13 November 2022: UK fraud: UK energy bills; Spanish villages en venta; Turkish dreams; & 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 Covid Consequence 

The UK: During the pandemic, the usual checks on benefit claims were relaxed, so as to process claims quickly – giving criminals the chance to defraud the system. More than 25% of universal credit claims which began at the height of the pandemic were wrongly paid out. Criminal gangs are driving record levels of benefit fraud and £8.5 billion was overpaid last year. Examples:-

– A game of 4 Somalians* invented 188 children and claimed more than £1.7m 

– Five gang members in Birmingham and London made fraudulent universal credit claims worth £4m.  

– Two Polish sisters opened benefits accounts in the names of other Poles, claiming £300,000.  

*These all come from an area with its own dialect and needed the services of the only interpreter in the country. Who probably made a packet. It’s an ill wind . . .

Energy Prices

The UK: Richard North today: Spiralling retail costs have less to do with Ukraine and global prices than they do with the way the dysfunctional UK market is organised and regulated. RN points out that, in the UK, the main reason why electricity bills are soaring is that the wholesale prices of the much cheaper renewables and nuclear products are based on the volatile gas prices. Meaning very high margins and huge windfall profits for the companies supplying these, as well as for those supplying oil and gas. I wonder if this happens elsewhere. RN’s bottom line: The market dysfunction is driving the recession and pushing energy consumers into poverty, yet no one seems to be able to get to grips with the issues – not the politicians, and certainly not the media.

Cosas de España/Galicia   

You can be paid to come and live/work in several Spanish villages, 2 of which are here in Galicia. The article mentions the lure of the Xmas lights in Vigo. Which – after 22 years – is yet to work for me. The writer also says the summers are merely warm up here but I’m not sure that this is an apt descriptions for temperatures that range between 25 and 40 degrees. Perhaps ‘less hot that in other bits of Spain’ would be more accurate. 

For the more ambitious, you can buy an entire village in the North West – on the border with Portugal – for a snip. To say the price has markedly reduced would be an understatement,

Talking of small villages/towns . . . My daughter’s in-laws have a house in one NW of Madrid. Astonishingly, it boasts one of the biggest bullrings in Spain:-

The UK & The EU

The imminent new EU entry scheme for non-EU folk who don’t need a visa provides opportunities for fraudsters of all nationalities, it says here. And these are certainly already on the case. I can confirm that there’s a lot of web pages out there offering to assist/defraud you.


I mentioned president Erdogan yesterday. He’s said to be a neo-Ottoman who dreams of restoring much/most of the empire broken up at the end of WW1. In the process, he’s made himself very unpopular with every leader around the world, with the possible exception of Russia’s president Putin. Especially for the Greeks, many of whose Aegean islands he wants back. Even the currently-sized Turkey looks unlikely ever to be an EU member, never mind Greater Turkey.

The Way of the World

The women who entered the Miss Greater Derry pageant in the USA did so in good faith and deserved a fair chance. But they were denied a prize that rightfully belonged to one of them. It went, instead, to a tall, overweight bloke called Brían. Who also got the university scholarship and sponsorship opportunities. The other contestants had no choice but to clap along at the mockery made of their efforts. The spectacle served as a powerful reminder that, in today’s America, failing to show due deference to the trans overlords (or trans overladies?) is potentially career-ending. More here.

Quote of the Day

From that article: The idea that womanhood is a costume that can be stepped into by men is the very essence of dick-swinging entitlement.

Social Media

“Who is even on Instagram these days?” a young colleague recently asked me. Another one biting the dust? Is it all Tik-Tok now? At least for the young. 


This is something that might just help you to master por and para. Good luck. Only euphony works, in my view. Born of a lot of chat. My 3 year old grandson in Madrid is already better at it than me.

Did you know?  

Crimea was part of the Ottoman empire. But even Erdogan has probably given up on getting that back for his Greater Turkey.

Finally   . . . .  .

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.