13 October 2021: Roll on a republic; The mythical AVE; Camino shrines; Road nonsense; & Sharawaggi, etc.

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’

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Currently, and for the first time, Spain is seeing more French than British tourists. But will this last?

Only 31% of Spaniards would vote to keep the monarchy, it’s reported. Against 39% who’d like to see the return to a republic. This, of course, reflects disgust with the exiled ex king and his crimes and his inviolability for these. Here’s Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas on the subject.

Here’s Lenox again, on an October challenge he’s set

No great surprise to learn that, when it comes restrictions on activity in the retail sector, Spain is the second highest offender in the EU.

Another non-surprise . . . The AVE high-speed train service to and from Madrid won’t be running by the end of this year after all. But will be, of course, by mid 2022. There was a graphic recently in one of our papers showing the promises made by our politicians since the 1990’s. When I arrived in 2000, it was going to be up-and-running by 2010, a mere 11 years ago.

It’s become customary for ‘pilgrims’ on the various caminos de Santiago to construct makeshift altars/shrines, for one reason or another. This is said to be something of a problem now. Which, I suspect, can only get worse. People being sheeplike, by and large.

There’s a road in Pontevedra city which has had its (one-way) direction changed at least 4 times over the years, resulting in some strange features at the (largely blocked off) roundabout at one end of it. Now, this road is going to be pedestrianised, as it runs past a school. From which, I’d guess, no pupil has ever been injured or killed. But, anyway, this strengthens my belief that there’s someone in the Town Hall whose job is to think up ways to alter the traffic flow in the city and reduce the on-street parking spaces. Not according to a sensible overall plan but ad hoc and piecemeal, causing maximum confusion and irritation to car-owners. Whom our mayor seems to hate. But is daily chauffeured from and to home in a nice car, of course.

This reminds me that only yesterday I saw a car – facing the wrong way in a one-way street – from which the driver was asking someone how to get to a particular square. I wondered what instructions I’d give him but – because of its difficulty – quickly moved on from this challenge. A few minutes later, I wasn’t too surprised to see the car in the main square, stationary in front of a barrier blocking off the only (one-time) route to his destination. I imagine he’s still not found how to get to that.

María’s Dawn: Fall(Autumn) Days

The UK 

Richard North doesn’t think the Inquiry into the handling of Covid goes far or deep enough.

Social Media

A popular break-time game for British kids is to use their phones to look on Zoopla to compare the worth of their parents’ homes.

Quote of the Day 

No nation with good food was ever heroic while, on the other hand, none with good food ever produced great art: Osbert Sitwell: The Four Continents.


‘Sharawaggi’: A term used in the 18th century, and purporting to be a Chinese word, but really invented by Horace Walpole and his group pf friends to denote the quality of beauty to be found in an unintentionally picturesque arrangement of apparently irreconcilable features: Osbert Sitwell again.

cf. Collins dictionary: Another name for ‘sharawadgi’ – a form of Chinese landscape architecture known for its irregular and asymmetrical plantings.

No entry in either the (Shorter) OED or Merriam-Webster.


Usar y tirar: Throwaway.

Finally  . . .

I’m nonplussed by the identity of some of the subscribers to this blog and wonder whether their objective is really promotion of their own blogs. In which case, they’ll surely be disappointed by the number of new readers

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