I've been in Madrid for the past few weeks and have just now returned to the coast - the 'costa' as it's known by us high-rolling Brits with our innate command of foreign languages. The costa. Down here in our area, which has the largest power station in Andalucía just along the beach - which is apparently building up its output to 2,500MW of coal-produced energy for our distinctly small community - we are continually surprised by power-cuts. Those brief click-clack ones which bugger up the fridges and switch off the televisions and so on. Lots of smog, too, considering that half of our reach is plain sea and the other half is mountains with a few casas scattered around here and there. Casas. Homes.
I asked the local head of the power company about this a few years back (they were putting in giant electric towers along the dry riverbed at the time - including one behemoth which was just a few metres away from a private home) and was told that the power cuts came about when all the birdies were sat together on the cables and - whoosh! - took off all at the same time. Click-clack.
I still don't believe him.
However, despite the monopolic electric company's recent price hike and new monthly billing (and bi-monthly meter-reading), things haven't improved much.
Here we are. I've got the telly on, watching a piece about how the pound is going down against the euro or, tired of that, some unlikely American escapist dribble on Ch 21 when - click-clack - the power goes for a second. The computer is OK - somebody once gave me a battery doohickey - but the telly dies on the spot. Let's see: find control. switch on. warm up. tune to 21. press knob to change language to English (so much for our polyglotism).
No - we're on the stupid adverts.
Whether it's good for your electric kit to have a power surge come along several times a day during many years of use or not is a question which the complaints department of the electric company - if only there was one - would no doubt be well equipped to answer.
Meanwhile - I'm off down to the beach - the playa - for a beer.