7 August 2022: The Covid bill; Overpaid bankers; Ascot in Galiza; Continental culture again; Ukrainian & Russian echoes; & 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’


 A UK columnist. I warned clearly in March 2020 that the out-of-proportion reaction to Covid would lead to this crisis. . . . The main reason for the Western world’s plunge into recession is the ridiculous over-reaction to the coronavirus.  He has a point..

Cosas of Spain/Galiza

A sobering fact, ahead of massively increased . . . well, everything: There are 128 bankers in Spain taking home more than a million euros a year. As I’ve said before, it’s always a surprise when I enter a Spanish bank not to be charged to breathe in it. Not that I do go into any these days.

The opposition PP party has accused the PV city administration of creating road havoc by closing a main entry route and constantly changing the one-way direction in other  streets. I don’t much drive in the city but agree with the allegation that the approach seems haphazard. Possibly, as I’ve said, the fault of a teenage town-‘planner’ who doesn’t drive.

There are many bizarre fiestas in Spain but a local one really did catch my eye the other day – a spoof of Ascot Day in nearby Padrón . . .

Padrón, of course, is the palace where the body of St James ended up after its journey from the Middle East. Which reminds me . . . I (re?)learned this week that his corpse was headless, as he’d been decapitated by the Romans before his body was put in a crewless (stone!) boat and shoved towards Iberia and Galiza. So . . .  How was he recognised when he arrived? DNA analysis??

Here’s the link to the Battle of Rande/Vigo Bay that was omitted yesterday.

The UK  

Following on from John Carlin’s article on Spanish and British culture off yesterday, here’s a letter from someone to Prospect magazine: The sense that Continental nations live with more gusto has been with me since I first spent serious time in Europe in the 1980s. They seem to widely live more active and engaged lives there, with expectations (including of themselves) to match. The vastly superior coffee and cakes are expressions of an attitude; it is no accident that have no vocabulary for hygge or la dolce vita. A nation’s culture is not only found in its major institutions but also in the quality and habits of everyday life, from pleasant public spaces and beautiful window displays, to care over personal presentation and interactions and the ways in which people choose to spend their time. I’ve spent decades pondering reasons for the difference. It can’t be a religious hangover, since it’s found from Sweden to Italy. So I’m left with the conclusion that our hierarchical society is to blame. Many of this nation’s ‘good things ‘remain largely the preserve of the socio-economic elite. Despite the pretensions of the metropolitan classes, a lingering suspicion of perceived social ostentation, deters many from living ‘up’. He has a point . . .

Ukraine: Russia

Have you noticed that the the media doesn’t mention Ukraine any more, except to say no one mentions it any more?

Echoes . . .

1. Orwell writes in 1943: I don’t need to tell you what are the big events of the week. Everyone will have heard of the captured by the Red Army of Rostov and Kharkov. This is a very great victory, probably the most important single event in the whole course of the Russo-German war. The capture of Kharkov is even more important than the re-capture of Rostov.  Kharkov is not only a great industrial city but a great railway junction art which all the communications of the Ukraine cross.

2. And in 1945 he writes: At present we are all but openly applying the double standard of morality. With one side of our mouths, we cry out that mass deportations, concentration camps, forced labour and suppression of freedom of speech are appalling crimes, while – with the other – we proclaim that these things are perfectly alright if done by the USSR or its satellite states: and where necessary we make this plausible by doctoring the news and cutting out unpalatable facts. One cannot possibly build up a healthy Socialist movement, if one is obliged to condone no matter what crime when the USSR commits it.


Alex Jones, the InfoWars host, made millions online by peddling the lie that the Sandy Hook school massacre didn’t happen. Does his courtroom humiliation spell the end for the post-truth trolls. He now faces a $49m comeuppance, with plenty more trials to follow. But, as someone has written: The secret to conspiracies’ resilience is that they are unfalsifiable: there can always be an alternative explanation to even the most thorough debunking. Jones will be sure to offer plenty to his fanbase.

The Way of the World 

The question of the moment: What is a woman? Kathryn Fox gives this answer:- To suggest that the meaning of the term a ‘woman’ is flexible, a matter of changing societal opinion or a question of linguistics, is wrong. There are reasons why there are so many derogatory words for women and why in so many languages ‘woman’ is the same word as ‘wife’ (femme in French, frau in German [and mujer in Spanish]) but that is about men’s attitudes to women, not about what women actually are. To me, and to science, a woman is an adult female human whose biology at birth is indisputable. That some humans have chromosomes that don’t fit the male or female definition, or whose core belief is that they were born into the wrong body, is something I have a great deal of compassion for; I fully support their right to undergo medical procedures should they wish to. Maybe linguistics will eventually give us a new word for trans women and trans men that would be acceptable to all, but  ‘woman’ and ‘man’ they cannot be. It’s attitudes to people who are different that need to change, rather than people being defined only as women or men. She has a point.

Quote of the Day

Lies infamously traverse the world before the truth gets going

Finally  . . ,

I stumbled across to reference to me in a Wiki article on Galicia. Unfortunately it cited my (dead) Galicia page of 20 years go. And was in Scots Gaelic. Apart from that, nice to see.

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.


  1. On John Carlin: I know of a German chap somewhere up in Lincolnshire – not a rich chap at all – who hired and brought all the way from Poland an entire team of workers to re-do his house. He rented accomodation, paid for travel, the lot. Anything but hire brits, he said. I generally agree with Carlin, but I hope when he writes about the lack of meritocracy in Spain he does not mean “total absence of..” because that would be totally untrue. And also let’s not pretend that Britain is a meritocracy either. It is unsurprising for a waiter coming from a country with a harsher working environment and were being a waiter is a craft, and to a country where the locals are generally lazier than you are, to thrive. But as the letter in this blog implies, the media, the arts, the top echelons of the City and high ranking civil service, i.e. the positions coveted by the elite in the UK are off bounds to mere mortals, more so than in any country in Europe. Try getting into that realm without the required public school background……


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