19 November 2021: Mask efficacy; Sweden’s success; Spain’s tribalism; Advice for Brits; Best WFH cities; EU strains; & Other stuff.

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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’


Wearing a mask is the most effective way in which the public can curb coronavirus cases, a study has found. Global research has found that masks can slash incidences of infection by 53 per cent. The first systematic review of its kind has found that non-pharmaceutical measures, such as mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing, are all effective at keeping infection numbers down.

See here for an analysis of the ‘alleged’ success of vaccinations and of the ‘real (and unique’) success of Sweden’s herd immunity strategy. It does make you think.

Cosas de España/Galiza

This must say something about trust in politicians . . . Just as soon as the Spanish government guaranteed energy supplies this winter,  there was a run on portable gas cookers and lamps. The Wisdom of crowds??

Advice for Brits in Spain:-

1. Be warned that Xmas gifts from the UK could cost you an arm or a leg. Possibly both. I’ve just learned that a book costing €11.45 incurred Customs/other charges totalling €7.35, or 64%.

2. If you’re going to be marrying in Spain, think about a prenuptial. Or a cohabitation agreement if you’re going to vivir en el pecado . . .

3. Be warned that – despite regular media instructions from El Tráfico – Spanish drivers are still being taught to use only the outside lane on roundabouts, regardless of which exit they’re taking. At least here in Galicia. This morning I was behind a learner who did this in order to do a U-turn at the 5th exit. I wasn’t exactly surprised.

The best Spanish cities for WFH. And the global winners. Not everyone will agree with the criteria, never mind the rankings. See the end of this post for what I can make out were the top 20.

Taking sides . . . A sign of the times: A row over street art shines a light on Spain’s divisions. 

And, from that article: The ghosts of the 1936-39 civil war and subsequent dictatorship returned to national politics once again this week. Spain’s Socialist-led coalition has tabled amendments to draft legislation that would effectively allow prosecutors to investigate crimes committed under the 1939-75 Franco regime on the basis that crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and torture have no statute of limitations under international humanitarian law.

The EU

Richard North here extensively its an article from AEP on a threat arising from Russian strategic goals which might again lead to economic nationalism in the Union, this time over energy supplies rather than medical equipment or vaccines. Let’s hope not.


The BBC reports here on UK investment in (re-discovered) nuclear energy sources.

And someone knowledgable here takes on what he regards as dangerous myths about CO2.

The Way of the World 

1. Dorothy Parker

– Back in the day: Men seldom make posses at women in glasses.

– Now : Men seldom make passes. Possibly.

2. Suddenly, it seems to me, a lot more people are asking me for my email. For example a restaurant in which was standing asked me if I wanted email confirmation of the reservation I’d just made. I do have an email – DRoss – for this sort of thing but can’t be bothered to cite it and thus be further commoditised. Tellingly, no one insists when I decline to do so.


Words or phrase I had to check on in an article I cited yesterday:-

Vallisoletano: From Valladolid

Hecho a sí mismo: Self-made 

Hurgar: To rummage around

Maraña: Tangle;web

Hardcore: Guess

Desasosiego: Unease

Vidas atenazadas: Lives of bondage.

Desgranar de forma minuciosa: To describes in detail

Pataleta: Tantrum

Soeces: Rude; profane

Sorna: Derision, scorn

Amedrentado: Afraid; daunted

Hostigamiento: Harassment  

Flaco e ido: ‘Lean and mean’, though Google gives it as ‘Flaky and gone’ . . .

Faltar de juicio: To be lacking in judgement.

Finally  . . .

My attempts to get a booster jab during the last 2 weeks have been rather pillar-to-post, though everyone has spoken very nicely to me on the phone. But today, in a 2nd visit to Pontevedra’s main hospital – I managed to get a (Pfizer) jab. And I now wait to see if I suffer the reaction some folk have had with this variety. (BTW: As usual, the computer didn’t initially recognise me, as I’m un-Spanish enough have only one surname and 2 forenames, not vice versa).

This blog can be seen on Twitter and on the Facebook group page – Thoughts from Galicia.  

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

WFH Best Cities

1 Melbourne

2 Montreal

3 Syney

4 Wellington

5 Prague

6 Toronto

7 Tallin

8 Zagreb

9 Singapore

10 Dublin

11 Berlin

12 Glasgow ( Yea, sure. Better than Madrid and Barcelona . .)

13 Tokyo

14 Lisbon

15 Madrid

16 Vancouver

17 Barcelona

18 Helsinki

19 Aberdeen

20 Hamburg