26 January 2022: Covid mis- management; Feral felines; Madrid v Brussels; Poetry, ancient and modern; & 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’


Failures of State: This is said to be A jaw-dropping account of the last 18 months of pandemic mismanagement in the UK. Something similar could probably be written about many other countries. Certainly about Australia and New Zealand, I strongly suspect. But possibly not about Sweden. Time will tell.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Politics: The Ukrainian situation is causing problems for the left-of-centre government coalition, says El Pais.

A nice anthology from Lenox Napier.

Yet another new – but truly authentic – camino de Santiago?

Yesterday,I walked down a street in Pontevedra’s old quarter for the first time in years and came across a plot with more than 10 of these plastic boxes for feral cats:-

I guess – but for the negative connotation – you could call them cat houses.

The UK

Richard North today: We’re in the bizarre situation of having a bipolar prime minister. On the one hand,, he’s a hunted fugitive, cowering in the No 10 bunker, terrified that someone will come up with the photo of a Union Jack cake. On the other, he’s the robust, international statesman, bringing hope to the oppressed masses and telling Vladimir where to get off. This can’t go on. Won’t someone shoot Johnson and put him out of his/our misery. [Query: Have I just committed a hate crime?]

French, Spanish and Italian languages are nominally regulated by a national academy of writers and academics. In 1665, the Royal Society convened a committee for English but its members only met a few times before a plague outbreak stopped them, ending the idea. Luckily for us Anglos and our people-led language.

The EU

Spain’s treatment of the (self-exiled) Catalan leader is causing a rule of law crisis in the EU, with implications for the spat between Brussels and Poland: Spain’s hunt for political prisoners, and its defiance of the rules of the European parliament, looks increasingly like a threat to the EU’s respect for the rule of law – which is what ultimately underpins the integrity of the bloc as a whole. More here.

Quote of the Day

From Private Eye’s book reviewer: As for modern poetry, most of it is simply not poetry, merely chunks of prose dinkily arranged across the page and masquerading as blank verse.

On this theme, this review of a translation of a bit of medieval poetry will surprise – and even delight – most of us.


Un mupi: Actually in the RAE dictionary as: Un meuble urbano para la presentación de información o de publicidad. A glass-fronted hoarding for ads at the side of the pavement/sidewalk. Derived from either Mobiliario Urbano para la Publicidad Inteligente or Mobiliario Urbano para la Presentación de Información. Who’d have thought it?

Finally . . .

Can you believe that: Almond milk was first mentioned in A Baghdad Cookery Book in 1226. By 1390 it had reached Europe and was particularly popular during Lent.

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