17 August 2022: Autism; Immune E-cyclists; Columbus; Energy saving tips; Flashman v Boris; & Other stuff.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Dawn%2BBox%2BDay%2B2015.JPG
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 Spain/Galiza 

Back in 2014. Spain’s Royal Academy agreed to change the definition of autism from: An infantile syndrome characterised by a congenital inability to establish verbal and affective contact to A developmental disorder affecting communication and social interaction. The Autism Confederation is now campaigning for the RAE to eliminate ‘the use of autistic as an insult’. Families want politicians, journalists and writers to stop using the word ‘autistic as an insult. The controversy followed a comment of the president of the Galician Xunta, Alberto Feijóo, who labelled the attitudes of the Government in front of the strike of transporters as ‘autistic’. For which he did later apologise. The Confederation argues that RAE Dictionary should remove its 3rd meaning from the definition of ‘autistic’: Said of a person: Enclosed in their world, consciously distanced from reality. This, it’s said, doesn’t conform to reality and confers political correctness to its pejorative use. Autism, says the Confederation ‘is effort; it is tenacity; it is sensitivity; it is perseverance; it is overcoming; it is thoroughness; it is achievements. Hear, hear to all that.

Rather more trivially . . . I’ve moaned about e-cyclists ignoring the law, to ride – or even race at 20kph or more – through pedestrianised areas in Pv city. I saw one coming towards me and my grandson last night, at the same time as a police car approached from my right. The cyclist promptly dismounted, and was ignored by the police. I wonder what the stats on fines are for these offenders. Very possibly a much lower percentage that for offending car divers.

Talking of said (3 year old) grandson . .  I took him to this yesterday, next door to the house where Christopher Columbus was born:-

He was less convinced that I was by the claim that Columbus was born in my barrio of Poio, but then he doesn’t speak Gallego, so couldn’t follow the video.

The official Northern ‘Green’ Spain:-

It seems there were a lot of Celtiberico tribes in Spain at one time. I suspect each of them believed their grandmothers made the best tortilla in the world:-

Tips on saving energy: Las principales compañías energéticas y las organizaciones de consumidores sugieren hasta 15 medidas sencillas para fomentar el ahorro del consumo energético en el hogar. See the 1st article below.


Green ideology has brought Germany to its knees; the eco-war on nuclear power is at the heart of Germany’s catastrophic energy crisis, says the author of this article. 


Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse . .  The Alaska primary: Sarah Palin is seeking a comeback, backed by Trump.

The Way of the World 

If I were to ask you who is the world’s best ever archeologist, I doubt you’d come up with my candidate – Helena, the mother of emperor Constantine. For, this intrepid, dauntless woman journeyed to the Holy Land from Constantinople around 330AD and came up with:-

– Adam’s grave

– The rock where Abraham nearly killed his son

– The Garden of Gethsemane, the place of Jesus’s agony

– The place of Jesus’s crucifixion

– The True Cross and its nails

– The site of Jesus’s tomb

– The cave in which Jesus resurrected himself.

Apparently these amazing achievements owed less to digging than to just talking around among the very helpful locals. Who were possibly well rewarded.

Sadly, around that time the Christians turned into a rubbish dump the alternative rock where Jews believed Abraham’s infanticide had been stopped by an angel and where Solomon had later built the first Jewish Temple. Which can’t have gone down well.

Social Media/Quote of the Day 

The world of social media has promised that everyone can have a voice – yet freedom of expression has shrunk as it has expanded. And everyone knows who gets to express their views more freely than others. Men who write about gender are just not subject to the same level of poison.


I recently re-read the first Flashman book, so found it very easy to agree with the writer of the 2nd article below.

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 Wendy.


  1. Consejos para economizar desde casa

Las principales compañías energéticas y las organizaciones de consumidores sugieren hasta 15 medidas sencillas para fomentar el ahorro del consumo energético en el hogar.

1. Siempre que sea posible, apuesta por un cambio modal de transporte a medios no motorizados, como bicicleta, patinete o caminar.

2. Si conduces, elige un vehículo eléctrico. Para optimizar el uso de la energía, conduce de manera eficiente evitando cambios bruscos de velocidad, usando marchas largas y acelerando de forma progresiva, sin pisar el pedal a fondo.

3. Rehabilita aquellos elementos de tu vivienda que la puedan hacer más sostenible, como ventanas, fachadas, tejados, aislamiento térmico, etc. Esta actuación puede hacerte ahorrar hasta un 60% en tu consumo de calefacción.

4. Reduce el consumo de energía en iluminación, usando bombillas de bajo consumo y sistemas inteligentes de control de iluminación (smart lighting). Solo esta actuación te permitirá ahorrar entre un 70 y 90% en el consumo de iluminación.

5. Instala sistemas de control de calefacción, como termostatos, para ajustar el consumo de calefacción a las necesidades térmicas.

6. Cambia tu equipo térmico a otro más eficiente, como la bomba de calor o la caldera de gas natural de condensación.

7. Utiliza electrodomésticos eficientes, de bajo consumo y poca contaminación (A+++). A pesar de que los aparatos más eficientes son algo más caros en el momento de la compra, se amortizan antes de la finalización de su vida útil gracias al ahorro energético que consiguen. Cuando los uses, además, procura que estén a carga completa.

8. Apaga completamente la televisión, el ordenador y otros electrodomésticos al terminar su uso, evita dejarlos en standby.

9. De igual forma, desconecta cargadores de móviles y otros aparatos electrónicos cuando no se estén usando.

10. En aquellos edificios con una superficie horizontal lo suficientemente grande puede resultar interesante estudiar la implantación de sistemas de autoconsumo que permitan reducir la dependencia de fuentes de energía externas. Actualmente, las baterías de almacenamiento domésticas presentes en las smart homes han supuesto un gran avance en este aspecto, ya que permiten disponer del excedente de energía solar autogenerada durante el día.

11. Usa la lavadora llena: ahorrarás agua y electricidad.

12. Descongela tu refrigerador: la escarcha crea un aislamiento que puede acarrear un 20% extra de consumo eléctrico.

13. Evita usar la plancha y las cafeteras en exceso.

14. Compra alimentos de temporada y a ser posible de producción local. Son más baratos desde el punto de vista del transporte y refrigeración (no requieren de consumo de combustibles y electricidad).

15. Mantén las puertas de los refrigeradores cerradas y asegúrate de que sellan herméticamente.

2. At least Flashman admitted to being a cad. Self-awareness about the duplicity behind his triumphs is what separates the fictional scoundrel from the one in No 10

A splendid dinner was recently held at the Reform Club to celebrate a coward, cad, bully, liar and serial bonker. The star of the occasion was gifted with a striking appearance, spurious plausibility and some feelgood skills — he himself wrote that the headmaster of his old school “admitted that I had a certain power to please”. No, no — I am not describing the scoundrel whom you immediately thought of. We shall spare an unkind word for him only when the plates are being cleared.

This one was, instead, General Sir Harry Flashman, VC and American Medal of Honor, born 1822 and who died happy, rich and honoured during the First World War. I have just revisited the old brute’s memoirs, to be reminded what gloriously funny romps they are. When the first volume was published, long after its author’s death, its “editor” explained how they came to light.

“The great mass of manuscript,” he said, “was discovered during a sale of household furniture at Ashby, Leicestershire, in 1965. The papers were subsequently claimed by Mr Paget Morrison of Durban, South Africa, nearest known living relative of the author, who asked me to edit the papers.”

Thus, Flashman made his first published appearance in 1969, and before the editor’s death in 2008 a further 11 books had followed, selling three million copies in Britain alone. PG Wodehouse offered a memorable endorsement, saying: “If ever there was a time when I felt that watcher-of-the-skies-when-a-new-planet stuff, it was when I read the first Flashman.”

The general and his memoirs were, of course, fictions, the invention of that wonderful Scot George MacDonald Fraser, whom I was lucky enough to call a friend. In the mid-1960s, as the 40-year-old deputy editor of The Glasgow Herald, he conceived the idea of pursuing the career of Rugby school bully Flashman, whose favourite leisure pastime was roasting fags before the study fire, from the treacly 1857 novel Tom Brown’s Schoolday. 

According to Tom Brown’s author, Thomas Hughes, the rogue met his deserts after being expelled by the headmaster, Thomas Arnold, for drunkenness, leaving Brown and his friends to live happily ever after. Or was the outcome quite different?

At the heart of Fraser’s brilliance lay his acquaintance with facts of life that eluded the naive muscular Christian Hughes. Good chaps with bags of team spirit often lose: in Flashman In the Great Game, Brown’s nice chum “Scud” East dies bayoneted in the dust of Cawnpore, to be remembered by absolutely nobody. Meanwhile monsters of selfishness flourish like the green bay tree. Women often fall for shits.

The first book contained the ingredients that secured the triumph of the saga. After Flashman’s school expulsion his father bought him a commission in the mad Lord Cardigan’s 11th Light Dragoons, where he prospered as a toady until expelled (again), this time for social delinquency, after being forced to marry the non-U teenage daughter of a Scottish mill-owner whom he had ravished beside the Clyde. “Is that what the minister means when he talks of fornication?” his willing but innocent victim demanded afterwards. “Why has he such a down on it?”

Posted to India, Flashman exploited his gifts for languages and horsemanship to catch the eyes of top brass. To his horror, however, instead of the cushy staff job he coveted, he was dispatched as an aide to old General Elphinstone, commanding the disastrous 1842 expedition to Afghanistan.

After many adventures in which Flashman’s cowardice and lechery are tested to the limits, the book ends with its principal discovered by the relief force, sole survivor in a beleaguered fort, wounded and wrapped in the Union Jack, which he had apparently defended to the last.

In truth the heroics were performed by others, while Flashman skulked. Since all the witnesses were dead, however, there was no one to dispute his claims upon glory. He returned to England to meet Queen Victoria and, more important, the Duke of Wellington, who told him: “You should go far. I don’t imagine you’re a second Marlborough, mind, but you appear to be brave and you’re certainly damned lucky.”

The book was written with superb verve, fluency and wit. It reflected the author’s love and knowledge of soldiers: he served in the British Army from 1943 to 1947, latterly as an officer in the Gordon Highlanders. He wove into the narrative some terrific word portraits, for instance of Cardigan, Elphinstone, the retreat from Kabul. He had a wonderful sense of place, especially in the old British Empire.

Finally, Flashman was apparently irresistible to women. “I didn’t even need to take my boots off,” wrote the old bounder of an encounter with an Indian monarch, “a quick plunge around the room, horse artillery style, and she was squealing her soul out, and then it was back to the wine cup and exhausted ecstatic sighs.” He did not claim to have got quite that far with Victoria, but “she always fancied me”

Those of us who were — how shall we say — not quite as successful with girls even in our salad days are morbidly fascinated by Flashman’s prowess. I never quite dared to ask George how much personal experience he had needed to call upon to describe hundreds of embraces with women of many nations who lay down before what he implies was Flashman’s enormous organ.

What does the modern #MeToo brigade make of lines that recur constantly such as, “Aye, aye, I thought, here’s another one giving old Flashy the eye”? The world gave Flashman the eye to such effect that George retired to the almost taxless Isle of Man, where he built a billiard room that was his pride and joy.

Those who wonder how his creation talked need only heed some of the outgoing prime minister’s language, obviously influenced by youthful reading and perhaps also by antihero-worship. What separates the two men, however, is that the redeeming feature of Flashman was self-knowledge about his own appalling character. He confessed himself to his posthumous readers a poltroon, who had deceived almost everybody except Abe Lincoln and some discerning Mayfair hostesses.

He spared nothing in his admissions of the better men and women whom he had caused to be ruined or killed to save his own worthless neck. He once kicked a lover over a giant waterfall in an attempt to escape the same fate.

The prime minister’s memoirs, even a version locked away for posterity, are unlikely to prove as self-revelatory. And while dear old George MacDonald Fraser possessed a supremely vivid imagination, I do not believe this could have stretched to ghosting a narrative that chronicled Flashman’s translation into Downing Street. Nor, had he done so, would most of his readers have found it funny.


  1. The best way to save energy for those who have basic homes:

    1. Turn off and unplug everything except the fridge.

    2. Do like Emily Dickinson and never go anywhere.

    3. Do like our ancestors and go to bed with the chickens. If it’s necessary to stay up after sundown, use paraffin lamps to then ruin your eyesight and spend the savings on eyeglasses.

    Too many of the tips mentioned are for those who enjoy a certain level of economic comfort, to begin with. I can only really apply six from the list, and I’m already doing so, intuitively.


  2. Energy. No 7. Only a year out of date. A+++, A++ etc disappeared a well over a year ago. Now it is A to G. A+++ equivalent is now C. C is actually quite good, and in electrodomestics you would be hard pushed to find B or A, although I imagine it wont be too long.

    Like Maria we do several of these intuitively. 14 made me laugh though.
    Ourselves we produce more and more homegrown product, increased our hens, lots of lovely tortillas (we grow our own tats, 600kg harvest last year), and said hens droppings also find their way to our ‘huerta’. Courgettes the size of my forearms, huge sweet toms and much more.

    Solar power at home thus far avoided, it is one big scam.


Comments are closed.