Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 7.8.21

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

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’ 

 Cosas de España/Galiza  

A Spanish woman* has won the gold medal in the rather bizarre event of kata. Click here if you don’t know what this is. Anyway, our congrats to Sandra Sánchez of Talavera. I’d guess her region has gone wild with happiness at this achievement.

*I changed this from ‘lady’, as this is now patronising, it seems.

Spain has a 2-speed economy and far too much unemployment, says The Economist here. Not to mention a brain-drain of some of its best young talents, unable to find a job and a flat and forced to live with their parents. This, of course, is another reflection of the gap between the macro and the micro situations I’ve banged on about for years. Great top line performance but down below . . .

Based on the numbers and proximity of folk in our tapas quarter this month, it won’t be any surprise – to me at least – if Covid cases rise in September in Spain. This scene has surely been replicated all over the country. Though maybe not in the rural villages featured in this article on a novel way of tackling the rural depopulation problem.

For those with good taste – a chimichurri recipe from the estimable Ian. [Ñora is a place in Murcia and Ñora peppers are these. A good substitute??]

And here’s the equally estimable Lenox on English accents. Which are, he says, ‘everything’. I guess I share the one he lays claim to. Likewise his views on this issue.

A local paper has listed the cheapest petrol stations in A Coruña and Vigo. There’s no mention of low-cost places here in Pontevedra. Possibly because there aren’t any. Thanks, probably, to the very low level of competition established by our car-hating mayor over the last 21 years.

The UK 

Well, the world has been waiting to see how the UK’s (‘premature’) ending of all Covid restrictions pans out. So far, so good, it seems. Says The Times: Lockdowns are unlikely to be needed again, say scientific advisers, as official figures show a clear fall in coronavirus cases. The paper adds: An increase in cases in September is widely expected, as workers return to offices and school and university terms begin, but there is growing confidence that this can be managed without a return to compulsory social distancing. But will this really be Covid’s last word? And will I be able to go and see my latest grandchild in October without have to lay out more than 2 grand on compulsory quarantine? I guess it depends on whether ‘dangerous new variants’ arrive on the scene. Or even just one of these,

To no one’s great surprise: An adviser on the government’s ‘behavioural modelling group’ warns that mask-wearing has become “politicised” and is no longer simply about protecting others. Here in Pontevedra, I get quite a few stares as I cross the bridge into and out of town, with my mask around my chin. Or at least I think I do. Perhaps people are just admiring my blue eyes . . .

Anyway . . . An amusing sign I came across in Plymouth a few years ago:-

Finally  . . .

I have 4 differently-coloured sets of 3 towels – one large, one medium and one small. Or, rather, I did have 4 sets. But 3 of them are missing one of the towels – one each of the large, medium and small sizes. Which suggests either 3 houseguests have waltzed off with one towel each or one visitor now has a full – but variegated – set of 3 towels. I discount the washing machine having digested them them as it does, I swear, with my socks.

Yesterday, there was a typo in the very sentence in which I promised to try to avoid them. I’d love to say this was an ironic deliberate mistake but I doubt many would belove me . . .

My electricity has just gone off. This is not as frequent as it was 20 years ago but still shouldn’t happen in 2021 . . .

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