18 May 2022: Name-changing; Monarchical molestia; Spanish table-talk; Mad rich women; & 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 

Traditions die very slowly in Spain. Or in Galicia, at least. The most common forenames in Pontevedra province in 2020 were:-



José Manuel



María del Carmen


María Dolores (Mary of the Pains)

María Pilar (Mary of the Pillar)

María Teresa

BUT . . . Birth names in 2020











This being a very conservative, right-wing part of the country – and the disgraced ex-king having sailing mates on our coast – it’s no surprise that he’s chosen our nearby resort of Sanxenxo/Sanjenjo for his first footfall after 2 years of self-imposed exile. And caused a ‘political storm’ in the process. Understandably, a meeting with his son is expected to be ‘frosty’. 

Incidentally, when I first came there I saw Sanxenxo referred to as The Marbella of Galicia. Which is bit of a joke. Perhaps an example of the sarcastic Galician humour called retranca . . 

I regard this headline in today’s DdP as being at least ambiguous, and possibly unfortunate:-

Couldn’t happen in English . .

The UK

I failed to provide this Effie Deans link early yesterday.  


Two points about yesterday’s article:-

1. It was from The Times, not the Telegraph. Faulty memory.

2. The way the French are said to talk over dinner bears no relationship whatsoever to the way Spaniards do. But perhaps my experience in a provincial city is narrow and unrepresentative of the nation as a whole.

There’s a crazy libel case going through a London court involving 2 ‘WAG’s, wives of obscenely rich football players. As someone wrote yesterday: The case isn’t about betrayal, as the lawyers have argued. It’s about a world of wealth, privilege and boredom, fuelled by jealousy and paranoia and seen through the poisonous filter of social media. Whoever the judge decides is the winner, in many ways, both sides have already lost. In the case of Vardy v Rooney, the only people laughing are the lawyers.

Quotes of the Day

See the highlit bits of the article below

Finally . . .

To amuse. I’ve said that it’s impossible to know which end of a pug is which . . .

I learned to nap in the afternoon in Iran as a young man, when we worked through from 7am to 3pm. And, for the 21 years I’ve been here, I’ve snatched at least 15 minutes or more every day. So I was pleased to hear of the beneficial effects of napping in this short podcast. 

Is it any wonder that I’m confused re readership of this blog? At 7.30 this morning WordPress told me there’d been just one reader so far today and that (s)he had enjoyed 9 ‘views’ – 4 in the USA, 3 in Spain and 2 in the UK. Other than someone playing silly buggers with a VPN, I don’t see how this is possible.

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.


Wagatha Christie? More like Chavatha Christie. For all their Gucci loafers and Chanel handbags, the footballers’ wives are premier league vulgarians: Allison Pearson, The Telegraph

“Trashier and trashier,” said Alice.

The libel case of Vardy v Rooney at the Royal Courts of Justice is supposedly a rich source of entertainment, which has “captured the public imagination”. Has it? Sorry, but it fills me with a kind of weary disgust. When I look at Coleen Rooney, wife of ex-England captain Wayne, and Rebekah, partner of Leicester City striker Jamie, I see two fishwives screaming abuse at each other. Although that’s probably unfair to fishwives, who would have more sense than to blow an estimated £3 million during a national cost of living crisis over whether Rebekah did or didn’t tittle tattle to the papers about Coleen.  

They call it Wagatha Christie because Mrs Rooney cunningly drip-fed fake gossip to Mrs Vardy and waited to see it appear in print before exposing the villain. Chavatha Christie, more like. For all their Gucci loafers and Chanel handbags, the footballers’ wives are premier league vulgarians. This dim, deluded pair signal their status through designer brands, but they can’t even manage to pull that off in style. On Monday, Rebekah Vardy wore a £2,200 lemon-meringue boucle suit in an attempt to appear demure and sophisticated. She looked like she’d been gifted tickets for Wimbledon Centre Court by an Albanian drug baron.  As for her penitential plaited up-do and Amish purity costume, hard-as-nails, “fewmin’” [‘fuming’] Rebekah is fooling no one.

While we’re on the subject of appearances, how can Wayne Rooney be thirty-six? England’s former wonderboy looks like he’s spent at least 50 years down the boozer guzzling his body weight in pork scratchings. And that’s after a hair transplant to make him look younger! The hair appeared a couple of shades darker yesterday, perhaps to bestow upon Wayne a gravitas he lacks while doing his level best to remember his supporting lines.

Coleen, he said, had become “a different mother, a different wife” because of the trauma of being sued by Vardy. Trauma? For her part, Coleen told the court that the texts Vardy and her agent exchanged when they were discussing her private Instagram posts were “just evil and uncalled for”. No, Coleen, love, the siege of Mariupol is evil and uncalled for.

You will find no perspective or self-knowledge in the world of Wag. The truth is we have long outgrown the retrograde phenomenon, first glimpsed at the 2006 World Cup, of decorative female accessories who can go on £50k shopping sprees because they have shacked up with a striker. In retrospect, Cheryl Cole looks like Golda Meir compared with Col and Bex.  

I hope Mrs Justice Steyn awards £0.1 damages and instructs both parties to pay a million pounds apiece to the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research. In the midst of this fatuous, narcissistic display, Dame Deborah James shines as an exemplar of a woman who did so much for the greater good to earn her headlines.  

Chavatha Christie: proof that the handbags and shoes you own can be greater than your number of brain cells.