Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 26.5.21


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’ 

Detailed info on Galicia and Pontevedra city here

Covid 

Spain: Island holidays are on the cards even if rest of country is on the amber list. The UK government pledge means the Canaries and the Balearics could be on the quarantine-free Green list, separately from the Amber Spanish mainland. Confused? Who isn’t?

Cosas de España/Galiza

Good to read that Pontevedra’s ICU occupation, at 17%, is now lower than it has been since last October. But I’m getting fed up with the mask nazis who point out my mine has slipped slightly below the tip of my nose. Roll on their disappearance ‘promised’ by the regional president

Not good to read: Galicia ranks 4th nationally as regards price increases since the start of the pandemic (3%). And it’s not food or telephone bills that are to blame. Housing, gas and electricity are soaring to levels not seen in the last 20 years.

Big Guardia Civil (drugs?) operation close to my house this morning, with a chopper above a nearby block of council-owned flats* and over my garden. Shame my 2 year old grandson has gone back to Madrid and is missing the excitement.

* code words  . . . 

The UK 

This weekend, the reputation of LGBT charity Stonewall crashed as decisively as the British Eurovision entry, when it lost a key relationship with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This is not a minor blip in the culture wars; it is the beginning of a reckoning against the woke authoritarianism that has gripped British institutions. Well, maybe. All to do with transgenderism.

Germany 

If you liked Merkel’s foreign policy, you’ll love Laschet’s. The leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats and Merkel’s would-be successor as chancellor gave a landmark foreign policy speech and it had a familiar ring to it.  Best summed up with his own boilerplate: “I share the chancellor’s position.” 

What about on Russia? “I wouldn’t change a thing,”

China? “A competitor and partner.”

The transatlantic relationship? “Europe’s place is on the side of the U.S. and Canada.”  “I share the chancellor’s position.” 

The USA

With Joe Biden preparing for his first trip abroad as president, European leaders are noticing a change in the transatlantic air. The hostile and nasty American arrogance of Donald Trump is gone, replaced by the more polite and friendly American arrogance that they remember — not always fondly — from their dealings with previous U.S. presidents.

A shame? A business that spent more than $1bn developing supersonic jets intended to replace Concorde has shut down after running out of money. It had hoped to begin commercial flights by 2026.

Persia

Am very sad to be missing this: Epic Iran — A study of an extraordinary civilisation. The history of Iran is the subject of a magnificent new show at the V&A. A mind-expanding experience. This link might well work for you.

Spanish

I see you till have your nose to the grindstone: Ya veo que aún estás quemándote las pestañas.

Finally  . . . 

Oh, dear.  . . . Your bird feeder could be messing with the natural pecking order, wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem. A study suggests that the spoils of bird feeders are not being divided fairly, with blue tits outcompeting more timid woodland rivals. That’s in parts of the UK. In my garden, it’s the greedy greenfinches which dominate the feeder, beating out the poor sparrows who used to have exclusive use.

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