Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 1 April 2021

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’


A retrospective: This column argues that by choosing a swift elimination strategy, several countries around the world have gained control over the virus. Cited are China, Australia, Cambodia, Iceland, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Laos, and Thailand. By contrast, most European countries have followed a stop-and-go logic that turned out to be more restrictive, more dangerous, and more damaging to the economy.

Belgium: A court has ordered the federal government to end all its coronavirus measures within 30 days because it failed to establish a proper legal basis for them. The court of first instance gave the government 30 days to retract the measures or else face penalties of €5,000 per day and up to a maximum of €200,000 in total. In practice, the ruling gives the government a month to find a proper legal basis for its measures, which include curfews, restaurant closures and limits on gatherings.

AZ is not the only vaccine supplier trouble by EU policies. Pfizer accuses Brussels of holding back Covid the vaccine effort.

The AZ vaccine: I tried this morning to explain to a visitor from Mars why there are so many differences between EU states on the attitudes towards and use of this. But gave up and simply referred him to this.

Cosas de España

A propos . . . Spain is going to use some of its stockpile of the AV vaccine on essential workers aged 65 or more.

The latest national restriction I mentioned yesterday – re mask-wearing in public areas – means that you can’t sunbathe on a  beach without a mask, no matter how far away you are from anyone else. Should mean some interestingly coloured faces.

Nick Corbishley recently wrote this article about life with his Mexican mother-in-law in Barcelona. And here she hits back, sort of. What intrigued me is her reference to a 170 square foot room. Do they still use imperial measures in Mexico? Or Barcelona?

Did you know that, in a true federal state – Germany and the USA for example – the regions/states are sovereign but have given some power upwards to the national state? Spain, on the other hand, only looks like a federal state, so here it is the national state which has full sovereignty, under which it devolves power to the regions/Autonomous Communities. I’m mentioning this as background to the fact that the Spanish state is taking the Galician Xunta to court, for exceeding its powers in the healthcare area. Possibly by imposing more restrictions than those nationally authorised. As for the UK, I doubt it’s possible for the state to sue, say, Cheshire for acting ultra vires. As opposed to the private individuals on the Cheshire County Council. 

Cousas de Galiza  

The latest example of officious local policing is fining surfers at La Lanzada beach as they moved the few metres from their car to the sea without masks.

There’s a bar down by Pontevedra’s market that I pass 4 times a day and can’t recall ever seeing open. But last evening it was and I had a drink there with a couple of friends. It’s called Van Gogh, though the sign outside – apparently made of styrofoam – say AN GOGH. But, inside, on one wall, large letters have it as VAN GHOH. To say the place is basic would be a huge understatement. And we decided it was where drunken kids end up after boozing elsewhere. Which would explain why I’ve never seen it open in 20 years. We were the only customers, of course. 

Maria’s Tsunami: Day  59

The Way of the World

As ads for (immoral?) gambling companies dominate the UK airwaves . . . Denise Coates, the joint chief executive of her family company Bet365 was paid a record £421m last year, taking her total pay over the past 4 years to more than £1.2bn. This pay cheque comes from the pockets of an awful lot of punters who tried to beat her odds and failed. But she is Britain’s highest taxpayer and gives a lot to charitable causes. So, that’s OK.

Another topical cartoon:-

Finally  . . .  

I read yesterday about 7 ways to keep a cat coming into your garden. I’m here to tell you that putting male urine on your property borders doesn’t work. Or, more accurately, it’s no good using British piss against Spanish felines . . .

A less-than-topical cartoon:-