10 January 2022: Spanish delicacies; Camino numbers, Winter weather; The death of the plague?; A pathetic prince; & 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’

Cosas de España/Galiza

Spain’s most delicious delicacies. As I’ve said, I abhor the percebes. A massively impressive marketing success.

All the stats you might need to know on the Camino de Santiago.

A lot of info on Spain’s weather here. What it doesn’t tell you is that there’s only one city in Spain which can be the hottest in summer and also the coldest in winter – Ourense, up in the Galician mountains. God help you if you’re walking through Ponferrada on the French Way on those days.

The UK

The Omicron panic seems to be over in the UK, where case numbers have reduced every day for the last 5 days, and hospitalisations and deaths are nowhere near the December forecasts/threats. The pound has risen to a new height against the euro – 1.20) – reflecting greater optimism re the UK economy. But this won’t stop continental schadenfreude, of course.

E-scooters. Someone riding one, illegally, on a public road was injured by a passing bus but his insurance company has declined to compensate him. So, a landmark court case is in prospect. Meanwhile, we’re told that there are an estimated 750,000 scooters being used illegally on public roads. Could be even worse than in Spain.

The Duke of York: The case is proven: Andrew’s not guilty of harbouring any brain cells whatsoever: See the nice article below.

The USA 

The Guardian – a left-of-centre journal* – has recently given us 2 articles on the issue of democracy in the USA – here and here.

* Nowhere near as left-of-centre as it used to be, say my Socialist friends.

The Way of the World  

Why on earth is the number one item on both the BBC and Sky News this morning Djokovitch’s visa problems down in Oz? Is there really nothing more important happening in the world? How many folk really care about this multi millionaire’s travails? There’s a bit about him in the article below.

Spanish

Domotizar: To domotise (from the Latin Domus):  Not yet in the RAE dictionary. These old guys take their time. Houses offering this were on sale near me 10 years ago.

English

To domotise: To use a set of technological equipment in your home to help with your daily tasks. Like switching the central heating off and on.

Likewise not in the OED. But Collins has: Domotics: The control of domestic appliances by electronically controlled systems. 

Finally . . .

Well, Galicia has welcomed me back with open clouds. The Atlantic Blanket smothered the city all of yesterday, treating us to its speciality – a non-stop fine drizzle which the Gallegos call llovizna. Today looks like being exactly the same. I knew Galicia suffered from high humidity but I was surprised to find that the tea-towel hanging on the cooker rail was damp. Presumably because the central heating had been off during my 6 weeks’ absence. The underfloor heating has now been on for 40 hours and has managed to raise the salón temperature from 13 to 19 degrees, almost obviating the need for a wood fire there. I do wish I had old fashioned – albeit less aesthetically pleasing – radiators. 

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

THE ARTICLE

The case is proven: Andrew’s not guilty of harbouring any brain cells whatsoever: Camilla Long, The Times 

To this day it still stuns me how little Prince Andrew appears to have learnt from his damaging friendship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Almost every week it is the same: he gets yet another bad news headline, always of his own making, which he grasps but only when it’s too late. So he panics and gets some beleaguered aide to react with aggressive rubbish about the women Epstein raped. He does this again and again.

He shows little care for or interest in the paedophile’s victims — his lawyers happily referred to them as “slutty girls”: to them Virginia Giuffre, who claims Andrew had sex with her three times when she was 17, is a gold-digging liar. He fluffs interviews, attacks staff, hides from the press, shouts “Fuck off” and “Get out of my way” at anyone who is beneath him, sullenly driving his brand new eco Range Rover with its embarrassing personalised numberplates up and down near his mother’s house. What will he do, I wonder, with those plates when he is no longer DOY? It is extraordinary: the embodiment of bad PR.

Meanwhile one of his immediate family, Fergie or the Yorkies, will be shown merrily skiing/attending weddings/flying to Sotogrande/hanging out with Luxembourgian royals/licking some sheikh or, like last week, swanning in and out of the chintzy £17 million gingerbread dollop in Switzerland he is now said to be selling to pay lawyers’ fees because the Queen won’t. The three women spent their time lounging around the butler-clogged Windsor Suite at Heathrow on their way back from Verbier, just days after a judge openly sneered at Andrew’s lawyers during a hearing for Giuffre’s case against him in New York. The prince, who has always said he never had sex with Giuffre, is nevertheless trying to persuade Judge Lewis Kaplan that the silence Epstein bought from her for $500,000 in 2009 covers him as well. It is simply mind-boggling that one of our royals is trying to get off a sex trafficking case on a technicality. You just think: what is this family on?

It is not just Andrew, obviously: he merely adds to the bottomless pit of evidence that the royals are not fit for purpose. The years of Harry and Meghan, the handling of the life and death of Diana, the terrible mess Charles has made of everything — after centuries of silence we are finally finding out who they are.

Not a single one of them has two brain cells to rub together, bar, obviously, the Queen: it says everything that it took the world’s most expensive education to get Prince Harry up to a B and a D at A-level, and still the teachers had to cheat for him. The only popular royals are the ones who’ve married into the family or, like the Queen, never thought they’d be there in the first place. She is a beacon of dedication, duty and intelligence and clearly can’t face leaving her throne to any of them, clinging on like Logan Roy in Succession.

Royalty for most people represents a kind of magical perfection: the idea that some people really are just better than others. We still look up to them as kind of celebby gods, but slowly it is dawning on people that the “The Paedo, the Socialite and the Sex Pest Prince” is never going to sell as a children’s book.

What must the Queen be thinking as she watches her son madly hiring rottweiler lawyers, useless press officers, crisis managers, aides and other snake oil salesmen he can’t afford? For me, it simply has to be the beginning of the end. We recently learnt that staff are “too scared” to stand up to him, which explains why his press plan feels as if it’s run by his ex-wife, whose idea of a cutting-edge news publication is Harper’s Bazaar Saudi Arabia.

Imagine getting someone to set up an interview to “put one’s side of the story” and thinking it’ll be fine to speak to Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis. If Maitlis had been a softball royal reporter, no doubt Andrew’s snafu with Epstein would have been packaged up as some mental health issue and released as a pod. But she isn’t and it wasn’t, and Andrew stupidly did the show.

In a hilarious article written last week before the hearing, the whip-smart killer reporter described how she was summoned “to the heart of Buckingham Palace” a few days before their infamous meeting. Welcoming her into his offices in “what felt like the eaves” of the palace, no doubt in full clammy “mine host” mode, Andrew immediately told her he was “unable to sweat”. It was something that had happened to him in the Falklands: he had produced a rush of adrenaline that stopped him “sweating properly”. He then asked her “very directly” if she thought her viewers would be “interested to hear” about this strange physical problem.

What did he think was the answer? It seems amazing to me that, having given hundreds, probably thousands, of interviews both on television and in print, Andrew still had no clue what people wanted to hear. He has been in public life since before he was born but is so slow he has yet to remotely understand anything about the public. Maitlis obviously “said yes … and that we wanted to hear as much detail of his account as we could”. Reading her article, you wonder why he was asking her and not his own press team, who are paid to stop him discussing his armpits on national television.

None of this needed to happen: if he had kept his mouth shut, he could have done what he sheepishly said he might consider last week: “settle” with Giuffre for £3.7 million. There can’t be a judge in America who won’t now secretly enjoy making life embarrassing for one of our silly royals, as the spiky hearing on Tuesday proved. Andrew has behaved so stupidly, it is possible to disbelieve Giuffre but still want him to go to prison.

Even Novax Djesus can’t teleport his way out of this one

For days now our eyes have been trained on Novak Djokovic’s plant-fed, gluten-free, tight little Serbian botty. The last picture of the tennis star, who has not taken the vaccine, shows him being denied entry to Australia, a country with some of the strictest Covid policies on the planet.

I cannot think of two nationalities more hilariously opposed than the sunburnt, pig-flesh-eating, plain-talking, Shane-Warne-loving, street-brawling man-mountain Aussies, and the prancing, forest-sniffing, lake-swimming, whimsical Serbian man-gods of whom Djokovic very much counts himself one.

Scan his Instagram site or that of his wife, Jelena, and you will be exposed to a sickening tide of rake-thin fresh-air smooches and performatively wholesome family life with tinges of Slavic master race. Djokovic claims he can improve the quality of water just by thinking about it. The other person who famously changed water was, of course, Jesus.

He is now a messiah to the antivaxers, who feel someone has finally stood up against governments cynically using Covid as a form of mass control. And, well, it’s true we’re at the point where we need to think hard about how much we want to coerce people who simply do not want to take the vaccine, especially if, like Djokovic, they’ve already had the virus.

I’m sure we’ll get a full account of Djokovic’s suffering, his days — perhaps 40 of them — spent eating locusts in a “filthy” quarantine hotel. One guest described the food as having “mould” and “maggots” in it, which is a far cry from the five-star yoga diet he normally enjoys while experimenting with telepathy.

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