Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 26.4.21

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: Info on Galicia here. Detailed info on Pontevedra coming (relatively) soon. 

Cosas de España

Here’s an article on ‘La matanza casera’ – A centuries-old Spanish tradition of raising and slaughtering pigs on small farms in the countryside. As it’s in the Telegraph, you possibly won’t be able to get past the paywall but you might be grateful for that, as the fotos are pretty graphic. I was left feeling glad I’d passed up the chance to see one. Anyway, here’s some of the text: These black Iberian pigs were fed on kitchen scraps and farm waste and roamed freely in the forest feeding on acorns for several months prior to slaughter. Traditionally, extended family and neighbours gather between November and February to slaughter a pig.  Over the course of a weekend they process all parts of the animal for consumption throughout the rest of the year.

A Spanish dentist friend tells me that her already-tough challenge of getting her UK qualifications and experience accepted for homologación here has hit the bumpers of a particularly petty bit of bureaucracy. The dates of her work experience give only the start and end of her jobs in the month and the year. What is demanded is the exact day of these, though not the hour. She has only 10 days to correct her application, which depends on action in the UK and then the mail system. If she fails, her application will be binned and she’ll have to start again in another calendar year. Say, 2022. Or 23. I wonder if she’ll also be expected to give the euro equivalent of her salary to 3 decimal points.

My daughter sent me this foto with the caption: Madrid in the grip of Covid.

The city has the second highest rate of infections in the country butt the right-of-centre regional government prefers ‘a light touch’.Possibly in the interests of corporate friends.

Cousas de Galiza

María’s Level Ground: Days 21 and 22

The UK

While the right-of-centre papers report in great detail on the Johnson-Cummings spat and then loftily declare we should be far more interested in matters they don’t report on, the left-of-centre Guardian makes the obvious point here that the worth of the comic opera lies in proving Johnson’t unfitness for office. Take your pick. I go Left on this one.

Here’s a nice Politico article on Johnson’s ‘belligerent optimism’.

The Way of the World 

As if we weren’t assailed enough already . . . Producers can now put a different billboard for a brand still relevant today behind the characters in a film from the 90s that is being shown on TV, or a different bottle of beer next to a character in a TV show that came out years ago.


From El Pais . . The letter ‘Ñ’ is the identity of Spanish the world over. The character has its origins in the Middle Ages, and is the only one to have been created in Spain. Despite this, it was omitted from the Spanish Royal Academy dictionary until 1803.

Quote of the Day

The Observer has called for significant tightening of rules around political lobbying and a strengthening of the ministerial code, but the sad truth is no set of rules in the world can inject integrity, selflessness and leadership into the character of a man who has none. Guess who.

Finally  . . . 

This is a fruity Anglo-Saxon riddle from The History of England podcast. Apparently they liked this sort of thing. Who said the Germans lack a sense of humour?:-

I’m a wonderful thing, a joy to women,

to neighbours useful. I injure no one

who lives in a village save only my slayer.

I stand up high and steep over the bed;

underneath I’m shaggy. Sometimes ventures

a young and handsome  peasant’s daughter,

a maiden proud, to lay hold on me.

She seizes me, red, plunders my head,

fixes on me fast, feels straightway

what meeting me means when she thus approaches,

a curly-haired woman. Wet is that eye.

Answer tomorrow, after I’ve got it from the next episode.