Life in Spain
This last week was one of dealing with service folk – plumbers, electricians and painters. It hasn’t gone swimmingly and I’ve been let down by a plumber. But I guess this isn’t unusual, in any country. I’ve also been disappointed by a blinds company which, not for the first time, failed to follow up with my request for a replacement blind. Their attitude seems to me that, if they call me and my phone is off, it’s down to me to take the next step, as they’re never going to call me again. A not uncommon attitude in Spain. Caveat emptor, you might say. But the good news is that the (good)plumber, the plasterer and the painter all cleared up after them. Which doesn’t happen in every country.
Last evening I went to the offices of the Asesoría which manages my Community’s affairs. To try to bring to an end the 7 month saga of the leak from my neighbour’s house into my basement. I knew I was pushing it, going there towards 7pm on a Friday but it I was, in fact, too late by 5 hours; they’re only open to the people who pay for their services from 10am to 2pm. ‘Midday’ in Spain, of course
Yes, I can confirm that I’m not plagued by learner drivers on either Saturday or Sunday. Which reminds me . . . There are 5 speed bumps on my route to my parking spot twice a day, meaning I cross them 20 times. A friend recently surprised me with the advice that these are best taken diagonally. He’d been concerned about being fined for doing this until he saw that the car in front of him doing this belonged to El Tráfico . . . .
Cosas de España/Galiza
There’s said to be outrage here and in the UK, after a curvy British model was included in Spain’s body-positive beach campaign though she hadn’t given her permission for this. Which I believe an offence in Spain. I wonder if the Equalities Ministress will be fined.
I’m sure it’s right that, in practice, visitors to Spain are highly unlikely to be asked to show anything more than a passport or visa but not evidence of sufficient cash. The rules are really there as a backup for immigration officers who have specific concerns about an individual. But I guess you’ll still have the paperwork to hand, por si acaso. Spain does love paper..
Excellent news: Spain has the capacity to become a gas hub for Europe, says Prime Minister Sanchez
More good news. Spain’s gas market prices are significantly cheaper than in the rest of Europe for the first time. Details here.
My recent visitor, Andy, is a bit of a whiz with a camera. With several, in fact. And he has an excellent eye. The superb results can be seen here. Top left for his Iberian sojourn. Most of those labelled Pontevedra were taken in the city but a few are outside it, in the province – Combarro, Poio and Santiago de Compostela. I can never really believe that altar. And the hugging of the statue that takes place behind it.
There are some lovely fotos of (O)porto in Andy’s album
The Way of the World
Transgenderism: The big news from the UK is that the Tavistock Clinic is closing down. Suzanne Moore has an article on this below. Like her, I concluded a while ago that: We will look back with horror at this mutilation of children done in the name of medicine. As I’ve said, 25 years ago my younger daughter felt she was really male. I go cold thinking about what would have happened if she’d been referred to the Tavistock. She almost certainly wouldn’t now have 3 rug-rats.
Someone once pointed out that psychiatry is the only branch of medicine where the practitioners can invent the conditions for which they then offer treatment. So, open to abuse. Or at least egregious errors. Lobotomies, for example.
One of the many accurate observations made by George Orwell is that: The English language is exceptionally poor in rhymes; A deficiency already obvious to the poet of the 1990s who wrote:-
From Austin back to Chaucer, My weary eyes I shove, But never came across a New word to rhyme with love
Spanish doesn’t have this problem, of course, with so many words ending in O or A. That said, the most common – apparently obligatory – word in songs is corazón(heart). But there are also quite a few words in Spanish that end – or can be made to end in – ón. So, no problem there.
Finally . . .
To amuse . . . Sorry, but this made me laugh:-
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.
Welcome to new subscriber mehprog. Surely not the site which provides info on petrol stations near US airports.
We will look back with horror at this mutilation of children done in the name of medicine. Groupthink and a particular ideology about gender identity led to vulnerable people being given life-changing medication at Tavistock Clinic: Suzanne Moore
I am very glad to hear that NHS England is to take on board all of the recommendations of the Cass Report and “decommission” the Tavistock Clinic, or GIDS as it is known (Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service).
This is not because I don’t care about young people with gender dysphoria. Quite the opposite, I care very much. For many years now, some staff at the Tavistock have been concerned about what has been going on there; from putting young people on puberty blockers (which almost inevitably leads to cross-sex hormones) at a very young age to the staggering change in the kinds of young people seeking treatment.
To ask questions about these practices (as I did at my former newspaper) was to be deemed “transphobic” and bigoted. Never mind that I was simply concerned about safeguarding and wondering whatever happened to the dictum Do No Harm.
All of this harm was being carried out in plain sight. The Keira Bell case alerted us to the fact that a confused young woman was prescribed puberty blockers after just three 50-minute sessions of “therapy”.
This rush to put someone on a medical pathway (puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, double mastectomy) at an age when they could not possibly understand the irreversibility of some parts of the treatment was mutilation done in the name of medicine. It resembled no psychoanalytic therapy that had made the reputation of the Tavistock in the first place.
Groupthink and the importation of a particular ideology about gender identity prevailed, much to the dismay of brave souls such as Sonia Appleby who spoke up about it.
The waiting list grew and grew
It was never the case that specialist services were not needed for children and teenagers; the waiting lists for GIDS grew and grew. Even this should have alerted us to something.
In 2011-12 there were under 250 referrals to GIDs, by 2021-22 there were over 5,000. What was particularly alarming was that a few years ago the referrals were nearly all boys, and yet now it is nearly all girls presenting with “gender incongruence” in their early teens.
Is this social contagion? Are there maybe very good reasons why teenage girls feel their lives might be easier without an adult female body? Why are so many of these girls also autistic and presenting with eating disorders and self-harm? In other words, are gender issues the only issue?
Decent shrinks, of whom there used to be many, would sensitively explore the complex causes of these young people’s distress. Tavistock though, in practising “the affirmative model”, was basically accepting that medical transition was the only answer, that altering – perhaps permanently – the body of an adolescent to fit his/her possibly temporary mindset was the answer.
Dr Hilary Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, was brought in to review the whole situation. From the beginning, she said further research was needed into both the short and long-term effects of puberty blockers.
An adult has entered the room
Two new clinics will be set up and hopefully then more regional centres. It is as if an adult has finally entered the room.
“Staff should maintain a broad clinical perspective to embed the care of children and young people with gender uncertainty within a broader child and adolescent health context.” She wants a stronger evidence base for the use of puberty blockers.
These are all things that many of us have argued for some time because the future has been modelled in front of us in other countries. We can hand the bodies of distressed young people over to a lifetime of hormones, possible infertility, no libido and multiple surgeries, as happens in the US, or we can support them with “watchful waiting” which is the approach in Sweden and Finland, where they are finding that many of these unhappy girls are simply gay. If adults want to transition, that is another issue.
For now there is a pause and we desperately need better mental health services for so many children who suffered particularly over lockdown.
Even as I write this, I cannot believe that this medical scandal, which I think one day we will look back on as we do lobotomies, was allowed to continue for so long. We have badly let down so many children, both those with gender issues and those without. They deserve so much better.