30 December 2021: Spanish fun; British misery; Zoo tales; & 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’

Cosas de España/Galiza  

Another bizarre Spanish festival.

A Galician joke from La Voz de Galicia:- 72 hours of spring: Subtropical air as a farewell to the year. Check where the highest temperatures will be recorded in the region. A hint: this time it’s not Ourense. 

I’ve been writing the blog, daily, for 20 years now and, in all that time, no one official from either Pontevedra city, Pontevedra province nor the Galician Xunta has shown any evidence they know it exists. Which is fine by me. But am I wrong to find that a tad surprising? 

The UK 

Well, the South Manchester Travel Centre – in a local pharmacy – continued to cock up my daughter’s PCR test right until the eve of her return to Spain. Having repaid me 20 quid for not giving her same-day results, they last night repaid her mother the 60 she paid for the basic test. This was because my daughter didn’t get the result until night 6 of her 6.5 day stay. The excuse? The lab they sent it to thought it was an 8 day, not a 2 day test. Maybe.  

I dropped said daughter off at Manchester Airport this morning and was pleasantly surprised to find it was efficient and free. Until I got to the exit barrier and was invited to pay 6 pounds for the 9 minutes the drop-off had taken. Sometimes the profiteering in the UK takes your breath away. Did I mention the cost of PCR tests?

Also disappointing have been Miele, who – despite having 6 weeks to do it – have failed to pick up the vacuum cleaner I brought from Spain and – after I’d written to whosever passes for the Customer Relations Director – said that ‘seasonal delays and workshop workload’  were the reasons for poor service. How this explains 4 people not reading the correspondence on file, I’m not clear. Anyone want an almost-new vacuum cleaner the might work one day?

Walking around the famous John Lewis department store this week, I was astonished to see that the 1950s are in vogue, at least when it comes to furniture. But not, I suspect, for anyone who actually lived through those ration-card-dominated years. Sent a shiver of revulsion through me. Before I laughed again at human folly.

The Way of the World

A  nice story . . . As a kid, I used to be treated to a visit to Chester Zoo every now and again. So it was gratifying to read that: A fish that became extinct in Mexico has been reintroduced to the wild with the help of the zoo. The tequila fish, which grows no longer than 70mm, disappeared completely from the wild in 2003 after the introduction of invasive fish species and increasing water pollution. But more than 1,500 of them have now been returned to the Teuchitlan River, thanks to conservationists from Chester Zoo and the Michoacana University of Mexico.

Which reminds me . . . Parking outside the zoo was actually free but, for more than 20 years, a guy patrolled the car park taking a fee from every driver. After he was caught, he lived nicely off his ‘earnings’

Social Media

Influencers who endorse dubious investment schemes on French social media are under investigation after young fans were cheated out of millions of euros. One of these is said to earn €190,000 a month from social media. Influencers, it’s said, have become vital to the success of fraudsters who have turned from luring the elderly and well-off to preying on gullible young people. Good to learn life’s lessons early.

Finally  . . .

I read an article on still-useful old gadgets. One was the Sage Oracle Touch coffee machine. Which, at c. 2,000 pounds, will give you an ‘expresso worthy of a barista’. I should bloody-well hope so.

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