular, and there was a feeling in the run up to December’s elections that the two party hegemony was about to be destroyed. That didn’t happen; instead some serious compromise was needed if anyone were to form a government. Unfortunately the Spanish - and especially their politicians - are not good at compromise. Each party prefers its own entrenched position. Four months have passed in which each set of negotiations has broken down. Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Partido Popular (PP) declined the King’s invitation to try and form a government on the grounds that he would not be able to muster sufficient support. Next it was the turn of the leader of the socialist Partido Socialista Obrera de España (PSOE), which initially looked more promising. Of the new parties to emerge during the last government two were left of centre and one was right of centre, but only just. In addition there was an existing minority party, the communist Izquierda Unida (IU) or ‘united left’. However, one of the left of centre parties Union, Progreso y Democracy (UPyD) had lost ground in the election and was not in contention. That left Ciudadanos (Citizens’ Party) and Podemos (We Can) and IU. Podemos grew out of the street protests variously known as 15-M, or 15th May which was the date of a mass rally against austerity that was held in the centre of Madrid, and Los Indignados, or indignant ones, both of which were eclipsed on the international media stage by the American “Occupy” movement. Ciudadanos began life as an anti-separatist party in Catalonia and could be thought of as right of centre, but only just. The logical solution turned out not to be achievable, mainly because of the intransigence of Podemos. Its clear ambition is to replace IU on the far left, and so it refused point blank to contemplate entering any coalition that included IU. Podemos, for reasons which are not immediately obvious, is committed to allowing the people of Catalonia to have a binding referendum on the question of Catalan independence, something which is absolutely unacceptable to Ciudadanos, whose origins lie in opposition to an independent Catalonia. So Ciudadanos will have no part of a coalition which includes Podemos unless the latter ditches its support for a referendum. Without the participation of all three of these parties, the socialists cannot cobble together a parliamentary majority. So, off we go again to new elections. During all the wrangling nothing has changed in Spanish political views so we can confidently expect that the new elections will produce the same kind of outcome as the last.


The Day Of The Cross 2016

Once again the village was awash with colour for Las Cruces . I've written about this traditional fiesta previously, so today I simply share some of the photos I took yesterday evening.