Spain is apparently completely running out of ice. | Alicia Mateos | PALMA


It’s always good fun to read the ludicrous headlines from some UK national newspapers during the ‘silly’ summer season. Evidently bored by the lack of real news – surely we can’t truthfully include the Wagatha Christie trial outcome – many stories now concern Spain.

My favourite this week has been how Spain is apparently completely running out of ice, causing untold misery to many British holidaymakers. Another rib tickler is the alarmist news about air conditioning being turned down in supermarkets, shopping centres and department stores by government decree to save on energy. Seemingly, British visitors will be keeling over in the mere 27 degrees now permitted instore. Honestly?

Meanwhile, newspapers back in Blighty are full of nail-biting reports about dried-out rivers as the heatwave that has affected much of Europe continues to cause disruption. I understand that here in Spain we’re used to high temperatures in the summer but is there really such need for hyperbole in the British press?

Afeared Brits should follow my rule when the thermometer starts creeping over the 40 degrees mark: close all curtains, shutters and blinds, stick on as many fans as possible with bowls of ice underneath and turn off all lights, save for essentials. Next, put wet flannels in the freezer and drape over neck if the heat gets too much.

People should keep bottles of cold water to hand and just keep sipping and replacing all day. If I’m really lacking in energy at the desk, I make myself a super strong espresso with sugar on lots of ice. Not only is it delicious but it’s a great pick me up and offers a vitally needed caffeine kick!

Hot hens

Disgraceful evidence has emerged of untold cruelty to hens in the UK during the continuing heatwave. It is estimated that millions of battery-farmed hens have literally been cooked alive in unacceptable conditions on British farms with owners leaving them to their agonising fate and merely writing off the cost. Despite knowing that temperatures were going to rise, many battery-hen outfits purportedly did not increase ventilation for the birds, nor consider their welfare in any way. Instead the creatures were left to die.

It is utterly shocking that hens are still treated in such a despicable way in the UK, unable to breathe fresh air or move freely. Stuck in monstrous corrugated iron sheds, these birds live cheek by jowl, fed by automated feeders and with bright lights shining on them day and night.
There is no dignity or quality of life for these poor creatures, just untold horror from the moment they first hatch. How DEFRA and the British government continue to condone battery-farming is beyond me. DEFRA, under pressure from animal groups and the RSPCA, has now called for an investigation. It will be interesting to know whether the whole matter is swept under the carpet or whether heads will roll.

In the interim, Britons can do their bit by refusing to buy eggs or meat from hens bred in such Kafkaesque conditions. It is so important to read on egg boxes how the fowl were raised. In the same way, it is always best to buy chicken that has been organically bred and at least given a good life before being slaughtered.

A load of bull

Another foolish male has been wounded after taunting a poor, frightened young bull in an enclosed stadium in Spain. The creature had evidently had enough of the man’s uncouth jibes and the roaring, blood-thirsty crowds of spectators and decided to defend itself. It knocked the man off a bale of straw and stuck a horn in his leg. The animal then stamped all over his persecutor for good measure. Unfortunately for the 47-year-old man, his artery was severed and had it not been for quick-thinking onlookers that steeped the flow of blood, he would have died.

How such barbarous behaviour can be called a fiesta is anybody’s guess but I have long understood that nothing will prevent this sort of pagan cruelty unless the impetus comes from the people themselves.

Happily, I know countless young Spaniards who despise this sort of event so we must look to the enlightened younger generation to consider animals’ needs and their great value. One can but hope that this valiant, innocent little bull was spared death. Sadly, I doubt it.

On the other hand, departure from this uncivilised and savage world would no doubt prove a blessing for him. We can but hope his persecutor learnt a valuable life lesson.