Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 12.4.21

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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’

NOTE: If you want to know more about Galicia, click here. Detailed info on Pontevedra coming soon. 

Covid 

The UK: Opens for business today. Sort of. And . . . A Covid third wave is no longer expected in the summer, government advisers have said.

Spain.

  1. In contrast, we’re into our 4th wave here. But the good news is that I might get a jab (AZ’s) before the end of a month. The start of a process which could allow me to see my latest UK grandchild this year. And maybe the penultimate in Madrid.

2.  Some folk have enjoyed tourist-lite Majorca but it’s a guilty pleasure.  

Some time in the future, hard lessons will be learned from the last 15 months. The biggest, perhaps, is that it must never be allowed to happen again. Quicker, better action will be necessary the minute a new dangerous virus emerges. Probably based on Asian models.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

What to plant this time of year around Spain.

Which reminds me . . . Down the hill, the wisteria’s been in bloom for weeks now. But my trees – planted 3 or 4 years ago – are yet to produce any flowers, despite me fertilising them in November. Lots of new thin branches and leaves but no flowers. Until this appeared last week. Which looks like being the only offering this year. In line with the advice that it takes 7-15 years for the plant to come into flower. Wish I’d known that when I bought the saplings.

Doubtless they’ll blame Covid but this year I’ve received no information or documentation whatsoever from my car insurance company re renewal of a policy which expired a week ago. On the phone just now, they’ve assured me the policy is live and that proof for the police will be the payment in my bank account. Of which as yet there’s no sign. So, lucky that I wasn’t asked for it when stopped at an alcohol control point on Saturday night.

So, does this herald a permanent reduction in the already-rather-low-level of customer service in Spain? The devil take the hindmost.

Talking of companies . . . I can’t say I was totally surprised to hear that some Spanish bodegas are being investigated for falsely claiming that their cosecha wines are reservas. I’ve often wondered about controls.

Driving back from the supermarket on Saturday – down the narrow one-away street that used to be one-way in the opposite direction – I noted the huge arrows hadn’t been removed or at least reversed. Which must confuse some drivers.

María’s Level Ground: Day 8.

The USA

As expected, Trump has launched a withering attack on two senior Republicans – Mike pence and Mitch McConnell – using a speech in Florida to cement his position as the party’s kingpin. These 2, of course, were his most faithful endorsers when he was in power. Pence – averred the would-be éminence orange – is ‘disappointing’, while McConnell is a “dumb son of a bitch”. 

The Way of the World/Social media

One way to deal with the cancel culture

UK University tutors are being told not to dock marks for spelling mistakes because requiring good English could be seen as “homogenous north European, white, male, elite”. Several universities are adopting “inclusive assessments” as part of an effort to narrow the attainment gap between white and black, Asian and minority ethnic students and to reduce higher dropout rates among those from poorer backgrounds. Click here for more on this.

Feminism used to be about principles, not looking sexy. Like Khloe Kardashian, many influencers use their bodies to sell beauty products or get famous, but it’s hard to see how this is empowering. Too true. Not the feminism of the mother of my feisty daughters.

Religious Nutters

Leave exorcisms to priests, says the Russian Orthodox Church. Seems like a very good idea to me. You don’t want to be messing with devils without professional help from “spiritually strong” clergy. Especially after several deaths and injuries from DIY exorcisms.

Spanish 

Desmadre:  I saw this word applied to Spain’s 19 regional variations on vaccine policy and implementation. Dictionaries give ‘mess’ as the English meaning but I wonder whether ‘mare’s nest’ wouldn’t be better. Even within any single region. There’s a lot of confusion. 

Finally  . . . 

Interesting to know this about Lundy Island in the Bristol channel: In 1627 a group known as the Salé Rovers, from the Republic of Salé (now Salé in Morocco) occupied it for 5 years. These ‘Barbary Pirates’, under the command of a Dutch renegade named Jan Janszoon, flew an Ottoman flag over the island. Slaving raids were made by the Barbary Pirates, and captured Europeans were held there before being sent to Algiers to be sold as slaves. From 1628 to 1634, in addition to the Barbary Pirates, the island was plagued by privateers of French, Basque, English and Spanish origin targeting the lucrative shipping routes passing through the Bristol Channel. These incursions were eventually ended but in the 1660s and as late as the 1700s the island still fell prey to French privateers.

Jan Janszoon, by the way, was accused of having ‘turned Turk’.

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