4 January 2022: ‘Consent’ in Spain; Fabulous Iberian train rides; Culture wars a la Francaise; (A)GW, & 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’


Not sure I’m happy to be heading back to Spain on Thursday. . .With Christmas and New Year now over, the sixth wave of the coronavirus pandemic is still breaking records in Spain

Tried to buy higher quality masks today, ahead of 2 days on a boat to Santander but no stocks in any pharmacy.

Cosas de España/Galiza  

Spain’s- exiled king grows restless in his gilded cage. 

Spain’s courts still don’t seem to have grasped the modern concept of consent. They’ve thrown out the case brought by a woman who was forced to give her brother-in-law sex as part of repayment of a loan he’d given her. 

Spain’s contribution to an article on magnificent train journeys: If you like your luxury with a dose of history, book a trip on the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo, where 4 of the cars are original 1923 Pullman cars. The trains are decorated to evoke the feeling of stepping back almost 100 years ago. Passengers can experience some of Spain’s best vistas from the panoramic viewing car. Service goes across the northern coast of the country from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela.

Something here on the infamous Modelo 720 but I’m left wondering if the changes are national or confined to one province in the Basque Country


Our neighbour’s contribution to that article: Portugal’s Douro Valley has become an internationally recognized culinary destination. The Presidential Train brings some of the world’s finest chefs to some of the world’s freshest food as it chugs from Porto to Quinta do Vesuvio, on the eastern coast of the Douro Valley. Acclaimed chefs board every day for ten hours of dining delight, paired with wines from the region. Passengers can relax in private cabins and watch the golden valley through their windows as they wait for meal service.


So, not fish then . . . The culture war will dominate the French elections . . . It is clear that France has entered a new era of politics. Voters and parties are fragmented along new lines, around questions of culture, identity and nationhood. And while no new force can yet command a serious majority in society, it’s clear that the old order, that simple contest between centre-left and centre-right, is well and truly dead. More here.


Richard North returns here to the question of whether the earth is heating up or cooling down: Indications are that we are headed for another cooling period on the scale of the Maunder Minimum which triggered the little ice-age, at its most intense between 1570 and 1680 – with devastating social effects.

Finally . . .

I’ve mentioned the US legal action against Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of Theranos. After listening to 10 or more podcasts – ABC’s The Dropout – I was convinced she was as guilty as sin but found it impossible to decide which way the jury would go. In the end, they went both ways, finding her guilty on 4 charges and innocent on another 4. As you’ll know if you read a newspaper or listen to any News bulletin.

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