22 March 2022: North African tangles; Spain’s cultural heritage – tangible and (very) intangible; Driving in Galicia; Russian crimes; & 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 

Here’s Lenox Napier on Spain’s North African involvement/dilemma. Down in Murcia, he’s much closer to the convoluted place than I am. And maybe doesn’t have as many trees locally as I have for when the Algerian gas is turned off . . .

A nice review of Las Fallas and other UNESCO Spanish fiestas

A propos . . . Down in Andalucía, the village of Algar is seeking UNESCO status for what it regards as the culturally important custom of gossiping in the street of an evening. Here’s the Guardian on this last year. And here’s ThinkSpain on it a couple of days ago, where you’ll also find info on 9 ancient customs which make up Spain’s UNESCO intangible heritage. Can’t see the Algar application coming off myself but who knows. There are probably stranger things on the global list.

A headline in the Voz de Galicia yesterday: Échale la culpa al boggie. Though the article got it right with el boogie. In case you’ve forgotten.

Another VdG headline: In Galicia, 65% of traffic fines are for excess speed. Given our bendy roads and the frequent changes in permitted speed – not to mention the obvious traps – this is not terribly surprising.

This is what can happen when a wild boar runs across an autopista at night:-

The UK 

A nice comment from satirist Michael Deacon: Senior Tory politicians have withdrawn their calls for Boris Johnson to resign, because of the war in Ukraine. Given the current circumstances, they say, a change of leadership would be rash and irresponsible. Quite right, too. It would be simply unthinkable to oust a prime minister at a time of international conflict. Just ask the man who led us to victory in the Second World War, Neville Chamberlain.


As Mariopol is razed to the ground, an MP for Putin’s United Russia party – the (in)famous <a href=”http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Butina</p&gt; Maria Butina – insists: Russians do not kill civilians. Russians are not bombing civilians. Russians are not killing civilians. A future president?

Below is a Times leader on the siege of Mariopol.


Doing what it can for Ukraine, though possibly not as regards dirty money envaulted there . . . A petition has been launched which calls for the deportation  of Putin’s lover, Alina Kabaeva.

The Way of the World 

There are currently 5,500 children on the UK’s NHS waiting list for gender-swap treatment. In comparison, earlier totals were:-

2010/11; 138 

2020/21: 2,383  

Finally . . .

Having seen a reference to Rohan shirts, I took a look on the Amazon.es site, to find only one item there  – a Prana Camisa de Rohan, at a price of €270. On Amazon UK, this was a mere GBP129, or €154. (Though this could well rise to €300 once Customs and Correos have done their – post Brexit – stuff before delivery). On both Amazon sites, there was the same single 5-star review from someone in the USA. The shirt costs USD141 there, or €129. And yes, the same single review is there too. Possibly genuine. Or maybe from Mr Prana. It looks to me like Spanish buyers are being royally ripped off. Assuming there are any. 

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.


Russia’s bombardment of Mariupol: War Crime. The barbaric destruction of the Ukrainian city must never be forgotten in any peace deal

Those who can cower in underground shelters, without heat, light, food or water. But when a direct hit turns the building into rubble, as a recent Russian attack did, the 400 civilians taking shelter in an art school are buried alive. Others in the besieged town of Mariupol try to lead normal lives, checking on neighbours or walking the dog amid blackened ruins where bodies are laid out on the balconies to await burial. More than 350,000 civilians are trapped in the city. Russia is demanding the immediate surrender of Mariupol. For those who refuse to give up, Moscow threatens military tribunals in the Donbas where civilians would face the death penalty as “Nazis” or “bandits”.

The evidence of war crimes is appalling and overwhelming. A harrowing report by Mysuslav Chernov, one of the last reporters in the city, describes the daily slaughter he witnessed before he was able to escape. Now there is no one to tell the world of the atrocities that Russia is desperate to discredit. His testimony will prove vital if the West is able, as the European Union is now demanding, to arraign President Putin for the systematic destruction of Mariupol, something the EU has described as a “massive war crime.”

Already the city is being compared to Guernica, Coventry, Leningrad or Dresden, cities where the aim was not only to destroy the infrastructure and all resistance but to terrorise whole populations though the indiscriminate targeting of civilians. Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said there was “no question” of Mariupol’s surrender. The besieging Russians, frustrated at still being unable to capture this strategic target, are likely now to resort to mass terror bombing, targeting not only hospitals, theatres and civic buildings but housing estates and the entire city centre in the way they obliterated all opposition in Grozy and Aleppo.


  1. Amazon – Price differences have frustrated me for years. There is a sort of solution with a Chrome extension called Kiwi Amazon price compare. While I no longer buy from the UK, I have found some Amazon goods much cheaper in Germany, and customs issues are not relevant.

    And then of course there is Ali Express, if you don’t mind waiting a month or two.

    Haha. Loved the Michael Deacon comments. So true.

    Hating the Mariupol massacre, and found the article very interesting.
    I feel slightly ashamed to be a part of the so called west, while the Russians drop bombs, we drop their vodka.


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