Market forces . . .

IMG_0008IT’S market day. Our local town of Orgiva is bustling. You can buy anything here on market day: fruit, vegetables, cakes, meat, bread, plants, shoes, frocks, trousers, pots, pans. And if your frock or your shoes don’t fit, take them back next week and get them changed. Try doing that at a market in England . . .

While Anne does the shopping – which she accomplishes more effectively without my presence – I sit outside a cafe drinking tea and perusing the papers on my Kindle. I see the new Duke of Westminster, who on the last gasp of his progenitor inherited £9bn and became the third-richest landowner in Britain, is now the landlord of estates here in Spain.

I should congratulate Hugh Richard Louis Grosvenor on his good fortune and welcome him to the club of Spanish landowners, though I expect his estates are slightly more illustrious and more productive than my half-acre plot. Really, I feel a pang of sorrow for his two elder sisters who, through the British tradition of primogeniture, are rudely bypassed in the snakes and ladders of aristocratic tradition. The third child, in this case, wins the ducal lottery by dint of being male.

Apparently, this is to prevent the girls rushing down their local market – which is Chester, I believe –and lavishing their father’s accumulated fortune on shoes and frocks that don’t fit.

IMG_0014A cynic might argue that in a country where women’s issues and sexual inequality are currently top of the political agenda, the grotesque mediaeval privileges of the male
super-rich should be robustly challenged. But opinion remains eerily silent.

Meanwhile, The Guardian stated yesterday that the rail-workers’ guaranteed overtime payment for working Sundays was “a relic of the steam age” in our 24/7 society – a casual and uninformed remark that caused my eyes to boggle alarmingly. Steam age bad; feudal age good? Perhaps it’s me who’s out of step, not the rest of the world.

It’s enough to make a man trudge round the market to buy his own shoes. Nearly.



20 thoughts on “Market forces . . .

  1. The ‘privileges of the male super-rich’ don’t have much challenge in our fragile and broken society at the moment. [Although I’ve been trespassing on their Bowland acres for ages] We seem to be in a no-mans land in Britain, a bodged Conservative government and a Labour party fighting for democracy.
    Anyhow back to local markets. I suspect from memory that Orgiva market has been diluted by the English influence, oops that’s you, selling new age rubbish. Tell me that I’m wrong.


    1. John, you’re correct on every point you make. Curiously, the new age people seem to congregate in one street off the main market to sell their bits and bobs (I remain to be convinced on the power of lunar phases and crystals under the bed). And although there are a lot of English people among them, there are many other nationalities as well. A recent survey found something like 56 different nationalities living in the town, which has a population of 6,000.
      Cheers, Alen


      1. I was wrong – they are Polish, Rumanian, Algerian, Moroccan…
        Hopefully in the other street there are some Spanish selling those lovely olives.
        The crystals are no good under the bed, you have to gently remove them from their velvet cushion and hold them tightly in the left hand.


        1. Would it work with a lump of coking coal?
          On a similar theme, there’s a Buddhist meditation centre high up in the mountains above the GR 7. Did you go anywhere near it on your walk? I’d have a look up there only I might end up staying for seven years and find inner peace – and that would never do.


          1. We have our own in Cumbria [Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre Conishead Priory, Ulverston] I know not quite the same as the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The tale told by Harrer is all the more profound as it ended with the further invasion by the Chinese, a world disaster. Peace be with you.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s definitely time that law about males inheriting before females in those aristocratic lines was abandoned in favour of a fairer method, that’s for sure!

    I think the railways are trying to get it scheduled so that Sunday is a rota’d day like normal shiftworkers do aren’t they? That would make more sense than trying to run a timetable with voluntary overtime – that makes the mind boggle. I’m surprised it hasn’t gone more wrong before now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carol. The railways are in a complete mess. When you look at other countries and the streamlined services that exist, then you look at the ramshackle system that operates in Britain, there must be a better way that doesn’t involve penalising the people who work on them.
      But anyway, it’s more fun knocking the toffs. This is the 21st Century and men still have a huge advantage over women in aristocratic circles. How the hell is that legal? What sort of a country can allow that to happen?
      Cheers, Alen


  3. Playing devil’s advocate for a moment: if the estate is inherited by the daughter and the daughter gets married, doesn’t the estate then transfer to the new husband’s family? The dughter’s family would then lose the estate to some other bunch. I don’t know. The Guardian’s anti-labour posturing bothers me more. I’ve written a list of potential blog posts and one of them is called I Read The Guardian But I Don’t Know Why. It jut seems to be a silly newspaper these days.

    And decent markets in Britain seem to be so rare. They only sell handbags, mobile phone cases and batteries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how it works, Chris, but you can bet your life it defies logic and commonsense. I was reading yesterday how the Grosvenors avoid paying tax and death duties on the £9bn fortune through a series of trust funds – avenues open to the super-rich to hang onto their money but not the rest of us. It’s our fault really for being such mugs and allowing them to get away with it.
      I’ve cancelled my Kindle subscription to the Guardian/Observer – both of which I’ve read for 27 years – because of what I perceive to be a growing right-wing bias and complete detachment from what is happening outside Westminster. I have written to both editors explaining my decision; so far, no response from either. I’ve switched to the Independent which, unfortunately, I find shallow and poorly-written in comparison. I don’t know where to go next because on Kindle I’m left with only the nasty, rabid stuff. Really, I should concentrate on learning Spanish and read El Pais or something.
      Yes, the Sunday market at Catterick racecourse is like that – plus about sixteen burger vans and one of those military surplus stalls that would be interesting to look around if they didn’t attract such scary people.
      Cheers Alen

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All I ever inherited was my father’s good looks and a strange reluctance to pass a pub during opening hours.

    On the subject of hourly rates, does cleaning out drains still warrant time and a turd?


    1. I see the slums of New Delhi haven’t dulled your wit, George. And your father was indeed a handsome man, though I must admit the only times I ever saw him were in the bar of the New Inn when we’d both been on the Hartley’s. That was good stuff for cleaning drains out.


  5. Hi Alen, it seems your drains are still on the menu, in fact we have just been chatting about it. George being very good in these matters.

    On a more serious note, how dare people who give up their weekends and bank holidays expect more pay?!

    The poor young heir you have been discussing has been doing aid work so surely he deserves a step up, that’s why my vote is for JC. His victory in his second leadership election surely must be a sign, ‘The Second Coming’ William Butler Yeats. Kim


    1. Hi Kim. I see you and Bungit Din are back from your travels. Our drains are fine at the moment, tell him, but I’ve a bit of stone-walling requires a professional touch. I don’t pay weekend rates because people really need to accept that practices need to change if the economy is to survive and Britain is to move forward.
      As for the poor heir, I read today that the money the Grosvenors have saved by avoiding inheritance tax is actually greater than the NHS deficit. Doesn’t it make you proud to be British?
      Cheers, Alen


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