27 April 2022: Spain’s pop.; Spanish bureaucracy; An odd village; Johnson and Putin; A Pananka; & Other stuff

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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

Spain’s population last year suffered a drop of 21,900 citizens but this was more than exceeded by the influx of 72,410 foreigners, taking the national population up to 47,435,597. The Spanish birthrate is said to be just 1.19 rug-rats per [real]woman, the lowest since the 1990s. The country hasn’t had a replacement birthrate of 2.1 since 1980. More details here.

Spain loves its bureaucracy. And can sometimes feel a bit like a police state. I’m reminded of this by the news that providers of accommodation and cars have just had the number of things they must report about customers to the police increased from 9 to 31. The fines for failure to do this can reach €30,000. Which hasn’t gone down well, of course.

There’s a village up in out hills called Avión. It has its own airstrip for private planes and some splendid houses. Its wealth is said to come from Mexico, where – it’s claimed – the descendants of a family which emigrated a hundred years ago are involved in various nefarious activities. This possibly explains why it was reported yesterday that a businessman from Avión was the 3rd to be shot this year. And it’s only April . . . It must be a nice number for the notary in the village who’s dealing with complex inheritance issues. Quite possibly amidst one of the family feuds common here in Galicia. 

The UK

The cover of the latest issue of Private Eye:-


Also from Private eye:-

The Way of the World 

Google Docs is to launch a new tool designed to police its users’ language. If you type a sentence that the tool deems problematic, a sign will pop up that reads: “Warning. Some of these words may not be inclusive to all readers.” You will then be advised to use a politically correct alternative. Examples of offensive terminology include “landlord” (the new tool prefers “property owner”), “housewife” (“stay-at-home spouse”) and “mankind” (“humanity”). Perhaps some enterprising rival will seize this opportunity to lure sensible people away from Google by launching a tool that does the opposite. 


A Panenka: New to me. A technique used while taking a penalty kick when the taker, instead of kicking the ball to the left or right of the goalkeeper, gives a light touch underneath the ball, making it rise and fall in the centre of the goal, deceiving the goalkeeper who has committed to a dive away from the centre. It was invented by Czech player Antonín Panenka, who introduced it to the world in the UEFA Euro 1976 final. It has been used on rare occasions and mostly by highly respected players who can deal with the consequences of missing an attempt. Such as Benzema last night, in the Man. City v. Real Madrid match.

A Panenka has a lower scoring probability over placement or power, though it is alleged that, if successful, its psychological impact on the opposite team can be profound.

Finally . . . 

To amuse . . .   An a-political cartoon not from Private Eye:-

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.