19 March 2022: Several surveys; Worrying police; Dangerous critters; Putin the Mad; & 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  

Times are a-changing. A survey by Cataluña’s Centre for Opinion Studies found that 53% of those questioned were now against independence, versus 39% in favour.

A survey – quite possibly a Mickey Mouse one – suggests that Spaniards have suffered the largest Covid-induced drop in happiness in Europe. Possibly because they’re a very sociable, out-of-doors people.

Despite, of course, right-wing opposition, a major Francoist symbol in Elche is to be replaced by an open-air museum of memory to victims of the Civil War.  I must return to that city – after 50 years – to visit said museum. And to see how much I recall of it.

My second (British) wife had lived in Galicia for several years and told me that the local police – as opposed to the 2 or 3 other forces – were generally regarded as peasants/clowns. I’ve no idea how true this is but I felt a shiver of apprehension when I read yesterday that they’re to be equipped with tasers.

Here in Spain, two things to avoid this spring are the poisonous caterpillars that fall from the trees and then cross the road in a caravan and the wild boars that venture onto farms or even into towns or cities. The Voz de Galicia reported this week that: Hundreds of wild boars have harassed houses in Canido. Which is on our coast, between Vigo and Baiona. Perhaps they wanted a swim.

The UK 

Prospect magazine reports that, for various reasons: Many catholics in Northern Ireland would vote against Irish unification.

Meanwhile, Scots folk – like Catalans – are moving away from a vote on independence. 

Perhaps people have more important things to think about right now.


Putin gave a Hitleresque performance yesterday in a Moscow football stadium. It’s said it was directed towards rich folk in Russia, amounting to an invitation to loyal, hardworking Russians to unleash violence on anyone suspected of living what might constitute a decadent “Western lifestyle”. Odd, coming from a guy who has billions, lives in an enormous palace and is said by one friend to be unlikely to press the nuclear button because he’s too fond of fine wines and beautiful women. Let’s hope the cap fits and the Russians purge him along with all the other leeches.

BTW . . . I noted that Putin was wearing a garment said to be an ‘Italian designer coat, costing £10,500’. I was surprised. Not at him spending this much but at something so expensive looking so ugly. 


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

Finally . . .

I don’t have to deal with wild boars but I do have a rat – or rats – in my kitchen. It/they have leapt off my larder shelf twice in the last couple of days. My own little war. Being waged, partly, with a humane trap I’d forgotten about and found in my garage. And partly with some warfarin tablets, which – gratifyingly – were all scoffed last evening.

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’  

ælf, noun (alf / ˈælf): Elf. 

ælf-cynn, noun (alf-kuen): ‘Elf-kind’, the race of elves. 

ælf-scȳne, adjective (alf-shue-nuh): ‘Elf-shining’, radiant or beautiful like an elf. 

drȳ, noun (drueː): Magician, sorcerer, soothsayer. (Druid?)

grund, noun (grund): Bottom, lowest part of anything; ground, earth; abyss, hell. 

lygen, adjective (lue-yen ): Lying, false. 

mǣd, noun (mad): Meadow. 

mearc-stapa, noun (meh-ark-stah-pa): ‘Boundary/mark-stepper’, one who wanders the desolate borderland. 

mere-wīf, noun (meh-ruh-weef): ‘Mere-woman’, ‘water-woman’. 

mihtig, adjective (mi’h-tih): Mighty, powerful. 

munt-ælfen, noun (munt-al-ven): Mountain elf, mountain nymph. 

reord, noun (reh-ord): Speech, language, voice.  (Record?)

reord-berend, noun (reh-ord-beh-rend): ‘Speech-bearer’, human. 

sǣ-ælfen, noun (sae-al-ven): Sea elf, sea nymph. 

snot, noun (snot): Mucus from the nose, snot. 

snȳtan, verb (snue-tahn): To clear the nose. 

un-mann, noun (un-mahn): Bad person, inhuman person; hero, one who is more than an average person. 

wǣr, noun (waer): Covenant, agreement, pledge. (Word?) 

wed-lāc, noun (wed-lahk): Pledge; wedlock. 

wīf, noun (weef): Woman, female; married woman, wife. 

wilde, adjective (will-duh): Wild. 

word-wīs, adjective (word-wees): ‘Word-wise’, wise in speech. 

wudu-ælfen, noun (wuh-duh-al-ven): Wood elf, wood nymph.