26 December 2021: Bits & Bobs for Boxing Day . . .

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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’


Omicron, it says here, might not be the final variant but it might be the final variant of convert. It’s all down to the genetic impulse to survive and procreate. Parasites don’t prosper if they kill their hosts.

Cosas de España/Galiza  

El Gordo winners

The current king’s Xmas address, against the backcloth of his disgraced dad’s desire to decamp from Abu Dhabi.

First the meals and now the traditional Xmas desserts.

The UK   

Well, getting a PCR test for my daughter coming from Madrid on Xmas Eve was something of a farce. After she’d finally managed to book a test before flying, I then paid the clinic 20 pounds so she could get the result the day of her arrival, allowing her to see her mother as well as me and her sister’s family. But when I returned the sample to the clinic, I was told this needed to have been returned before she’d landed at Manchester Airport. This led to something of an altercation and the return of my 20 quid. And the upshot is that she won’t have the result until the end of Day 4 of a 6 day trip. Meaning she should isolate until then.

I’ve twice now been caught by the supermarket trick of showing prices that you only get if you have a store card. I haven’t seen this in Pontevedra yet but my daughter assures me it’s already arrived in Madrid.

To be positive  . . . . Rejoice! Amid all the right-on lunacy, common sense is making a comeback. See below.

The Way of the World 

The Great British Non Bake-Off, from the estimable Captain Disillusion.

Finally  . . .

Something I’ve asked myself . . . 

Q: Why do I cry more easily as I get older?

A: When we’re young and the pre-frontal cortex part of the brain is in charge, we cry from pain, hunger, fear, fatigue, and frustration. … As we get older, the cognitive area of the brain takes over and dictates behavior via reasoning, and we recognize that physical pain is self-limiting, finite, and predictable.

Which sort of explains it.

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


Rejoice! Amid all the right-on lunacy, common sense is making a comeback: Rod Liddle, The Times

This may seem a strange thing to say at the end of a year in which we have been bossed around by a scientific clergy that cleaves to the view that both death and a case of the sniffles can be made permanently illegal, but 2021 has been rather a good year for that half-forgotten, ectoplasmic thing, “freedom”.

Or maybe not, for even at the best of times I am an unreliable witness possessed by the guileless optimism of a village idiot, and Christmas just makes it worse. For sure, there have been numerous, horrible persecutions of people who have simply stated an honestly held view shared by the vast majority of the population — none more so than JK Rowling and Kathleen Stock, of course.

Yes, our universities still reside under the tyranny of a minority who shriek and stamp their feet and then run away with their hands over their ears when faced with an opinion that challenges their own asinine world view, and are encouraged to do so by their dim-witted, desperately ingratiating lecturers. And it’s true that too many institutions still kowtow to the anti-history brigade, the people who wish the past to be eradicated because they see it solely through the narrowest of prisms, devoid of nuance and context.

So there’s all that, I concede. But there is a certain resistance to these manifest idiocies growing, exemplified by the Court of Appeal case last week involving Harry Miller, a former copper from Humberside.

Mr Miller, you may remember, was visited by his old colleagues after he had retweeted a short poem they deemed “transphobic”. They told him they had popped round to “check your thinking”, which has a nicely Soviet ring. Mr Miller took particular exception to his non-offence being recorded, under national policy guidelines, as a “non-crime hate incident” on the police database and thus a permanent stain on his character.

After various lengthy legal proceedings the Court of Appeal agreed unanimously that this policy had a “chilling effect” on freedom of speech, and upheld Mr Miller’s complaint. He said, after the case: “Being offensive is not, cannot and should not be an offence.” Quite.

Better still, the home secretary, Priti Patel, consequently asserted that the police should henceforth investigate real crimes rather than ones they have made up: “We want officers to focus on policing actual crime, not hurt feelings.”

There have been more than 120,000 of these “non-crime hate incidents” registered on the national police database, including a chap who whistled the theme tune to Bob the Builder whenever his neighbour hove into view. I assume that right now someone is very busy with the delete button.

Priti Patel’s intervention was especially welcome because hitherto this supposedly Conservative government had done battle against liberal overreach with all the resolve and ferocity of a recently gassed badger. I suspect they are as scared of the woke commissars as are the rest of us.

More good news? In the same week that Mr Miller received his vindication, the Scout Association apologised to an assistant scout leader, Maya Forstater, after a two-year investigation into her, er, appalling behaviour. Ms Forstater’s crime was to have referred to a heavily bearded scout leader as “he” when this chap identified — not wholly convincingly, in my opinion — as “non-binary”. Forstater was charged, absurdly, with bringing the Scouting movement into disrepute, but the heirs to the decidedly odd, masturbation-obsessed Lord Baden-Powell have now conceded they got it completely wrong, and Forstater has been exonerated.

I like to think they did so because they recognise that the tide of public opinion has turned decisively against this lunacy, and that a respect for freedom of speech and common sense is at last beginning to bloom, like a valiant snowdrop breaking through the desolate frozen ground, or something. But perhaps that’s just my village idiot thing kicking in again, the consequence of hitting myself on the head too hard with an inflated pig’s bladder on a stick.

There is trouble ahead. The Online Safety Bill, now in draft form, promises to outlaw any comment which someone, somewhere — probably Nick Clegg — deems “harmful”, rather than actually illegal. On past evidence this could mean suggesting, online, that Omicron is perhaps less injurious to health than the bubonic plague.