Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 15.4.21

Dawn+Box+Day+2015.jpg

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: Information can be found on Galicia here. Detailed info on Pontevedra in due course. 

My thanks to Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas for several of today’s items. 

Covid

The UK: 

1. Boris Johnson claimed last week that the reduction in infections, hospital admissions and deaths owed most to the lockdowns. But data analysis show this to be untrue. The rate of Covid-related hospital admissions fell by 75% in vaccinated 80-83-year-olds within 35 to 41 days of their first dose of the Pfizer jab. The rate of people getting Covid dropped by 70%, with the number of positive tests falling from 15.3 per 100,000 people to 4.6. The conclusion: The nationwide vaccination of older adults in England with the [Pfizer] vaccine reduced the burden of Covid-19.

2. A single case but  . . . Covid may have caused the tumours of a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma  patient to vanish. Doctors said it could have sparked an “anti-tumour immune response” in the man.

Vaccine passports: Seven reasons why we should be worried about these.

Cosas de España

Good news for jobs, though possibly optimistic.

The role of new technologies in Spain’s economic growth.

To give you an idea of how bad Vox is . . . The party is demanding removal of plaques commemorating the role of the International Brigades in defending the Spanish republic again Franco’s nationalist fascists, assisted by Germany and Italy.

After Rome’s final collapse, an unlikely Visigoth city rose in Spain amid the resulting chaos. Click here for more on this.

Here are a couple of videos on a building which I feel everyone should see before they pop their clogs. Though not the cathedral plopped in the middle of it.

Cousas de Galiza 

In 1924, a young American photographer arrived in Vigo, Galicia, and she spent the next 2 years travelling around Galicia and taking pictures for The Hispanic Society of America. Click here for more on this. 

María’s Level Ground: Days 10 & 11   Sad but true: At the rate vaccination is going, the lifting of the state of alarm practically guarantees another strong wave of contagion, especially in Madrid.

The UK

AEP goes full triumphal here . . . Britain’s economic resurgence has caught the whole world by surprise. The numbers all point to blistering growth as the hit from Brexit continues to diminish each month. You might be able to see the full article here.

The UK and Brexit 

From that source: It will take a generation to reach a useful economic verdict on Brexit. What is clear already is that the incessant high-decibel negativism of the London opinion machine has been exposed as ill-informed and hysterical. The British economy is doing just fine.  

The EU

Ditto: Europe will rebound too, eventually. There is €500bn in pent-up household savings waiting to be spent. But vaccination paralysis in December and January is inflicting its long-tail damage today. April has turned into a lockdown wipe-out. Virologists in Germany, Italy, and France say politicians are fooling themselves in thinking they can reopen fully in May. The erratic on-again, off-again treatment of the AstraZeneca jab probably delays final reopening by yet another month due to the slower rollout and damage to vaccine confidence. The EU is now trapped by its zero-tolerance policy on rare blood clots, as if it had the luxury of treating vaccines like a routine drug when 3,000 Europeans a day are dying from Covid, many from blood clots caused by the disease itself.   

English 

The word ‘liberal’ has  many meanings. That in Liberal Arts descends from the Latin for ‘free’. As free men were allowed to study these in the Middle Ages.

Quote of the Week: A primary problem in our western cultures is that most people read news not for information but for affirmation. 

Finally  . . . 

When Chaucer penned this paean of praise to April, there was no bloody Covid to worry about. But certainly fleas and lice and even the plague. I might have to confine my next camino to Galicia – Tui to Santiago – as I won’t be able to travel to Navarra and Aragón.

The first bit of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Middle English

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne in swich licour

Of which vertu engendred is the flour,

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth

The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne

Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,

And smale foweles maken melodye,

That slepen al the nyght with open ye

(so priketh hem Nature in hir corages),

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

Modern English

When April with his showers sweet with fruit

The drought of March has pierced unto the root

And bathed each vein with liquor that has power

To generate therein and sire the flower;

When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,

Quickened again, in every holt and heath,

The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun

Into the Ram one half his course has run,

And many little birds make melody

That sleep through all the night with open eye

(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-

Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage.

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