24 October 2021: Covid rising; A misplaced Desert: Renfe!!; FB!!!; New English words; & A smile.

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’


Case upticks in several European countries might be prima facie evidence of the validity the ‘UK-EU lag’ theory around waning vaccination efficacy. Time, as ever, will tell.

A propos: Experts say there’s a range of factors driving Britain’s current surge. They are closely monitoring the UK’s response to rising cases, to assess whether the UK is a warning sign for the rest of the world.

As for Spain . . . Cases are certainly rising here too, albeit only slightly.

Cosas de España

A nice and very valid comment from the estimable Max here: Places like this are what makes Spain such a special country. One could even consider Spain to be a small continent as it offers almost every terrain you could possibly imagine, the choice and wealth of nature is far beyond what most people can even imagine, but wander away from the coastline and you can discover a world that will leave its mark forever. 

Dear dog . . . I didn’t think I could get even angrier at Renfe but I managed it yesterday. After failing 10 times to book tickets to and from Madrid next week*, I went to the station and, in view of the length of the queue, decided to do battle with one of the machines in the entrance hall. In fact, with all 3, none of which would give me tickets. As a final insult, the 3rd machine said it couldn’t deal with my request and instructed me to go to the ticket counter. But suddenly there were 2 strokes of luck. A bad one for the 15 people in the line, who were told the next train to Vigo was completo. But a good one for me, as I was the only person left as the queue dispersed. Fortunately, the lady at the counter was competent and I didn’t have to kill a Renfe employee.

*Regular users of Renfe’s web page might well be as familiar as I am with this erroneous message: El trayecto consultado no se encuentra disponible para la venta en estos momentos o bien no existe conexión directa, por favor inténtelo más adelante y disculpe las molestias. That said, a friend of mine insists she’s never had a single problem booking tickets. Clearly a lot cleverer than I am . .


Like McCarthyism, America will soon wake up to wokeism. Americans will look back on the woke movement with bemusement. One does wonder . . .

Social Media

I’ve created a FB group page for this blog (see below) and now FB is sending me irritating suggestions about what other groups I might like to join. For reasons quite beyond me, it thinks I have a gun dog. And that I need to improve my proficiency in English.

The Way of the World 

Not just beyond belief but beyond laughter . . . Peter Fray-Witzer, a student at Ohio’s expensive Oberlin College, wrote in his its newspaper that “cisgender men” had been allowed into his room to install the radiator, leaving him “angry, scared and confused”.  Not quite ready for the big, bad world then, Peter?

Which reminds me . . . Companies have long been under pressure to ensure equality of the sexes on their boards. Yesterday, I got to wondering what would happen if a company – compelled by law to have an equal number of male and female directors – announced that 3 of its male directors were now transwomen – changing the split from 8:2 to 5:5. Likewise, if 3 white directors suddenly became transblack, to meet legal obligations as regards race. After all, these days no one is allowed to question self-identification. 


2 new words for me:-

  1. Conniption: A fit of rage or hysterics. Apparently of ‘informal, US’ origin. Wiki equates it with tantrum, temper tantrum, meltdown, fit or hissy fit: An emotional outburst, usually associated with those in emotional distress, typically characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, violence, defiance, angry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification, and, in some cases, hitting and other physically violent behavior. There’s more on it here, where you’ll see why you wouldn’t have wanted to be married to Christina Rossetti. Or a woman I once knew. In all senses.
  2. Spornosexual:  Men who go to the gym in order to post selfies of their beefy bodies on social media. These men are said to use their bodies as the ultimate accessory and also enjoy tattoos and having waxed, tanned skin.

Not to be confused with either:-

– Metrosexual: A heterosexual urban man who enjoys shopping, fashion, and similar interests traditionally associated with women or gay men.


– Sapiosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to highly intelligent people, so much so that they consider it to be the most important trait in a partner. Where are these when you need them? Or just one of them, even.

And a new euphemism – ‘Buried penis syndrome’ – Obesity.

Cartoon of the Week

Finally  . . .  

In parts of Romania, a ban on hunting bears has led to them terrorising town-dwellers on a nightly basis. And I thought it was bad enough having a male wild boar cross my path in the forest behind my house.

This blog can be seen on Twitter and on Facebook in a new group page.  

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