7 November 2021: Squatters; Tips on moving to Spain; Grape disappointment; A phantom book; Funny English; & Bloody RENFE!!!

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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


Spain: The laudatory Lancet.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Mark Stücklin continues his attacks here on squatters and a legal system which encourages and protects them.

Which reminds me  . . . I don’t think I’ve previously given a HT to Lenox Napier of Business over Tapas for his citation of this useful article – The Seven Biggest Mistakes When Moving to Spain & Other Tips. 

And that reminds me that I’ve written a book with the working title of So, you’re thinking of moving to Spain?. It’s based on my first 15 months here – 2000/2001 – and one of these days I’ll get round to doing something about publishing it. 

Meanwhile, I see that our grapes also noticed it wasn’t a great summer, weatherwise.

As a native English speaker, you have to get used to bizarre slogans in your maternal tongue. Such as this one is a shop window in the humungous new shopping mall at Vigo station:-

RENFE: A new low . . . There are 2 stations in Vigo. Last night, I was due to return at 9.30 from station A but wanted to change my ticket to the 7.30 train. As that was full, I was told to walk (15 minutes) to station B. Where my (printed-out) ticket was rejected because I’d torn off the (large) advert at the bottom of it. I pointed out that all the relevant details were still on the print-out – including the QR – so it was ridiculous to say it couldn’t be accepted and changed. But the clerk wouldn’t budge. So, I offered the PDF on my phone, received with the email confirmation of the online booking, but was told this wasn’t acceptable either. Rather angry by now, I said that, if I hadn’t printed off the ticket, only this is what would have been available as proof of purchase. I then suggested – ad alta voce – that the clerk just sell me a new bloody ticket. Whereupon she suddenly discovered that she could, after all, change the ticket, and set about printing off several chits. Most of these she put in a pile next to her keyboard, giving me just 2 of them. One was my ticket and the other was a record of the 27 centimos being repaid to my debit card, as this train is slower than the one I originally booked to station A. IGIMSTS. Roll on the competition from SNCF.

The UK  

At COP26 – says The Guardian, hereBoris Johnson appeared to rely on the jokes and verbal antics that have served him well in the past. With the world watching on the most urgent issue of the age, he sought to mix it up – part statesman, part standup.  But . . . His address was met with stony silence. The prime minister left pauses for laughs. They never came. But it all possibly helped to reduce media exposure of the latest sleaze scandal he’s implicated in.

The Way of the World

Climate change: Richard North questions here whether the science really is – or, indeed, ever can be – ‘settled’.

Quote of the Day 

When it comes to sorting the pretentious from the profound, it’s not what is said but who is saying it that counts; intellectuals get away with talking nonsense.


Una broma pesada: A practical joke. Literally, ‘A heavy joke’.

Finally  . . .

Kids again, for the last time . . . A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. “Mum, look what I found,” the boy called out. “What have you got there dear?” With astonishment in the young boy’s voice, he answered, “I think it’s Adam’s underwear!”…  

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