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
Spain’s population increased last year, thanks to incoming foreigners. Happily for assimilation purposes, most of these are of the same colour and religion as Spaniards. Brits are said to have reduced in number but, as no one has the slightest idea of what the real total of these is, I don’t know how they can conclude this.
It’s been a week of breakdowns – first my laptop battery, then the transformer between a screen and the plug socket, and finally my new Senseo coffee machine, bought only 2 weeks ago. (I’d decided that I loved the last mentioned but am now having 2nd thoughts). All in all, then, a week in which to confirm that, alas, Spanish customer service is still not what it should be. Progress is decidedly slow.
Pending purchase of a new one, the (overheating) transformer now has an ice-pack on top of it. Which seems to work.
Talking of life in Spain . . . This is a foto of potholes in the road, 2 of the 4 I see 4 times a day, as I drive to my parking place on the other side of the river from Pv city:-
I wouldn’t normally bore you with such a foto but it’s there because the holes have all just been filled in. Yet again. I’ve seen this done dozens over time over the years and confidently expect to see the holes re-appear within a few weeks. But what I really want to point out is that these are just outside the driving-test centre, leaving me wondering what the right thing to do as, on your test drive, you approach large holes in the road. Do you avoid them, crossing a solid white line in the process, or do you drive in and out of them? I assume the latter.
The French parliament will soon consider a draft law that would ‘deliver the coup de grace* to bullfighting’. It’s allowed only in 3 regions in the south, where – I was surprised to read – there are at least 35 bullrings, 7 of them large. A commentator avers: Unlike in Spain, where bullfighting has been a deeply political issue since it was championed by General Franco as part of national cultural identity, it has continued in southern France barely noticed by people in the rest of the country bar a few animals rights campaigners.
* Perhaps better – la estocada.
Currently in the news quite a lot. Described by a Times journalist this morning as ‘a dry, dreary hellhole’. She’s possibly over-egging the pudding in adding: The excuse for this World Cup tournament is simple. It is: So what if the tiny emirate is a medieval quasi-hermit kingdom where alcohol is banned and gay people are jailed and women can’t leave? What better sport than the king of sports to bring people together and “change minds”? Change minds. Hmmm. It’s the excuse used by everyone — Harry Kane, Gareth Southgate and every pomaded PR lickspittle shilling for this now supremely vain, airless sport. . . I’ve long been interested to see how well football’s flavour of extreme religious authoritarianism would go down with that of the Muslim state of Qatar, where they don’t like being told what to do or being preached at, especially by Christians, and especially by Christians from societies that believe, at least in some quarters, that there are 97 genders. I guess we’re going to see very soon, with the first evidence of a clash being the last-minute government decision to renege on a promise that beer would be on sale in the stadiums. What (more) could possibly go wrong? Apart from the President of FIFA making an ‘insane’ speech yesterday criticising ‘corrupt, hypocritical’ Westerners.
So, the Theranos founder/plugger Elizabeth Holmes is going down for 11 years, possibly. And Silicon Valley entrepreneurs will have to take another look at the allegedly common strategy of faking it until you make it. Having followed the saga – including the trial – quite closely, I was a tad surprised – and impressed – that she was convicted. After she’d pulled out of the hat every possible exculpatory rabbit, including pregnancy.
I recently cited an article on Twitter by Kathleen Stock, who says it does have some virtues as well as its dreadful vices. I do have an account but have only ever used it to publish my blog posts. I was about to delete my account yesterday when it struck me that the 22 folk who claim to follow my tweets might actually read them. Maybe I’ll try and direct them to some other way of accessing my posts. Beyond writing this paragraph, I mean.
I have an Instagram account too but have never used it. So, I don’t really know much about the social media ‘snares and delusions’ that Kathleen Stock writes about. Goodness, I even switch my phone off at night. So, not a great customer.
Here’s a guide for learners but you need to click on the link in this page.
Finally . . .
To amuse . . .
Local designers are not to be outdone when it comes to highlighting the ludicrous heights their more illustrious colleagues can attain:-
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.