2 October 2022: The day’s events; Lazy beasts; Amusing toddlers; The dying UK; A marching song; & 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

I’ve been sidetracked by 2 disparate events today. The first was an unexpected – a trip to a funeral parlour, following a death yesterday in the family of my daughter’s partner. And the 2nd was a visit to a trampoline centre with my 3 year old grandson. And yesterday I spent more than 6 hours on a 2nd visit in a year to the Madrid Zoo.

As is always the case, the dress code at the tanatorio ranged from formal to very informal. One chap at the latter end of the spectrum was in jeans and a T-shirt bearing, in large letters, the word Brutal. Though I doubt it was a comment on the event or the deceased.

As I said the last time, Madrid Zoo is excellent, though the place seems to be full of rather lazy animals who rarely show themselves at their best, being prostate most of the time. Especially the lions. But my daughter told me they sleep for 20 hours a day, so it’s statistically tough to see them at all active. Also worth a mention are the 4 large brown bears, who’ve learned to lie on the edge of their parapet and wait for folk to ignore all the large signs and throw food towards them. It was nice – and appropriate – that the animal which was most active and which came closest to the public was the Iberian lynx.

Also massively ignored were the signs asking people – ‘for safety reasons’ – not to take pushchairs into the dolphinarium. Though I have to stress this didn’t detract from what was a very impressive performance by these clever mammals. I do hope they’re happy there.

Funniest event of the day at the zoo . . . Overhearing this chat:-

Mother: Oh, que chulo!

Toddler: Si, que culo!

Mother: No. No `culo’. ‘Chulo’.

Toddler: Si. Culo.

Also funny to hear my 3 year old grandson correcting his father’s English. Not so amusing hearing him correct my Spanish . . . So I was pleased to hear him making the mistake of using the double R sound when it wasn’t right to do so.

Last thing about the zoo . . . The many cars arriving were being directed into lanes in the car park by a fat guy with a whistle. Once parked, drivers were asked by a (rather more attractive) young lady to make a voluntary contribution. So, beggars really. I was reminded of a chap who, several decades ago, did this outside Chester Zoo, without permission, and pocketed many thousands of pounds over more than 20 years, before he was found out. Here’s a more recent example of this scam

The UK

A requiem for Great Britain? The reputation of our nation is undergoing a historic metamorphosis. It took centuries to build. Look how easily it is undone. Under Truss, says the writer, we are seeing the unhinging of the British state.

And if you want another broadside aimed at Ms Truss by a right-of-centre columnist, here it (amusingly) is. Taster: There is a good case for saying the Conservative Party has bestowed upon us the three worst prime ministers since the Second World War — one after another, bang, bang, bang.

Ukraine v Russia

A Ukrainian woman writes about her country and about Russia here.

The Way of the World

When I was in business and looking for investor for clients, a common phrase was ‘walls of money’. These were said to be available around the world for the right opportunity. The phrase came back to mind last evening, when I read that:-

  1. According to court papers filed in New York, investors were duped out of £76M by the sales patter of Andrew Fuller and his business partner Stephen Burton
  2. A conman fleeced £400m from pensioners for a fake slice of paradise. David Ames, a twice-bankrupt Walter Mitty figure, used Liverpool FC and a host of stars to rip off 8,000 Britons. 

At a play at London’s Royal Court theatre the other night the 2 toilet options were: urinals and cubicles. In other words: men and women.

Quote of the Day

Everyone in the left-wing world of social media is non-binary and vegan and environmentally aware. And because anyone who thinks differently is banished to the electronic wilderness, they’re able to convince themselves that absolutely everyone in the whole world thinks like they do. Now that illusion has been shattered because millions of Italians have voted for a woman who wants less immigration and fewer laws that favour those of a BLT+ persuasion. It’s possible she also eats meat. Naturally, they think she must be a fascist


A very 21st century term – ‘to have agency’. Did it exist in the 20th? Well, Google’s Ngram has ‘agency’ climbing from a low base in 1800 to peak usage in 1980 and then falling back quite a bit to something of a plateau in 2019. On its way back?

Finally   . . . .   

My Galician friend, Fran, has told me of this marching song, the English words of which are below. Readers with a good memory will recall that I cited hara y palo (literally ‘pick and spade’ ) a short while ago, as meaning a lot of work

Millán-Astray, by the way, was not exactly a good guy and is (in)famous for shouting “Death to intelligence! Long live death!”

To amuse . . .

Bjork, possibly going to a Spanish funeral:-

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.


Hymns and songs of the Spanish Legion

The Englishman who came from London 

An Englishman came from London

to see if in this great country

he could join the legion

and finally managed to do it.

He studied all the pennants.

What would his dream be, joker?

And when he was signing up

He sang and spoke this song:

“Goodbye, alright,

I want to sign up

to Millán Astray’s troops

Where there is honour and glory”

An Englishman who came from London

to see if in this great country

he could get high

was finally able to d it.

He started in cheap cafes.

What could his dream be, joker?

And when the Englishman was high

He sang and spoke this song:

“Goodbye, alright,

I want to join

the troops of Millán Astray

where there’s a lot of vice and hash.

An Englishman came from London

to see if in this great country

he could enter a platoon

was finally was able to do it

He ended up selling his vest,

shirt and pants, joker.

And when the Englishman was itching

he sang and spoke this song.

“Goodbye, alright,

I want to join

the troops of Millán Astray

what there’s a lot of pick and shovel.

One comment

  1. “the other night the 2 toilet options were: urinals and cubicles. In other words: men and women” – unless you are having a dump. 🙂


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