Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 23.6.21

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’ 


India: Oh, no! Here comes Delta Plus . . . 

The UK: Despite D+ being on the horizon, Freedom Day is expected to be 19 July. Meanwhile, restrictions imposed on the general public won’t be imposed on football fans and dignitaries coming for matches in Wembley. IGIMSTS*.

Cosas de España/Galiza

The 15+ houses behind mine that have lain empty since the end of the phoney boom in 2008 have recently started to sell. I know prices have been significantly reduced but I wonder if the main factor is post-covid-city-flight. Given the amounts being spent on preparing the largest one for occupation, I’d guess the new owners are wealthy folk who might normally have wanted to live on the most exclusive street in Pontevedra city. But I’ll probably never know.

Good news . . . Reduced electric shock. 

More Renfe hassle. Having found it impossible to find how to insert details of my Tarjeta Dorada discount card on the web page, I went to the station to ask about this. The chap there was very helpful, initially volunteering that this was quite hard to do. We ultimately agreed it was not merely hard but very difficult. If not impossible. He gave me the info I needed to put in the relevant box.

Need I tell you that no variation of what he gave me worked on the site? Even worse, the price was now almost double what he’d quoted me at the station – €61 v 33. One way. Fortunately, I’d decided to buy a ticket at the station. 

BTW . . . As before, the reasons given for rejecting my input included ‘Number not long enough’, ‘That type of discount doesn’t exist’ and – the most ridiculous – ‘The date of your card isn’t valid’.  Anyone got the answer to this conundrum?

After these failures, I went down the rabbit hole of ticket pricing and discovered several things I didn’t know. Specifically: The tarjeta dorada is only the cheapest option when you buy a ticket at the last minute. If you buy early, you can  get the cheapest ticket – the P – which offers 60% off the full price ticket, and the P+, with choice of seat assignment.

I’ve always found the Spanish approach to numbers rather odd. These are frequently given in the media to 2 or even 3 decimal points, when an integer would be perfectly enough. Or, at most, one decimal point. And I see that the marks required for entry into Galician universities are given to four decimal places. Imagine how you’d feel, if you lost out by 0.001. 

As usual, among the highest marks required is that for physiotherapy, reflecting demand. Is this considered an easy-life option? As ever, nursing also requires very high marks in the Selectividad entrance exam. 

Still on numbers, a Dutch friend has pointed out it’s not unusual that an official number given by one state organisation here needs to be modified for another organisation. As when, last year in making my Renta submission, I had to add zeros to the Support Number on my NIE, to take it up to 9 digits. So, imagine my joy to see that this number on my newish TIE already has 9 digits!

María’s Final Stretch, Days 17-19

The UK

Richard North today: [Bear in mind he’s always been a Brexiteer, though not remotely a fan of what Cummings and Johnson delivered]. This is the 5th anniversary of the day we went to the polls and set in train the events which were to take us out of the EU. Sadly, this gives us little cause for cheer. The intervening years have been littered by incompetence across the board, from politicians to officials and trade representatives, leaving the public confused and generally unenthusiastic about the process. Details of the disenchantment here

Here’s a Guardian article cited by RN, exposing the astonishing claim that the UK government expected the EU to be aware that its obligations wouldn’t be met in respect of Northern Ireland. YCMIU**. Lions led by donkeys??

The EU

The Empire strikes back. Again. This time it’s cultural. Next time?

Finally  . . .

Google’s Gmail has always been very good at keeping spam emails out of my Inbox. But not recently. I wonder why. Are the spammers getting cleverer? Or have I unwittingly signed up for something by accepting cookies?

Note: If you’ve arrived here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try this

* I guess it makes sense to someone

** You couldn’t make it up.