15 July 2022: Disappearing Covid deals; The Spanish; Gaelic football in Pv; The heat; Repulsive statues; Orwellian bons mots; & Other stuff

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Awake! For, Morning, in the Bowl of Night, has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And, Lo, has caught the Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Not a huge surprise . . . All the investigations into fraudulent deals struck by the national, regional and municipal governments at the start of the Covid panic have been ‘archived’ by the judiciary.

I came across a ‘missing’ page from my 2003 web page on Galicia last night – THE SPANISH: HOW THEY SEE THEMSELVES AND HOW OTHERS SEE THEM IN RETURN. You can see it below, along with some[allegedly] Spanish proverbs.

Galicia sees itself as the 7th Gaelic Nation, though it has to be said that the other 6 don’t, as yet. Despite this, there are fraternal relations and this (hot) weekend we have an international Gaelic football tournament in Pv city. It’s organised by a local artisan beer company – NASA- and I briefly attended the reception for teams in the bar in their factory last night. I’d expected to see some strapping male and female participants, so was taken aback to be confronted by a pack of young women who all appeared to be around 14 or 15. I later discovered that this has caused consternation in said (public) bar, as they all requested Nestea, Aquarius or, god forbid, mineral water.

Under blue skies and with the temperature in the high 20s, it suddenly started to rain a bit in Pv city last evening. Followed by more rain and even hail around 10pm. When I got home at 11, the outside temperature was 26 but inside it was 29. Cue opening of doors and windows, which brought it down to a comfortable(?) 27.5. Right now, it’s close to freezing point at only 21. But it will surely rise. En passant, it was more than 30 in Vigo a couple of nights ago. Possibly more in Ourense.

Even as an ex-Catholic, I am repulsed by the sight of a statue covered in cash:-

And by the news that the statue of the Virgen Peregrina in Pv city has 16 different outfits:-

I cited the wrong site re guided tours of Pv city yesterday; it should have been this one. I note that – though both sites are in English – neither of them offers a tour in this language . . . 

On point . . . A group of 20 at the city end of O Burgo bridge yesterday:-

The Way of the World 

Working my way through a collection of Orwell’s writings, I’ve regularly come across references to Ukrainian cities currently in the news, as 1943 battlegrounds between the Nazis and the Russians. For example, a piece entitled Victory at Kharkov(Kharkiv now). A tad eerie.

And against the backcloth of the current Tory party leadership elections in the UK, it was (almost) amusing to read Orwell’s 1943 comment that: Intellectually, this must be the one of the worst parliaments we’ve ever had.  


The Spanish use Vale(Balé) to mean OK/Yes. Oddly enough, the Persians(Iranians) also use the word balé(بله) to mean OK/Yes. In the latter case, I recall being told this came from French but this looks like a false memory, as bale(h(بله) comes from the Arabic bali(بلی). In case you ever wondered . . .


New to me . .

‘Brushing’: A deceitful technique sometimes used in e-commerce to boost a seller’s ratings by creating fake orders.

‘Cadence’: In the business world its meaning has nothing to do with audible rhythms, but with the rhythms of business. So, ‘a payment cadence’. As in: You can choose a payment cadence which suits you. Dear dog.

‘Blimpocracy’: Orwell’s term for the conservative plutocracy. I think.

Finally  . . . 

Amusing dog and cat cartoons:-

For new readers: 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


Spain is the place where, in my experience, the art of savoir vivre has attained the highest peak of refinement. Or, as the Spaniards themselves never tire of saying: “En España, se vive muy bien” – In Spain, one lives very well. ….. There is a pleasure principle at the heart of the Spanish ethos that the imperatives of the market economy have tried, but failed, to undermine.     John Carlin – Spain: The Place to Live

The famous individualism of the people does not apply to economics. The Spanish are essentially anti-capitalist and uncompetitive; they have neither the bad nor the good qualities, neither the attachment to money for its own sake nor the suppleness and perseverance required for success in the modern capitalist world. Gerald Brenan – The Spanish Labyrinth [1941]

Many people would rather die than think. In fact they do. Bertrand Russell, talking [I believe] about Spanish drivers

Every Spaniard’s ideal is to carry a statutory letter with a single provision, brief but imperious: “This Spaniard is entitled to do whatever he feels like doing”     Angel Ganivet

To this day, Spaniards are characterised by a love of local liberties and personal independence…….  In no country in Europe is there so much spontaneity of speech or action, so much dislike of restraint and regimentation     Gerald Brenan – The Spanish Labyrinth [1941] 

Spain, little understood and often privately disliked by patronising Northern peoples ….is frequently held to be a more violent nation that it is.  Isolated by good fortune and by geography from the ‘world game’ of great power rivalry since 1815, it has more lessons to offer peoples than it has to learn: above all, it has grasped more successfully than other nations the art of combining progress with the persistence of tradition.     Hugh Thomas – The Spanish Civil War [1961]

I defy anyone .. not to be struck by [the Spaniards’] essential decency; above all by their straightforwardness and generosity. …. And beyond this there is generosity in a deeper sense, a real largeness of spirit.     George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia [1937]

Every foreigner .. spent his first few weeks in learning to love the Spaniards and in being exasperated by certain of their characteristics. ….. All foreigners alike are appalled by their inefficiency, above all by their maddening unpunctuality. …. In Spain, nothing, from a meal to a battle, ever happens at the appointed time.     George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia [1937]

If you obey all the rules, you miss all fun    Katherine Hepburn – Possibly talking about the Spanish 

Some (allegedly) Spanish proverbs

A buxom widow must be either married, buried or shut up in a convent

Never advise anyone to go to war or to marry

A woman’s advice is a poor thing but he is a fool who does not take it

By the street of By and By one arrives at the house of Never

Forgive any sooner than thyself

God comes to see us without a bell

Honour without profit is a ring on the finger    [Marriage??]

If fools didn’t go to markets, bad goods wouldn’t be sold

Let that which is lost be for God

Many go out for wool and come home shorn

Many things grow in the garden that were never sewn there

There is no friend like the penny [centimo, now, I guess]

One and none is all the same [i. e. negligible]

Beware of an ox in front, an ass behind and a monk from all sides

Tell a lie and find the truth

The devil lurks behind the cross

The diligent spinner has a large shift[= Industry gives comfort, it says here]

The foot on the cradle and the hand on the distaff is the sign of a good housewife [‘distaff’ = a cloven staff around which the wool or flax was wound]

There are no birds in last year’s nest

Those who live longest will see most

Though the sun shines, don’t leave your cloak at home[Written by a Galician, I imagine]

Too much breaks the bag.