Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 11.5.21  

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: If you want to know more about Galicia or read my Guide to Pontevedra city, click here.   

Cosas de España

Once the national State of Alarm ended 2 days ago, it was too much to expect that Spain would avoid another movida a la 1978. In other countries, there are experiments with agglomerations, such as the 5,000 kids at a controlled event in Liverpool. As of Sunday, the whole of Spain has become one massive experiment. As this is 98% uncontrolled, we now await a 4th wave. Or is it the 5th? Meanwhile, over in the UK, they’re hoping to avoid a 3rd and look like succeeding. That’s what the importance of Spanish fun means in reality. More deaths than necessary, especially in Madrid under the Presidenta de Libertad. Hey, ho. 

And when the 4th or 5th wave duly arrives, there’ll be an almighty blame game between Madrid and all 19 regional capitals over who should have stopped it. Así son las cosas in de facto federal Spain.

Talking of fun . .Yesterday I stressed its importance to Spaniards. John Carlin cited tapas-eating with friends as one huge aspect of this but I feel the best example is simply talking. Often simultaneously and loudly – the latter made necessary by the former, of course. I have to admit I have no problem with this, as this is one way in which Spain and I are compatible. When I’m not trying to read.

Click here if you still need to know about residual restrictions in your region – or would like to see a foto of the inside of the incomparable Grand Mosque of Córdoba. And others of elsewhere.

A friend has responded to yesterday’s item on the local birth rate, saying the pregnancy rate right now suggests an end year baby boom. We will see.

Maybe because it’s spring and they have young have to feed but suddenly both our pigeons and the seagulls are outrageously bold. Two days ago I had to forcefully stop a pigeon eating my peanuts right in from to me and last night I witnessed a seagull swoop down over the shoulder of a young woman and take a slice of tortilla from her plate. Leaving her shaking and tearful with the shock of having a large bird’s wings beating in her face. Shades of Hitchcock’s famous film/movie. I then had to advise her to get rid of the remaining food, as said seagull was perched on the top of an adjacent parasol, clearly gearing up for another raid. Time to get out my large water pistol.


The on-going saga of the Lisbon-Madrid high speed rail line may have hit another stumbling block last week, as the Portuguese Foreign Minister stated it’s not a priority. He didn’t outrule the project, but made it clear that Portugal has two other priorities. Firstly, to shorten the journey time between Lisbon and the northern city of Porto, and secondly, to extend that line into Vigo in Galicia, Spain.  

In case this is your thing . . . The annual international festival of Flamenco and Fado will return to Badajoz this summer, from 2-10 July. A sample. Not my bag. Well, the fado bit anyway.

Checking this out, I came across the ‘best ever’ flamenco dancer, who wowed the entire world between 1929 and 1963, giving her last performance very shortly before she died aged only 63 – Carmen Amaya, a Catalan gypsy. You can see her below in the 1930s, then in the 1940s and finally in that last performance. Astonishing. And you can read about her and her character, here in English and here in Spanish. Same text, I believe. Wish I’d known her but glad I didn’t marry her . . .


Pigeon: Paloma

Dove: Paloma

Hence, from both Google and Deepl:- This one is a pigeon but that one is a dove: Esta es una paloma pero esa es una paloma . . . 


Just in case you ever need it – a word I came across yesterday: 

Obsoletion: Becoming obsolete or out of date.

As opposed to obsolescence: The process of becoming obsolete or outdated and no longer used.

And just in case you were confused earlier  . . . To outrule is the first example I’ve seen of this possible neologism. As yet, it’s not recognised by my spellcheck but is included in Wiktionary to mean:-

1. To eliminate by deduction. Going back – surprisingly – to 1968 in the Irish Journal of Medical Science: ‘The possibility of remote Mediterranean ancestry cannot be outruled in the family investigated.’ 

2. To rule or reign longer or better than. As in: ‘Queen Elizabeth and Isabella of Castile outruled male monarchs.’

Finally  . . 

A reader has kindly – bizarrely? – asked for a foto of the shirt I cut when I removed the 12-language label containing a microchip. Well, it’s now with a seamstress for repair but here’s the foto of the damage I sent to my daughters, so they could laugh at me. Yet again. My elder daughter’s response: “Hmmm. But you do things so patiently…”

Late last night – keen to avoid spending at least €100 on repair – I gave my laptop a gentle bit of  ‘percussive maintenance’* near the USB points. As this was successful, I’m left wondering about the cause of the problem that cost me 5 hours in the morning trying to solve it. And whether the fix will be permanent.

In IT, percussive maintenance is the art of shaking, banging or pounding on something, in order to make it work. Experts generally define it as the use of rough impact on physical hardware to solve some type of malfunction. While many consider it to be a barbaric expression of anger on inanimate objects, it’s actually a legit way of fixing stuff. First you have to ask yourself why something doesn’t work. More often than not it is something coming out of alignment.