Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 21.7.21

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’   

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Our coastal weather was forecast to change today, with the sun breaking through the low cloud – or ‘advection fog’ – we’ve had for 5 days now. But it hasn’t so far. As one local paper put it yesterday:  Galicians living on the coast are talking about nothing other than our extraordinary weather – the fog that has thwarted their beach plans. But up in our hills there’s ‘no trace of maritime air’. And the temperature is as high as 37 degrees, against barely 20 on the coast. See the Weather Special below.

An apt cartoon . . 

So,  not just problem here in Galicia . . The rising number of invasive wild pigs is having a greater impact on the climate than a million cars because the animals unearth carbon trapped in soil. Populations of feral pigs, such as wild boar, are growing in many countries where they are not native but have spread after animals escaped from farms or were illegally released.

So much for the AVE high speed line between Galicia and Madrid being fully operative by end last year or even end this year. As if we ever believed it would be . . . ADIF is finishing the last stretch of the AVE to Galicia, which will take 3 years to complete. The train will reach Ourense this year, along the current route, while construction of the bypass line is being put out to tender. If you believe it really will be 3 years, you haven’t been watching and listening for the last 30 years

Here’s a nice example of how granite ‘scrubs up’ well. This building – about to be a new pilgrim’s albergue – was very weather worn – i.e. pretty black – only a few months ago:-

I’ve been sent a legalistic email by a woman who ran a charity cited here a month ago as being accused of fraud. It’s all untrue, she says, and I must redact the citation. I may  yet get my day in a Spanish court.

The UK

Thanks to the government’s overactive Test & Tracing app, the UK is now to be called the United Pingdom . . .

I’ve never been clear as to whether I and my daughter are entitled to free treatment on the NHS. That said, neither of us have ever been charged for this. Now comes an announcement that British expats could face large NHS bills when returning to visit their home country as they will lose their rights to healthcare coverage when they visit the UK. That said: These rules do not apply to those already living in the EU prior to Dec 31. So, maybe we both were and still are entitled to free NHS services.

The Way of the World

New research reveals how the design of digital products exposes children to harm. Features designed to maximise engagement, activity and followers — the 3 drivers of revenue — create a world in which children are offered an unfettered diet of pornography, distorted body images and suicide and self-harm content, all within 24 hours of creating an account. These services are not deliberately designed to put children at risk, but engineers and designers told researchers they design for engagement not safety.


An amusing report, for Brits at least: For decades Americanisms have rampaged through Britain laying waste to swathes of the Queen’s English. Now Peppa Pig is leading the fightback. The animated anthropomorphic pig is being credited with infusing American children with a vocabulary and accent honed in Britain. The “Peppa effect” has taken hold during lockdown, according to parents in North America, who claim their children are talking about strange objects with funny accents. Biscuits, petrol stations and telly are among the Anglicisms some claim have taken hold as a result of the increased popularity of the 17-year-old cartoon series.  But at least one parent sees positives in this development:  My daughter now sounds like a little lady”. “She says ‘lovely’ and ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ all the time.”  

Finally  . . ,  

Can it be true that a Norwegian women’s beach handball team has been fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms? Apparently it is: The European Handball Federation has penalised the team over its decision to wear ‘improper clothing’, as the rules forbid the covering of more than 10cm of their bums. 

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


The advection fog* covering the extreme west of the region is directly related to san Atlantic anticyclone and one of the effects it generates: the upwelling of cold, deep water. In this sense, the low cloud that appears suddenly and catches bathers unawares is by no means a phenomenon exclusive to the Galician coast. For a start, these days the maritime air also covers almost the entire Portuguese coast, where icy waters are emerging. Moreover, this type of humidity is common in California.

The truth is that the US state and the Galician community share a lot in terms of weather. A coincidence that is determined by their geographical location. Both are located in the west of their respective continents and are the gateway to the influences of their oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic.

In addition, the meteorology is strongly conditioned by the oceanic anticyclones, which have exactly the same origin. Both the Azores and the Pacific high pressure system are of a semi-permanent type. They are part of the general circulation of the atmosphere and are always located in the same position. They only move north and south depending on the time of year.

Anticyclones are fed by warm air, so they rise in latitude in spring and summer, when solar radiation increases in the northern hemisphere. And because anticyclones at these latitudes rotate clockwise, they generate northerly winds that set cold water upwelling in motion. In the absence of wind, in California, as is currently the case in Galicia, the moisture that moves over the very cold sea cools and condenses easily. To try to find more reasonable similarities, it is worth noting that the tongue of sea air often engulfs the bay and the San Francisco bridge, making it very difficult for vehicles to circulate. In Galicia, the same often happens with the Vigo estuary and the Rande bridge.

* Advection fog is fog produced when air that is warmer and more moist than the ground surface moves over the ground surface. The term advection means a horizontal movement of air. Unlike radiation fog, advection fog can occur even when it is windy. … As air cools the temperature drops closer to the dew-point.