Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 10.4.21

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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’

Covid 

The EU: Europe’s stuttering vaccine rollout faces multiple hurdles as EU regulators review side effects of the Johnson & Johnson shot and France further limits its use of the AZ jab.

The UK

1. British would-be holiday-makers look like being banned from going to both Spain and France this summer, leaving them with just Israel and, god forbid, Gibraltar. And maybe the Maldives and the Seychelles.

2. Meanwhile, back home . . The vaccines have worked better than anyone expected. British Covid deaths are now the lowest in Europe, having fallen faster than even in Israel. There are no more “excess deaths” – in fact, fewer people are dying now than normal. The data has for some time, been unremittingly positive. Several parts of the country have been virtually Covid-free for several weeks. The figure for herd immunity was initially 60% but other estimates go as high as 85%. As ever with Covid, no one is quite sure. But whatever the threshold is, Britain looks likely to hit it soon.

Italy: Deaths totalled 487 on Thursday and 718 yesterday.

France: Deaths per day there are 10 times more than the UK’s 30.

Spain: The number is 149. Some of us senior citizens are still waiting for our first jab, most recently promised for this month. But the government insists it’ll achieve its target of 70% of the population having had 2-jabs by the end of August. Trouble is, no one here much believes the predictions of Spanish governments. And, on reflection, since nowt much happens here in July and August, the real target date is end June. Which is surely totally impossible, given the 3 month gap between the jabs.

Did someone question AEP’s dire forecasts of the consequences of vaccine-approval delays?

Cosas de España/Galiza

The Spanish economy is improving but politics are getting worse, it says here.

Can anyone tell me what the logic of this development is?

A Galician chap arrested this week in Cataluña – after he’d fled into Spain pursued by French cops – was found to have the 2-3 week old corpse of his wife in the passenger seat. On her way to her burial in Switzerland. Or so he says.

Nearer home . . .  A resident of nearby Vilagarcia was fined this week for washing his car in the street at 1am. This is an offence in Spain and so I imagine he was done twice, the second being for disobeying the 10pm curfew.

María’s Level Ground: Day 6.

The UK

It seems nothing happened there yesterday other than the death of some poor, ‘rootless’ Greek guy after a long innings as somebody’s husband.

Talking of royalty . . . A poll this week revealed that more than half of Britons would prefer Prince Charles to not become king — wanting, instead, the crown to skip him and go directly to Prince William. So it looks like Prince Charles is suffering from . . . heir-loss. But the stats differ for those aged 18 to 25. In that demographic, the majority want the crown to skip Prince Charles and Prince William and go to Prince Harry instead. So it looks as if Prince William has, once again, inherited his heir-loss from his father.  . . . .The estimable Caitlin Moran.

The UK and Brexit 

RN Yesterday: As with the “completion” of the Single Market in 1992, there will be winners and losers from the Brexit process and the national media will tend to focus on the losers – when it can actually be bothered to report. Brexit stories are rapidly becoming an endangered species. A major exception is Northern Ireland, where a number of commentators pin the blame on Johnson for his clumsy Withdrawal Agreement and the Irish Protocol.

Russia 

Moscow is amassing elite troops and war material on its border with Ukraine and many expect a Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea type development. Against which the West is expected to deploy just words and, in Germany’s case, to continue with plans for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to  Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Work on this is currently suspended because of the poisoning of Mr Navalny last year and the imposition of US sanctions against companies involved.

Social media

A hardline view? Criminal sanctions on social media companies are long overdue.

Finally  . . . 

Driving down to the Mercadona supermarket at 8.55 this morning, I took a short cut down a narrow lane, alongside one of our 2 gypsy settlements. As ever, I locked the card doors. And then wondered if, in these woke time, this isn’t racist. Or just wise. Or both. Take your pick,

Interesting – and surprising – to note that the carpark was virtually empty at 9.05 but full at 9.45. 

Mercadona have super new biodegradable plastic bags. But a single knot seems inadequate to close them. Explaining why a lemon and a mango ended on on the store floor. And broccoli on my kitchen floor.

By the way, if Mercadona really are trying to reduce plastic, why can I no longer buy a single lime but have to buy 4 in a plastic box?

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