A friend living in central Portugal tells us how coronavirus restrictions are operating there.
Cafes are closed except for take-out, so the workmen in the nearby town buy their coffees and sit with their mates on the wall like swallows on a telephone wire, gassing happily at each other. Unlike in the UK, there seem to be no police swooping down on them in supercharged Vauxhall Astras; this is Europe, where the authorities make crazy rules and private individuals cheerfully ignore them.
Shops are sitting ducks for officialdom, though, so they have to comply. Our friend was asked for donations for a children's charity and tried to buy supplies in the supermarket. 'Non-essential' items are screened off - you can buy food there, and disposable nappies, but baby clothes: no.
Same for women's lingerie, and adult clothes generally. Our friend is now ashamed to hang her pyjamas on the line because of the holes in them.
Speaking of washing, she ordered a supply of eco washing powder by post from abroad; the cost was c.€35 but the import duty €48.The Portuguese have form when it comes to rapacious imposts. Back in 2018 someone there showed me a second-hand Triumph Stag that he imported; the Government wanted €58,000 to let him register the vehicle. It's illegal under EU rules, but my acquaintance explained that Portugal is happy to pay the fine every year, because the swindle is so lucrative.
So, naked babies, holes in your underwear and robbery by post: good going, Senhores.