22 September 2022: Restoring artworks; Spanish taxes; Putin’s mad threats; OVNIs; & 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’

Cosas de España/Galiza

The Prado is opening an investigation into the provenance of works seized by the revolting Nationalists during the Civil War, with the aim of restoring them to their rightful owners. The museum has released a list of 25 paintings, including works by the (wonderful) Spanish impressionist Joaquín Sorolla, the workshop of Rubens and one attributed to the 17th-century Flemish artist Jan Brueghel the Younger. A foto accompanying one painting in a Times article has the caption: Joaquín Sorolla by Jan Brueghel the Younger. As the latter died more than 200 years before the former was born, I rather doubt it. Likewise the caption on the foto of another painting: The workshop of Rubens by Jan Brueghel the Younger. A confused intern, I guess.

If you’re thinking of living in Spain, it’s as well to note that 17 regions means 17 tax offices operating 17 different tax regimes. If you’re rich, the ones to watch out for are the wealth and inheritance taxes, which can differ enormously between regions.

HT Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas for the news that the Spanish letters ch and ll are to to lose their special places in the dictionary and henceforth will be mere ‘digraphs’

Lenox has also given us this short ‘blurry’ video of Spain 100 years ago.

Corruption: The Supreme Court has confirmed a jail sentence for an ex-president of Andalucía. The PM is reported to have promised his fellow PSOE ‘barons’ that he won’t risk an electoral backlash by pardoning him. The sort of thing that happens all too often in Spain

Franco’s greedy descendants are still playing hardball with the state over items they inherited. These are located in a mansion here in Galicia which was ‘gifted’ to Franco by the grateful people of Galicia, somewhat under duress of course.


That speech from Putin yesterday . . . Richard North today: Whether or not the determination to “use of all weapon systems available to us” is a bluff or not, we have no possible means of knowing. And given that most “experts” are so often wrong about Russian intentions and capabilities, we cannot rely on expert guidance. Whether Putin intends to deploy nuclear weapons, and under what circumstances, is simply unknowable. . . . Living with that uncertainty, the world suddenly feels a much more dangerous place. Nice to know. 


Ovni: UFO.   Objeto volador no identificado.

Finally   . . . .  

An interesting fact from “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World” by Peter Frankopan: Silk performed a number of important roles in the ancient world apart from its value to nomadic tribes. Under the Han dynasty, silk was used alongside coins and grain to pay troops. It was in some ways the most reliable currency: producing money in sufficient quantities was a problem, as was the fact that not all of China was fully monetised.

Possibly a less interesting fact . . . Yesterday I had 10 readers in the USA, 9 in Canada and 8 in Montenegro. Who won’t be impressed, if they come back today, to learn I had to resort to Google Maps . . . Unless they’re just Russian bots.

To amuse . . .  

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.

One comment

  1. Allegedly, some Russians are referring to Putin’s mobilisation plans as mogilization, after the Russian word “могила” (mogila) for “grave”. Ukrainians will use other words; гарматне м’ясо (harmatne m’yaso) for cannon fodder.

    For a balanced assessment, there is this from ISW.

    Key Takeaways

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announced “partial mobilization” will not materially affect the course of the war in the coming months.
    Putin did not explicitly threaten to use nuclear weapons if Ukraine continues counter-offensive operations to liberate occupied areas after Russian annexation.
    Ukrainian forces likely continued offensive operations around Lyman.
    Ukrainian forces conducted strikes north and east of Kherson City as part of an operational-level interdiction campaign against Russian logistics, military, and transportation assets in Kherson Oblast.
    Ukrainian and Russian sources identified three areas of kinetic activity on September 21: northwest of Kherson City, near the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River, and south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast border around Vysokopillya.
    Russian federal subjects (regions) are continuing crypto-mobilization efforts regardless of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of partial mobilization.
    Russian-appointed occupation administrators are likely increasing law enforcement and filtration measures in occupied areas of Ukraine in preparation for Russia’s sham annexation referenda.



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