3 October 2021

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’ 


With apologies, here’s the link that early readers didn’t get yesterday – to a reader’s blog posing some serious questions re Covid and the responses to it.

Mask-wearing in public during September:-
Spain 84% – Seems about right to me.
Italy 79%
France 76%
Germany 60%
UK 60%

Cosas de España/Galiza

The page 1 headline of the Voz de Galicia yesterday warned us that the region is short of 2,000 truck drivers and that there might well be supply shortages over Xmas. Not much to do with Brexit, I suspect, and possibly down to Covid and poor long-term planning in the entire European industry

I often joke about Galician dishes coming with 2 kilos of potatoes but yesterday it was close to the truth. I’m staying with friends in the countryside near Betanzos and at lunch in a nearby restaurant the single portion of the traditional Galician pig stew – cocido – came with enough spuds to feed a platoon. Though my excellent wild boar stew didn’t quite attain this level. And they were sliced and suffused with meat juice.

Near our hotel is the monastery of Monfero. This, as they say, is slowly going to rack and ruin and only the adjacent abbey church is now open to view. But our visit was well worthwhile, if only to see what might well be the most granitic building in the world. Everything in it is made of this local stone, including the barrel vault ceilings and the huge dome. There are some fine fotos of the place here and here, including the unusual chequerboard facade.

Here’s something on the mayor of Vigo – regarded by some as at least odd – formally opening the vast new commercial complex at one of the city’s 2 railway stations. The construction of which has bedevilled the latter for quite some time. I suspect Sr Caballero won’t be too pleased to see Vigo referred to as a town, when it’s most certainly a city.

Out in the Galician countryside, where the internet is slow and there’s no 4G, I’m pleased to read that: The new Universalisation of Digital Infrastructures for Cohesion Programme is the framework for measures and investments that will guarantee ultrafast broadband connection throughout the country, covering 100% of the population by 2025. Bring it on, say I.

The UK

Why can’t the British prime minister find a decent tailor? Surely one of his mates – or his latest wife – knows one. Or is his dishevelled image part of his clown act? Or just the result of his odd body shape?

The Way of the World

Hmm. Students arriving at the University of Kent are told they have white privilege if they swear and wear second-hand clothes but get away with it. As: They escape judgment for this because they are white. If only I’d known; I could have switched to sackcloth and ashes.


The ‘frog-in-boiling-water’ strategy. To do something gradually so that pain is tolerated until a point is reached from which there’s no going back. As with the introduction of Covid restrictions until you’re obliged to show a ‘passport’ to get into your own office.

Nominative determinism at work: The BBC’s reporter at dry petrol stations last week was Phil McCann.

Finally . . .

Should you want one, here’s how to install a barrel vault ceiling in you house.

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