20 July 2022: Galician fires; Cash for entry; Pv crime rates; Missing octopi; & 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’

It’s just gone 14.00 and I’ve realised that – because of several domestic distractions and a Pilates class – I’ve not even drafted a post, never mind published it. Am I losing it?

Cosas de España/Galiza

I hadn’t realised the fires here in Galicia were as bad as they are. Maria writes about them in her blog here. And today’s DdP advises they now cover more than 20,000 hectares up the mountains near León – in O Courel. I have no real idea how big a hectare is but I do know this is very bad news. Down on the coast, though, we’ve not yet seen anything as bad as the infernos which surrounded Pv city in 2006, and which led to a host of theories as to who or what was behind them. Including narcotraficantes bent on distracting the forces of order. In truth, we’ve seen no smoke at all since last summer’s fires.

I see that Brits coming on holiday in Spain might well be asked, along with other things, for proof they have enough cash to cover at least €100 a day each. Not sure how one does that, other than by opening a large bag full of readies. Or perhaps a gold bar.

In one of those tables much favoured by Spanish newspapers, I’ve learned that Pv city comes second only to Grenada as regards house burglaries. At least for cities of more than 75,000 inhabitants. Smaller places possibly have it even worse. Can’t say I’m worried myself but that’s mainly because I lost everything of (non sentimental) value 5 or 6 years ago. And my insurance company will cover the cost of breakages arising from forced entry. They presumably get a lot of practice at dealing with this. Right now, I’m rather more concerned with a malfunctioning water system which seems to have everyone foxed. But which has nothing to do with the water that was seeping through 2 of my internal walls. 


I’m told you can’t get octopus for love or money down in nearby North  Portugal. No idea why not but, not being a fan of it, I’m not particularly concerned about this. Given current prices, I’m just glad I’m not tempted to eat it here in Galicia, especially à la Gallega – with half a kilo of boiled potatoes. I very much prefer our grilled zamburiñas, or ‘variegated scallops’.

Zamburinas are very much up with the times, as they change sex several times during the course of their development, becoming male when fully mature.

The Way of the World

Here’s something on the ‘climate change charade’ from my favourite sceptic. 

And just to fill out this belated post, I’m including below an article from one of my favourite columnists, in which she confesses to being woke, inter alia.

Finally  . . .

When young, I used to view dates of 1900 onwards hand-written in books as quite quaint. Illogically, I don’t see my own dates from 2000 in a similar light. Possibly because they mark the countdown of the latter part of my lifespan. Not that of a reader long forgotten.

Another filler . . . An amusing dog cartoon:

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


Duh! Of course I am woke. And I’ve got a ‘metropolitan liberal elite’ hoodie to prove it: Caitlin Moran

A couple of years ago, I spent £40 on a customised sweatshirt that had “Metropolitian Liberal Elite” embroidered on it. Of course, in many ways, the actual wording was unnecessary – if you’re in the realm of having knowing, fancy, customised embroidery on your hoodie, of course you’re part of the metropolitan liberal elite.

But my main purpose in doing so was simply to save time and stress, because when I get “insulted” for being part of a “metropolitan liberal elite” on Twitter, all I want to do is shout, “Of course I’m metropolitan liberal elite! Thank you so much for noticing.”

“Metropolitan”? Yes, I live in a city, like 55% of the world’s population. “Liberal”? Can’t deny that either. I am a liberal. As the dictionary has it, I’m “willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas”.

And as for “elite”? Well, cheers! I graciously accept the compliment! I worked my knackers off on the journey from a council estate to The Times, so thank you for noticing.

And that’s the thing – how could any of this be an insult? You might as well start shouting about a “City-dwelling reasonable success person”. Except that would be an extra tenner to embroider on a hoodie.

Since I accepted the insult of “metropolitan liberal elite” as a compliment, I’m now on a bit of a roll in converting aspersions into aspirations. I’m very much a “When life gives you barbs, make barbecue!” kind of girl.

Take “woke”, for instance. And “virtue signalling”. Usually, these are things people never claim they are/do – they are accused of it instead. So, as an experiment, I would now like to be the first of the metropolitan liberal elite to claim, yes, I am woke and I am virtue signalling – just to see what happens. Because I’m not really sure why either of those things is bad.

Very few of the people who claim to be “anti-woke” or in “a war against woke” actually disagree with the big “woke” issues: Laurence Fox has sued people who call him racist, so he presumably thinks racism is bad; Richard Littlejohn believes trans people “deserve our sympathy and support”. I’ve never seen someone who is “anti-woke” proudly say, “Yes, I am a raging racist, homophobic, transphobic, woman-hating antisemite.” They know those words and concepts are wrong. So we must conclude those big arguments have, basically, been won. And by previous “woke” generations.

Instead, most “anti-woke” warriors tend to be slightly scared, ageing people who don’t like young people changing all the words all the time – because it makes them feel out of touch – and who are playing to a gallery of similarly confused and tetchy people for viewing figures and/or votes. This is why they hate “virtue signalling” – which I do! All the time! – because they think it’s aimed at them, and they don’t like being chided for being passé.

But the big thing is, if you hate virtue signalling, it’s almost certainly not aimed at you. When I “virtue signal”, I’m not using it to provoke someone I disagree with. I’m doing it to let my friends, struggling with online abuse, know that I see it too; by retweeting their petitions, blogs and comments, or offering support. You know – like humans do, when in conversation. “Virtue signalling” is basically “friend signalling”. It’s a way of saying, “You’re not alone.” And, besides, if virtue signalling = bad, then it’s opposite must = good, which would be “vice signalling”. And that’s a weird bag of garbage to nail your colours to. Or, as national treasure Kathy Burke put it succinctly on Twitter, “I love being woke. It’s much nicer than being an ignorant fucking twat.”

The problem with the fear of being labelled “liberal” or “woke”, or “virtue signalling”, is: what words do we use, then, to say we are interested in being essentially kind, supportive and helpful to other people? I spend a great deal of my time staring at the wide Serengeti of language, and note we have pitifully few words and phrases to describe people who are, to use the scientific term, “trying hard not to be arseholes”. “Nice” is too non-specific; “decent” might just mean “will go halves on a bar bill”; “social justice warrior”, “liberal”, “progressive”, “woke” and “PC” – all initially coined as positive by women/African-Americans/campaigners – have been appropriated and turned into insults instead.

Is it a deliberate tactic, so that people cannot describe what they believe? That there is, right now, no brisk, acceptable way to say, “I am trying to be good”?

Well, only if you stop using these words and let others claim them. Only if you don’t have them embroidered across your chest.