16 October 2021: Dangerous animals; Fascism; The bloody botellón; The EU; Africa ignored; & A common mistake in English.

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 

The estimable Max tells us here about Spain’s most dangerous animals and how to minimise your chances of meeting them. Up here in Galicia we not only have lots and lots of wild boars but also quite a few wolves and even bears.

If you’re ever in the capital . . . National Heritage has reopened the viewpoint on the cornice of the Royal Palace, closed for the last 15 years. It offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views over the Campo del Moro and the Casa de Campo. Even without bins, you might be able to see all the prostitutes in the latter. Some of Spain’s wildest animals . . . Just joshing.

On a history podcast, I heard that ‘years go’ in the UK it was commonplace to call anyone who disagreed with you a fascist. Spain, I have to say, hasn’t yet moved on from this. But, then, there has been greater experience of fascism here than in the UK. Where fascists were always something of a joke. Until Hitler came along, of course. 

One of the unfortunate consequences of Covid was the suspension of the Pontevedra city ordinance compelling kids to do their street bingeing (el botellón) across the river in a theatre precinct. With the ending of nighttime restrictions, they again noisily flooded the city’s old quarter last weekend*, figuratively and literally. Naturally, the residents and bar and restaurant owners have been up in arms about this nuisance and, this time round, it looks like the council isn’t going to take years to deal with it.

* In Spain, this begins on Thursday evening . . .

The UK 

So, not only in Spain and Portugal . . . Motorists face paying to use Britain’s roads to make up for the loss of revenue from fuel duties, as the country moves towards net zero. Easy hanging fruit.

The EU

I’ve now read the book I cited recently – Ever Closer Union, by Perry Anderson. As I did back then, I recommend it to you, whether you’re an EUphile or, like me, a non-EUphile. I’ve resisted the temptation to quote even one sentence from it, on the basis, that, if you’re serious about politics, you’ll read it. If you’re a non-EUphile, it’ll certainly strengthen your stance. If you’re an adamantine EUphile, you’ll probably either dismiss its criticisms or accept them and regard them as immaterial because the end justifies the means and the EU is – despite its massive flaws – ‘a good thing’. If so, you’ll be in the company of some pretty evil folk over the course of human history. One of whom is mentioned above. Just sayin’ . . .

The Way of the World 

Built on the bodies of slaves: how Africa was erased from the history of the modern world.


One of the most common mistakes made by even fluent non-native speakers is to complicate the past conditional. So, If I’d gone, for example, becomes If I would have gone. I’ve striven valiantly to stop this but have almost given up. Influenced by their own tongues, my various foreign friends don’t seem to be able to get this.

Finally  . . .

Heard on the radio this morning . . . I’ve started a vacuum cleaner company. As it’s early days, business sucks but it’s picking up.

Almost as good/bad as the ad from a detergent company seen this morning, where the geniuses have invented yet another chemical product called Outdoorable, to give your clothes the smell you can’t get when you hang them inside because of rain. Maybe it’ll be a great success here in Galicia, where – as everyone knows – it rains all day and night every single day of the year.

This blog can be seen on Twitter. And I think I might now have made it possible for it to be seen on Facebook even if you’re not a friend.

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