13 December 2021: Molnupiravir, the saviour?; New visa requirements; The walking dead; Looking for love; & Other stuff.

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’


If vaccines can’t save us, will the Covid pill? Experts say it’s too early to tell whether ‘molnupiravir’ – an at-home antiviral treatment – will be a game-changer but the signs are promising.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

From the end of 2022 you might need an ETIAS to visit Spain on holiday.

More than most other OECD countries, Spain likes to tax property for government income. One reason of course, is that – in a country of high tax evasion – it has always been an easy option to catch folk when they had to use a notary for transactions involving property.

You might be surprised to read that the churchman in this modern tale will retain his title of bishop 

The UK  

Richard North here rehearses his predictions in July 2019 how how bad Boris Johnson would be as Prime Minister. And how right he was. My own prediction now is that Johnson won’t be in the position in 6 months’ time. Maybe even 3. It’s even possible he’ll go of his own accord, having achieved his lifelong ambition of obtaining a job for which he’s manifestly unsuitable. To become a high-earning after-dinner speaker. Or a depressive in The Priory. Which happens to employ a barber, I read.

And here’s an ex-employer – Max Hastings – even further back, in 2016: The Tory party is about to foist a tasteless joke upon the British people. Johnson cares for nothing but his own fame and gratification. I have a hunch he will come to regret securing the prize for which he has struggled so long, because the experience of the premiership will lay bare his absolute unfitness for it. Wow. Spot on.

In the right-of-centre Telegraph, a leader writer warns: The Tories can’t let Johnson brazen this one out. The PM’s party must recognise that his carelessness and dishonesty destroy public trust and make him unfit for office. You might be able to read the article here. Extract: The central problem with the Johnson administration is not the habitual lying, the arrant hypocrisy, the promotion of mediocre ministers, the contracts-for-the-boys corruption. It is that there is no clear mission at the heart of this government because there is no clear mission in the head of this prime minister.

The USA 

I’ve mentioned the ABC podcast – The Dropout – on the Theranos blood-testing scandal. Interesting to read that: Jennifer Lawrence and Adam McKay are teaming up again on ‘Bad Blood’, a biopic about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. The film will follow Holmes’ spectacular rise and fall and will be based on ‘Bad Blood: Secrets And Lies In A Silicon Valley’.

Social Media 

A warning from the impressive Spanish lady interviewed here:- 

Q. Can artificial intelligence lend you a hand in romantic relationships?

A. Each person understands love in his or her own way. It is impossible to make one size fits all. A company called eHarmony was the first to use algorithms to match people based on the answers they gave on many topics: what you are looking for in your partner, how educated you are, and what you would do in a given situation. And it created little bots to match them. Are these people going to get along? Yes, because they have a lot in common and we’ve seen that they would react in the same way. But love is chemistry. These algorithms start to fail the more abstract and the more complicated the person is.


‘The cut-through’:  This buzz-phrase has a modern meaning, as in No 10 will be hoping that the big vaccination push will shove partygate from centre stage, but this is optimistic given the cut-through. It seems to refer to the overwhelming magnitude of the prior event but I’m not sure and can’t find a definition on the net. 

Finally  . . . 

After many years driving in the UK and after visiting the country almost every year for 21 years, I should by now be used to it. But – for one reason and another – the courtesy of British drivers always comes as a surprise. A pleasant one, of course.

I did warn my daughter . . .

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