27 July 2022: A Spanish practice; A luxury train trip; New caminos; A Scottish pipe-dream; & 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’

Life in Spain 

Yesterday, a lady friend very kindly said she would come and make me dinner this week. In the UK, this would pass as a plan but here in Spain, where planning is eschewed in favour of spontaneity, such statements are merely expressions of aspiration/intention and one would be foolish to construct one’s week around them. Which I have done far too often over the years here. If it happens, it happens. And my guess is that there’s a 20% chance it will. In truth I nearly totally discount the validity of the ‘promise’ and I adopt much the same approach with plumbers, electricians, and painters, etc. In the knowledge that I’ll be either in the house or 15-20 minutes away should I get a call telling me they’re on their way. TBH, it helps to have lived in the Middle East and the Far East.

Cosas de España/Galiza

This Times article – in the overwrought style of modern (and sponsored) travel writers – describes the The Costa Verde Express, which will take you in luxury from Santiago de Compostela to Bilbao. If  you know nothing about the northern third of Spain, it’s worth reading just to have some preconceptions of Spain expunged from your brain. The writer does point out, though, that ‘Express’ is a ludicrous ‘fib’, as it crawls along slower than the average sloth, taking 5 days to get from the Galician capital to the Basque capital. Need I say that there’s the obligatory reference to Galicia as Spain’s Celtic heartland – a harmless (and profitable) invention of the last 200 years or so.

This morning I learned of 2 more new but ‘totally authentic’ caminos additional to the 43 I already knew about. Both of these – the Camino Taverneiro and the Camino da Geira-Arrieiros – come up from Braga but wend their way – for the most part – via different villages and towns in Galicia. Café para todos again.

The UK

The Scots certainly do have legitimate grievances, some of which can be laid at the door of the British government and some at door of the Scottish government. The latter is hell bent on achieving independence from the UK, followed by membership of the EU. Effie Deans points out here that the case being put forward by the SNP/Scottish government depends on a misunderstanding of international law. So, almost certainly a pipe-dream. Which won’t stop them trying.

The question arises of whether Corsica is a French colony, allowing legal self-determination. Probably not, as France regards it as part of the mainland, not as an island near Italy.

The EU

The euro: See here for more pessimism re the euro and, therefore, the EU: The ECB’s long journey into currency collapse just got a lot shorter. . . . The bottom line: There are decisive moments in monetary history. The aftermath of July 21 is likely to be one of them as regards the European monetary future. The EU’s problems have become a lot worse. 

Of course, it’s very unlikely that the UK’s Remainers will accept this, as they tend to avoid talking about The EU’s problems so they can concentrate on the UK’s. Which certainly do exist.

Energy rationing: A powerful bloc of EU member states has watered down a plan to ration gas in order to shield Germany and other dependent economies as Russia cuts off supplies.The new legislation obliges states to take voluntary steps to reduce gas consumption and if those fails to yield savings, provides a trigger for mandatory measures across the 27-member bloc.

The Way of the World 

Bacteria with a taste for plastic could be the key to fighting pollution. But don’t get too excited. I first heard this more than 30 years ago, when working in the UK biotech industry.

Quote of the Day

The Tories must beware of Boris, the incredible sulk


Yesterday’s (Orwellian) word should have been ‘sempstress’, not ‘semptress’. As I’m sure most readers realised . . .

Finally  . . .

Too amuse . . . Only the best . . .

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.