30 September 2021

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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’ 


In Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience ranking, Spain comes in at no. 2, after Ireland. Meaning it’s pretty safe to be here right now. Ahead of a trip there, I’m reluctant to find out where the UK is.  

Cosas de España/Galiza

The BBC tells us here of the resurgence of pastoralism in Spain. I hope one day to see the annual transhumancia event in Madrid. Possibly after I’ve retired there in 20-30 years time, to make a nuisance of myself to my elder daughter. Ojalá.

Lenox Napier writes here on challenging Spanish dishes. His citation of bull’s testicles reminded me that I’d once eaten these – unwittingly – in Iran. My recollection was that the dish was called tas kebab but a check suggests tas just means beef. Though perhaps that’s a euphemism.

Not every property-owning non-resident here will know there’s an annual tax due on it, whether or not it’s brought them any income. Estate agents here aren’t always totally forthcoming and a significant percentage of Brits go with said agents’ advice not to bother with a lawyer. Even though they’d never do this back home. Anyway, the tax is due by the end of December and the relevant form is Modelo 210. The Hacienda will be only too pleased to help you fill this out. As will the good folk here

Lenox advises that: A normal face-mask – the kind we often see tossed onto the pavement, the pathway or the playa – takes up to 300 years to rot into dust. But a new kind of mascarilla is now available which will biodegrade in just 8 weeks.  

La Coruña is certainly in the news this week. Firstly, because of the British ambassador massively overstating the number of Brits there and, secondly, because a Great White shark appeared off the harbour for the first time in many years.

María’s DawnInflection point

The UK 

There’s an expression in English which denotes speed – Like a rat up a drainpipe. It’s being reported that these hungry vermin – deprived of their pre-Covid food supply – are shimmying up waste-pipes and appearing in toilet bowls. In fact, there might only be one or two such incidents but this is enough for the sensationalist British media to term it ‘a plague’. And to offer preventative insertions for your lavs. And to blame it on Brexit, of course.


Aristotle claimed that in decayed democracies the battle for power is alway between 2 despotic forces – oligarchy and autocracy, which only unite to crush a serious threat of socialism or left-wing radicalism. The writer of this fascinating article reviews the current state of the USA against this observation. Biden and his ‘progressive’ people, he avers, can be even worse than Trump and his sycophants.

Back at the micro level . . . ‘Purity Balls’ are still held all over the USA, where fathers take their teenage daughters on a ‘date’. She pledges to stay a virgin until marriage and he, in turn, pledges to protect his daughter’s virginity until she is married. One wonders how exactly. And what happens if she strays. A court case, perhaps, for breach of contract. 

The Way of the World

Have you got any blank canvases you’d like to sell me at a decent price? Here’s why I want them.


A word that should be returned to usage: To mump: To beg. So, mumper: beggar


Ojalá: God willing. Derived from Inshallah.

Finally  . . .

Here’s an article we’d probably all agree with:-

I can’t tell you how I’d like to punish fraudsters who fleece old people: Carol Midgley

The word of the week is “scum” so what better time to revisit our old friends, the bottom-feeding dregs who scam elderly people, steal their savings and don’t even die of shame. Rachel Johnson, the prime minister’s sister, has revealed that her late elderly mother, Charlotte Johnson Wahl, who suffered from Parkinson’s, fell victim to cold-call fraudsters who came to her house to “value her valuables”. They scarpered with her belongings. I’m guessing that when Johnson found out she felt like taking a nail gun to the scumsters’ groins.

I certainly did when similar happened to my lovely father who also died this year. Nothing will persuade me that the decline in his health was unrelated to the months of worry, despair and humiliation these slop-suckers caused him. In the violent fantasies I still have about them at night months after his death (but pass off as restless leg syndrome) a nail gun would have been a mere amuse-bouche.

I have written before about fraudsters somehow getting my dad’s debit card details. They emptied his bank account spending thousands on pizzas, restaurant meals and fast-food joints. I hope the gluttonous pigs get type 2 diabetes. A few limb amputations would be nice too but I don’t want to be greedy. There were also holidays they bought in the Lake District, which was a nice touch given he hadn’t taken a break for years because he was a carer for my mother with dementia then visited her every day when she had to move into a home.

But it was after she died last year and my father was particularly vulnerable that they really took things up a gear. After the earlier scams the bank had been wonderful, reimbursing his savings and issuing new cards. The scumbags knew the game was up so they brought out their star strikers. The only reason I’m writing this is to warn you how credible they can be. My father was 82, confused and at a low ebb, but I can’t say I wouldn’t have fallen for it too. I’ve never been fully clear what happened because neither was he but they phoned him pretending to be from his bank and part of the team investigating his “terrible fraud” which, of course, they knew about. They were sympathetic. He was grateful. They implied they were trying to flush out a suspicious worker at the bank so would post him a certain envelope which he shouldn’t open as it was part of the “operation”. They would send someone “from head office” to collect it.

What the human vermin had actually done, it seems, was apply for a credit card in his name. Now they needed an excuse to collect it from his address. They must have sat outside his house waiting for the postman to arrive because just as he did a friendly blonde woman, purporting to be from the bank, got out of a car. My father handed over the envelope she identified, a lamb to the slaughter. Then the scammers commenced a spending orgy buying expensive jewellery from Watches of Switzerland. I didn’t know any of this until it was too late. The idea of hardened criminals standing on my father’s doorstep making fake small talk about his recent bereavement as they robbed him blind fills me with a) guilt and b) murderous rage. The police called me saying that as the fraudsters had now been to his house he was a “vulnerable person”. They were never caught (I have heard that for sums under £20,000 it isn’t a police priority). The bank was, again, lovely and he didn’t end up out of pocket. But the damage, certainly to his morale, was done. Be warned: these human maggots are just like violent muggers in an underpass. It’s just that they cosh you with a smile on their face. 

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