17 March 2022: Inescapable notaries; An odd judicial decision; Local brothels and bridges; Ukraine v Russia; & 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’

Happy St Paddy’s Day to all, from this (recently become) Irish Brit!

Cosas de España/Galiza  

Is there no adverse development in Spain which doesn’t make notaries even richer? The reason is that they are state employees and the state obliges you to use them for everything official. So it is that making your will here is not the easy, cheap thing it can be in the UK. Here you have to use a notary and have him/her put your will in the national Registry. And, guess what – Covid has caused a massive increase in the writing of Wills.

It’s reported that a Supreme Court judge has halved the prison sentence for a drunk driver who killed a cyclist and fled, as he was dead and the driver couldn’t have done anything for him. This astonished me as, back in the 1980s, this rationale had been used by a judge when I was living in Jakarta and all the expats there took it as a sure sign he’d been bribed. Surely not in modern Spain? Maybe the driver was just important.

This is a nice article on ‘the town(city?) – Málaga -that inspired Picasso’. Some of us philistines wish it hadn’t . .

We used to have 2 brothels and one love-hotel in my barrio of Poio, across the river from  Pontevedra. This is the normal Spanish pattern of such establishments, on the outskirts of cities. But now have only one brothel and the Hotel Venus. The other bordelo had clearly seen better days, as you can see from this foto:-

The sign used to read – if you can believe it – “Working Girls”. Before it was closed down and re-emerged under a less explanatory name. And then closed down again. Because of people trafficking, I guess.

These are the new railings on the O Burgo bridge I cross 4 times a day:-

And these are the (ugly) new ones:-

For the last 2 days, there’s been quite a strong wind and I’ve noticed – at a certain point on the bridge – this causes a loud noise. I thought ‘keening’ might be the right word for this and I might well have been right – An intense mournful wailing after a death. By extension, an unpleasant wailing sound.

An easy clue in General knowledge crossword in the latest edition of Prospect magazine:- The capital of Galicia where the tomb of St James the Great is a principal centre of Catholic pilgrimage. Not to mention all the many atheists and those seeking a ‘spiritual’ boost. And the rich and curious Asians.


A worrying observation from Richard North this morning: Yesterday, Putin claimed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “developing successfully” and that the Russian military were “doing everything to avoid civilian casualties”. This sat alongside multiple reports of death and injury to civilians, including 5 people, of whom 3 were children who were killed after attack on a Chernihiv dormitory, while 10 people died while queuing for bread after Russian troops reportedly opened fire on them. Perhaps Mr Putin could tell us why two-thirds of Russian missiles fired in Ukraine hit civilian buildings, including the drama theatre in Mariupol sheltering hundreds of children. The detachment of Putin from reality calls into question the peace talks which are going on apace, but there is now a serious possibility that Zelensky may loose interest in a deal, if the rout of Russian forces continues.


More recognisable Old English words below, plus one or two nice words/phrases we’ve lost.

Finally . . .

To amuse. . .

For new reader(s): If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.


Pronunciation in brackets

From Hana Videen’s ‘The Wordhord’  

befer, noun (beh-ver): Beaver. 

bēo, noun (bay-oh): Bee. 

bēo-gang, noun (bay-oh-gahng): Swarm of bees. 

bēo-mōder, noun (bay-oh-mo-der: Queen bee (bee-mother). 

bera, noun (beh-ra): Bear.

bridd, noun (brid): Young bird, chick.  (Bird)

cat, noun (kaht): Cat. 

cwēn, noun (kwain): Woman; wife; queen, empress. 

cyning, noun (kue-ning): King, emperor. 

docga, noun (dodge-ah): Dog. 

draca, noun (drah-ka): Dragon. 

earn, noun (eh-arn): Eagle. 

fēnix, noun (fay-niks): Phoenix. 

gang, noun (gahng): Going, movement; power or manner of walking; coming or going from one place to another. 

gāt-bucca, noun (gaht-buck-ka: Domestic goat (male). 

gærs-hoppa, noun (garz-hop-pa): Grasshopper. 

gærs-stapa, noun (garz-stah-pa): Locust (grass-stepper). 

ge-cynd, noun (yeh-kuend): Nature, kind, condition. 

gongel-wæfre, noun (gong-gell-wav-ruh): Spider (walker-weaver). 

gyllan, verb (yuel-lahn): (Of birds) to make a loud cry, to screech; (of wolves or dogs) to bay, howl; (of inanimate objects) to make a strident, grating or crashing noise; to yell, utter a loud cry. 

hama, noun (ha-ma: Covering. 

hors, noun (hors): Horse. 

hræfn, noun (h’rav-un: Raven.

hrēaðe-mūs, noun (hray-ah-thuh-moos): Bat (adorned mouse). 

hund, noun (hund): Hound, dog. 

lēaf-wyrm, noun (lay-ahv-wuerm): ‘Leaf-worm’, blast or Bruchus (a kind of leaf beetle known for destroying crops). 

lēo, noun (lay-oh): Lion. 

mūs, noun (moos): Mouse. 

scēap, noun (shay-op): Sheep. 

swīn, noun (sween): Pig, swine. 

wæfer-gange, noun (wav-er-gahng-guh ): Spider (weaver-walker).

wulf, noun (wulf): Wolf. 

wyrm, noun (wuerm): Worm, insect, snake, dragon, reptile.


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