12 May 2022: Covid queries; Obesity; Tyrannies, then and now; & A bull with a chance

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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’


This podcast is an early example of what will surely be one of the major themes over the next year or more – What lessons have we learned?

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Spanish News Today has warned that UK tourists must prove before entering Spain they each have €100 per day to spend. New EU rule, apparently. More on this here.

The ‘Isaac Peral’ is a Spanish submarine which you might recall hearing of 17 years ago. For this was when construction began on what would be the pride of the Spanish navy. Later, when it was shoved into water, it was found that it couldn’t float. And so began a long period of re-design and re-contruction and the excellent news is that it finally went to sea this week. And didn’t sink.

One hears so much about the wonderful Mediterranean diet that to comes as to shock to read that modern Spain has a serious obesity problem, especially among kids, I believe. I was reminded of this when reading yesterday that our local hospital had performed over a thousand bariatric surgeries, though I’m not clear over what period. The relevant article  noted that: In Spain more than half of the population is overweight and more than 18% have a grade one or higher level of obesity. Within the country, Galicia is one of the autonomous communities(regions) with the highest prevalence of obesity (16% in women and 12% in men), and in the child population the percentage of obese children has risen from 5% to 19% in the last 10 years. The coronavirus has contributed to raising the incidence, but it has by no means reached its peak. The forecast is that “more and more patients, younger and heavier, will come to us”. All very sad. And avoidable. Maybe the imminent global recession and food shortages will help.

En passant . . . Bariatric surgery is indicated for patients with grade 3 or morbid obesity, as well as those with type 2 obesity with associated pathologies, such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, liver inflammation.

Talking(?) of exercise . . . Yesterday the residents of my street were told not to move our cars between 10 and 11 this morning, as the school down the hill was going to have one of its ‘cross-country’ races. And so it did. Though ‘race’ would be the wrong word. The age range seemed to be from 11 to 15 and some of the many pupils – and most of the teachers – did actually jog a bit. If sporadically. Lots of kids, though, simply ambled along the tarmac or the pavement, with some of the latter kindly greeting me as they passed my gate. There was nil evidence of the several teachers urging the walkers to break sweat. Might have upset their feelings, I guess.

Russia/China/North Korea

Food for thought: George Orwell writing in 1939, 83 years ago:-

Bertrand Russell is inclined to point to the past; all tyrannies have collapsed sooner or later, and ‘there is no reason to suppose Hitler is more permanent than his predecessors’. Underlying this is the idea that common sense always wins in the end. And yet the peculiar horror of the present moment is that we cannot be sure that this is so. It is quite possible that we are descended into an age in which 2 and 2 will make 5 when the leader says so. Russell points out that the huge system of organised lying upon which the dictators depend keeps their followers out of contact with reality and therefore tends to put them at a disadvantage as against those who know the facts. This is true so far as it goes but it does not prove that the slave-society in which the dictators are aiming will be unstable. It is quite easy to imagine a state in which the ruling caste deceive their followers without perceiving themselves. Dare anyone be sure that something of that kind is not coming into existence already? One only has to think of the sinister possibilities of the radio, state-controlled education and so forth to realise that ‘the truth is great and will prevail’ is a prayer rather than an axiom.

Of course, Orwell couldn’t predict the opportunities presented to tyrants by the internet, social media, spyware, the hacking of computer-systems, etc. The leaders of these 3 countries, including Putin, could be around for some time yet.

Finally . . .

One to please members of the taurine community . .

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.