18 April 2022: A bad Apple; Infernal masks; The Moors in Spain; Hitler; Jews in Madrid; & 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’

11.30: I’m sitting in the Apple store in Sol, in central Madrid, where I came to moan about the wrong advice my laptop gives me re storage space. And has done since I bought it 2 years ago. And now I’m going to moan about the time I’ve had to wait. Or maybe not. As I’m using it to write today’s post and will leave when I’ve finished, since the truth is this problem doesn’t cause me any real difficulties, just irritation when I’m told I have to delete folders and files to release space.

12.15: Walking up Calle Montera, it looked like the sex-workers who make this street (in)famous, had been removed by the police stationed in that street. Until I got close to Gran Vía. Montero, by the way, used to be famous, I believe, for something else – expensive shops. But not now

So . . .


No one will be  happier than me when masks are no more. I’m still being told at least once a day to put one on, or raise it when I’m inside some place.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

If you’ve lived in the Middle East and come to live in Spain, it won’t take you long to observe the cultural similarities. Though it might not be wise to bang on about them to Spanish friends. Anyway, researching how much has been written on this topic I immediately found this, this, and these.

Which I will now thoroughly read, to see if there’s anything I can add. Meanwhile, I have to admit that I didn’t know that ‘Don Quijote’ was written – assuming the claim is true – from a Moorish perspective. And I’ve never heard the Great Mosque in Córdoba called ‘the Catholic-Islamic Church’. See below for a 3rd point arising.  

Talking of headwear . . . I saw an unusual sight in Malasaña just now – a chap in a yamaca. Can’t ever recall seeing this before, in 15 years. Though – as in Liverpool, Manchester and London – there might well be a barrio in Madrid where they’re common. But I rather doubt it.

Mark Stücklin of Spanish Property thinks that Spain is on the up. Which, on balance, must surely be right. But as Mark himself has frequently stressed, if you’re going to buy property here, you need to be very careful. And clear on the pitfalls. Mark’s page is a great source of advice in this regard. As is this site:-

Another moan . . . At least one major store in Madrid is in the vanguard of the rush towards a cashless society. You can’t pay cash for an item in Decathlon, however small it it is. The machine orders you to summon assistance. Or probably does that automatically as soon as you press efectivo.


Something you might not have known about Hitler . . .  He enjoyed a pint or two at a Liverpool city-centre pub while attempting (unsuccessfully as it turned out) to avoid army conscription just before the First World War. Visiting his half-brother, who lived and worked in the city.

The Way of the World

The Big Jubilee Read was compiled with the aim of celebrating 70 great reads from across the Commonwealth, as well as generating debate. A long list of 153 championed by the public was whittled down by a panel of librarians, academics, booksellers and other literary figures. J K Rowling, the most successful British author of her generation, was rejected, amid claims the panel wanted to prioritise someone whose work was less well-known. BBC Arts, which co-founded the initiative with the charity The Reading Agency, insisted that the decision had nothing to do with the transgender row. I guess that’s possible. 


Years ago, I came across the phrase un dolor sordo, meaning a dull pain. But lots of research this week suggests it’s not in common usage. The preferences seems to be una molestia.

Finally . . . 

I mentioned that Orwell favoured the colour umber. Since Alhambra means ‘The red place’, I now realise umber comes from Arabic.

To amuse . . . My 3 year old grandson . . .

P. S. An Apple ‘Genius’ finally appeared, to tell me he couldn’t ensure correct info re storage without wiping the entire hard disk. Since I hadn’t brought my back-up disk, this was  a non-starter. But he did tell me how I could next time get an appointment with a technician rather than (as today) with a salesperson – by lying about my problem. I should not say I had a problem with ‘Storage’, as only the computer would talk to me then; I should say I had a problem with, say, the camera, and then the computer would offer me a cita slot. Dear dog!

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.


  1. It is a shame the Moors didnt bring Atencion al Cliente to these lands, your Apple is my Yamaha – 12 days my beloved two wheeler has sat in Yamaha Coruña awaiting a repair quote. Just the quote. Today a response was received and after politely declining the extortionate repair cost, I was told that I will have be charged for having received a quote, to be paid when I remove the bike from their workshop. Apparently this is normal, yet in 20 years in Spain this is the first time this has happened to me. And there I was considering financing a new model at Yamaha Coruña, but I will probably go to the nice chappies down the road at Kawasaki.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Be careful . . .
      Al suelo por un cambio de marchas al revés
      Un motorista circulaba por la carretera entre Pontevedra y Vilagarcía cuando, de repente, se le bloquea la rueda trasera. Fracturas costales múltiples y casi un año de curación. La causa de la caída: una reparación incorrecta de la motocicleta. El condenado, con micho de pintor de profesión pero poco de mecánico, desmontó la moto, pero al armarla de nuevo, colocó la bieleta al revés. Al engranar, la pieza bloqueó la cadena de transmisión y todo se vino abajo.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My old but sturdy beast is finally home, with a full check up planned.
        Poor fellow, a very nasty surprise, and a year to recuperate. I know how he feels, I needed a similar amount of time after finding myself in the backseat of the car that cut across me in 2016. My motorbike a complete write off.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My daughter and her Spanish partner say this has never happened to them. Nor me. Query: Did they give you a document with this as a term/condition? If not, maybe demand your bike back and threaten them with the Consumo.

    I did once reject a presupuesto for a boiler replacement and then, some time later, asked to give me a repair estimate for the boiler I did buy. They refused because of my earlier decision. My view is that Customer Service hasn’t really improved in 20 years but the companies have got better at playing at it by sending you emails seeking your opinion on their service while never answering any email you send to them.

    Read that book on the subject!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funnily enough I was checking up on my consumer rights.
      I have not signed anything. I was not informed of this expense verbally either, although they insist they have a sign up, which I never saw. Then again who walks in to a workshop looking for such signs?
      I will likely have to pay just to get back what I already own.
      And then I will be off to consumo, but they don’t need to know that.
      Not good for the Yamaha brand name though. By charging me for a quote, they have lost business of a much higher value.

      But yes, customer service is getting worse and such practices while legal, for the most part are only used by professionals who have to undertake a large amount of work to prepare a quote, such as an architect for example.

      Like your brethren I have never come across such a thing before.

      En fin!

      Liked by 1 person

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