13 September 2021   

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

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain

Cosas de España/Galiza – A History Special

There’s a bit more on the mad religiosity of Felipe II of Spain early in this serious (but light-hearted) analysis of the 1588 battle between the Spanish Armada and the English fleet. Along the way, it busts some myths – both English and Spanish – and what jumps out is that the Spanish planning for the invasion was woefully poor. Which won’t come as a surprise to those familiar with the modern-day Spanish preference for ‘creative spontaneity’ over planning. The lesson clearly didn’t sink home . . . Even after the disaster, loopy Felipe still thanked God for sending a wind the allowed the Armada to avoid the risk of entering the Flanders shoals* or even running aground on the Zeeland sands so that it could limp – disastrously – back to Spain around  the English, Scottish and Irish coasts. But only some of it, of course.

* From which the dastardly Dutch had removed the sea marks . . .

Apologies if I’ve already posted this article on the Spanish Inquisition. I’ve not yet found out how to search my posts on WordPress, assuming there is a way.

Nice news of an astrolabe found a week or so ago on our northern coast – Unique in the world in terms of type and conservation.

The UK/Brexit

As restaurants and pubs have reopened, more Europeans are looking for work in the hospitality industry but job searches remain far lower than they were before the pandemic.   

The Way of the World 

The surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban is the result of an extreme case of collective amnesia and self-delusion that continues to undermine the international response to the unfolding catastrophe there. Motivated by the desire to justify that surrender and rationalise the humiliating retreat from Kabul, western military and political leaders have forgotten who it was we fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan for two decades. They have conjured an Afghan enemy we would prefer to have lost to, rather than the one that is thrusting the Afghan people into hell and poses a threat to all civilised peoples. 

Quote of the Day 

From a non-admirer: Prince Charles is one of the few people alive who can hold a conversation with a rhododendron on an intellectually equal basis.


The word ‘innuendo’ comes from the Latin for ‘by nodding’. Explanation here, if interested.


Reader Eamon kindly offers this in respect of odd Spanish names for film titles. But it doesn’t really explain why tonight’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is called here Desayuno con diamentes. ‘Breakfast with diamonds’.

Finally  . . . 

More history . . . Marco Polo was prone, they say, to exaggeration, in one case, writing of 5,000 elephants in some palace in China. This was, in fact, his favourite alternative for ‘very many’. His nickname in Italy was thus Marco Milione.

This lady has Liked some of my posts, so the least/most I can do is cite her blog. Useful if you’re off to Vietnam.

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