18 October 2021: Buggered up bones; Prostitution; Gas risks; Graffiti ‘artists’; & Pedestrian risks.

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 

Holy Moley . . .It seems the bones in the casket behind the altar of Santiago de Compostela cathedral are of the wrong James/Iago. I’m a bit confused on this but the point is that, in Catholic teaching, it doesn’t really matter that people have been paying for several centuries to see the wrong bones in the silver casket, as Catholics don’t pray to relics any more than they do to statues or paintings. They pray to the relevant saint, to ask him/her to intercede on their behalf with one or all 3 of the Christian god persons. Or to one of the hundreds of Spanish Virgin mothers of Him/Them.

Of course, you have to be rather credulous to believe that the cathedral holds the bones of both St James’s. Especially as one set is supposed to have arrived (at nearby Padrón) in an un-crewed boat which sailed itself from the Holy Land. So, I don’t suppose this surprise news will have any impact on the numbers of ‘pilgrims’ who walk one of the ever-growing number of caminos de Santiago. Many of whom, anyway, claim to be doing it for ‘spiritual’ rather than religious reasons. Possibly worshipping Gaia along the Way.

In the real world, the socialist PM has said he’s going to make a number of significant changes to Spanish society and roll back neoliberal measures taken by the PP right-of-centre party. One of these is the abolition of prostitution, which is huge business in Spain. This has left me wondering if this monumental task will be achieved before or after the introduction of the AVE high-speed train service between Galicia and Madrid.

I didn’t realise that: Spain is particularly vulnerable to international gas-price fluctuations. It doesn’t have significant gas pipelines connecting it to the rest of Europe, and so has to rely on imports from northern Africa and large amounts of liquefied natural gas. When LNG demand is high in other parts of the world, Spain competes in tight markets. Can things really be as bad – or even worse – than they are in the UK?

Pontevedra city has a real problem with graffiti daubers. Nothing new escapes these vandals for long, even down in the medieval quarter. I’ll be checking this week the validity of the claim that these idiots confine themselves largely to the ugly surfaces of modern buildings, suggesting that subconscious aesthetic judgment still exists, even among the underclass. My first port of call will be our ugly new museum and art gallery.

On Friday night in Pontevedra, there was a concert across the river in the theatre complex provided as the alternative location for the street/binge drinking which is plaguing the city’s old quarter anew. On Saturday, the police admitted to being disappointed that only 30 kids bothered to attend it, the rest staying near the bars and night clubs of the casco viejo. The forces of law promised to be a bit tougher on Saturday night but I don’t know yet what degree of success they had.

This morning, on the way to my Pilates class, I twice had a car pass right in front of me when I was in the middle of a zebra crossing. In each case, the driver was a woman and neither or them ‘apologised’. The second one – who did manage a sort of grimace* – was driving an Amazon delivery van. Pick the meat out of that.

  • Just possibly at the thought of me reporting her to the company . . .

The UK 

Given his background and work experience, could this explain the (severe) shortcomings of Boris Johnson as a prime minister, especially his habit of saying things which are blatantly untrue?  . . . Most journalists know full well that what they write will be forgotten even before the reader has finished reading it. But they harbour the hope of some kind or measure of immortality. 

Social Media/The Way of the World 

British MPs used get about 20 letters a week; now they can get more than 25 emails every hour. Astonishingly, many of these are death threats. Are the tech companies really unable to use AI to stop this?

Finally  . . .

In a place where few speak your language, you tend to take more verbal risks in public than you would back home. Which possibly explains why the American/Canadian lady who walked past me this morning was saying to the person at the other end of her phone: So, the only person you’re blaming is me?

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