10 November 2022: Wintering Brits; Electric sockets; Jewish traces, A Galician (re)treat; A funny job title; & 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/Galicia    

As you’d expect, Spain is concerned about the loss of revenue from Brits who used to spend the whole winter here but now can’t because of the 90 day rule. Especially those who bought property here for that reason. So, Madrid is lobbying Brussels for special treatment, in which they’ll possibly be supported by Greece, Italy and even France.

If you’re thinking of moving to an electric car here in Spain, you might want to read this.

An extract from The Power of Geography, by Tim Marshall: Polls suggest that the depths of Spain’s anti-Semitic roots mean they have been difficult to pull out of its culture. This is reflected in a handful of words still used by Spaniards, often without realizing how offensive they are; for example ‘judiada’ means a dirty trick or cruel act, and in the city of León a drink called ‘matar judíos’ – ‘kill Jews’ – is still consumed during Holy Week. It took until 2014 for the village of Castrillo Matajudios (‘Camp Kill Jews’) to change its name. A few years ago, I was about to go on assignment to Israel. The woman in the flat above me, a warm, smiling, stout sixty-something from northern Spain, was concerned enough about my well-being to drag me to one side and hiss: ‘Tim. Be careful of the Jews!’ It’s true that many European countries are re-examining their vocabularies in the light of modern sensibilities, but Spain seems to have more offensive terms than most. In the province of Extremadura lies the village of Valle de Matamoros, or Kill the Moors Valley, and Matamoros is also a surname in Spain, albeit a relatively rare one. For centuries, through the Inquisition all the way up to the end of the Franco era, one of the ways in which Spain sought to define itself as a unified country was as being innately Catholic, indeed a defender of the faith. Minorities such as Jews and Muslims were always useful as examples of the ‘other’.

Sitting opposite my daughter in a café this morning, as she tried to buy a microphone on line, I wasn’t terribly surprised to hear her exclaim that there isn’t a concept of customer service in Spain, where she’s lived for 15 years. My reply: Well, there wasn’t when when I came here 22 years ago and things haven’t improved much since then. Though cafes and bars can certainly be excepted from this overview. Possibly because all the staff are South American.

Who’d have thought that the world’s best yoga retreat would be just up the road from me? And, although it’s in Galicia, the fotos in this rather fulsome article about it prove that the sun always shines there.

I read an article last night which cited the icy waters of the Cíes Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Pontevedra in Galicia. Which took me back to my first visit to them in 1999, and to a quick dip into the – very appealing – sea. In a word, I was surprised my manhood survived the experience.

A friend has come up with a very plausible explanation for the mention of ‘masturbation’ in the English version of a Faro de Vigo headline. The original Spanish will have spoken of the (chestnut) season of magosto. Which a machine – in desperation – interpreted as me gusta. Or ‘please myself’. From there it was just one small step to ’masturbation’.

The UK 

Low status and mediocre pay: no wonder we get the worst MPs.


Possibly the majority verdict on the Midterms: Far from providing The Donald with a launchpad, these elections mark the end of the Trump era. He is finished, even if he is too egotistical to admit it, and will take the Republicans down with him if they allow him to. . . . At first, Trump was brilliant at tapping into popular discontent and working-class votes, but he never won a popular majority, lost the House and Senate in 2018 and the White House in 2020 and now repels far more voters than he attracts. This has taken quite some time.

The Way of the World

This last week I’ve had to be in touch with the Help folk of 3 internet companies I deal with. Inevitably, at least one of the respondents was a Happiness Engineer. Which made me happier, because I laughed at it.

Finally   . . . .  .

To amuse . . .

Welcome to new subscriber:   Esty blog media.

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.