Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 18.6.21

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

My thanks to Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas for a 1 or 2 of today’s items. 


France: Face masks are no longer mandatory in outdoor settings, and as of Sunday the night-time curfew will end, 10 days earlier than expected. Because, says the Prime Minister: The health situation improving faster than we’d hoped.

Spain: The Prime Minister here has said mask-wearing outside will cease to be compulsory ‘soon’. This is a pretty meaningless word but it does contrast with that of UK government medical advisers who are warning of restrictions lasting for many months yet. 

Can this all be down to the impact of the Delta(ex-Indian) variant which so far seems to have been kept at bay on the European continent? Or has it more to do with the money that traditionally comes from tourism? Far more in France, Spain and Greece than in the UK

Cosas de España/Galiza 

The extremes of Spain  . . During the mad phoney boom which ended in 2007, Spain had the highest number of bank branches and staff per branch in Europe. Whereas it now has the lowest. And lots of charges and commissions. I imagine profits are a lot higher these days.

So, perhaps after living below the horizon, you got your official residence here to ensure you retained your pre-Brexit rights. You’ll now need to know the tax implications, one of which – Modelo 720 – is pretty serious. Click here for advice.

María’s Final Stretch: Days 13-14

The UK

The CBI predicts the UK economy this year – thanks to the vaccine boost – will grow twice as fast as the eurozone’s – 8.2% v. 4.2%. Maybe AEP got this right.

Every day for the past 14 years, the SNP has been using the tools of government to tell a story of Scotland anxious to break free from a decaying, corrupt and socially regressive UK. That’s her attack, and there hasn’t been much of a defence. Not surprising, then, that she’s been very successful at obscuring the downsides of independence for Scotland. Which is not rich, (potentially/easily) self-reliant Cataluña.

Good to see the Guardian printing completely fucking hopeless. Why on earth every other journal prints f***ing, when all readers know what is is – and say it in their heads – beats me.

The UK and the EU post Brexit

What does Brexit mean for expats and second-home owners? Hopefully this link works . . If not, I’ll post the text tomorrow. Assuming someone tells me . . .

The EU

Not good news . . . An EU-backed German vaccine has delivered disappointing clinical trial results in a setback for the bloc’s immunisation efforts. The CureVac jab, which had been one of Europe’s brightest hopes in the vaccine race, was found to prevent only 47% of infections, just below the threshold set out by the WHO for vaccines. Its efficacy against more aggressive forms of the coronavirus such as the Delta variant may be even lower than this.


As modest as ever, Trump says the book he’s writing about himself will be the book of all books. Probably true, but not in the way he means.

The Way of the World  

Below is a list – with a brief comment on each – of The 10 great comedies they wouldn’t make today – in the age of trumped-up outrage and cancel culture. I confess to having watched and enjoyed 9 of them. For which I guess, I should now be cancelled.

This week a petition was launched to prevent Amazon’s Jeff Bezos from returning to Earth after his maiden flight. So far, 6,000 people have signed the “Petition To Not Allow Jeff Bezos Re-Entry To Earth”, reasoning that he is “an evil overlord hellbent on global domination” and is actually “Lex Luther in disguise”.

Quote of the Day

Caitlin Moran: Why on earth was the G7 summit held in Cornwall? The 2 things every Brit knows about Cornwall is that: a) it’s an absolute bugger to get to and b) the locals really don’t want you to be there.


My Pilates instructor spoke of an A Pe Pe. Which turned out to be an app available from the sports centre. Why can’t they just say ap? Other than because it has thrice the syllables of app.


A new(wish) initialism, not an acronym . . . WFH: Working from home.

Finally  . . .

A never-ending frustration . . .Trying to make an appointment with my doctor on the phone last night, I was asked, as usual, for my ‘first surname’. As usual, I explained I had only one and, as usual, I spelt it out. To be told, as usual, that they couldn’t find me in the computer. Having then solved the problem by giving my ID number – which I really should’ve done in the first place – I asked what they had as my surname in their computer, to be given ‘Davies’. So . . . As this is correct, there’s a huge prize for anyone who can explain why this happens every single time I try to make an appointment, anywhere and everywhere. Including when I get to see the doctor and he tries to find my records in his computer. It used to be a bit of a joke . . .


It’s simply not in the interests of a TV executive to green-light a risqué comedy that could be misconstrued, deliberately or otherwise, and then lose them their job. The fear of causing offence has stymied the creation of magic. Which is why these 10 comedies, all of them classics in their own right, would not get made today.

Dad’s Army: Earlier this year, a showing of the sitcom’s 1971 movie on the BBC was preceded by a warning about “discriminatory language”. That one of the most beautifully crafted, most loved sitcoms ever made should require a reminder that attitudes were different 50 years ago seems itself laughable, but it underlines the fact that in 2021 it’s unlikely that Captain Mainwaring and his all-white Home Guard would ever make it to the screen.

Ab Fab: Women drinking too much, neglecting their children and making fun of fat people – that could have been the synopsis for Ab Fab, but read now it would land the script straight in the slush pile.  

The Office: The problem is that cancel culture has obliterated people’s irony sensors, says Ricky Gervais.

Peep Show: There’s little chance Channel 4 would take a sitcom revolving around the daily life of two young, white men today.

Fawlty Towers: The greatest British comedy of all ticks just about every single non-compliance box you can think of. Yet to watch it is to understand the difference between parody and mockery.  but it’s unlikely they would have got as far as making it had it surfaced in 2021

Friends: The most popular sitcom the world has ever seen is sexist, homophobic, fattist (Monica) and features no non-white actors in any of the lead roles. 

Little Britain: It was at least equitable in its offensiveness: it was misogynistic, it mocked transvestites, and characters included “the only gay in the village,” a working-class “chav” with an Asbo (Vicky Pollard) and Andy Pipkin, who pretended to be disabled. 

Will and Grace: The first prime-time television series on US terrestrial television to star openly gay lead characters 

The Inbetweeners:An unexpurgated smut trawl following 4 sex-obsessed teenagers at school was always intended to cause some offence – but what’s deemed offensive has changed over recent years. Primarily, The Inbetweeners wouldn’t get off the ground because, like Peep Show but more so, it’s a male-led comedy in which women are either targets or trophies. Of course, the butt of the joke was the men and (in the case of Jay) their pitiful misogyny, but in the current climate context matters little.  

Father Ted: Read one way, this cult classic is an affectionate homage to Irish culture – but would it be read that way now? More likely this barmy, anarchic tale of three churchmen living together would be seen as something close to mockery.

So, the world might be better but, even if so, it’s sadder.