22 November 2022: Sweden & Covid; Spanish xenophobia; Local problems; Qatar exposed; Elon’s errors; & Other stuff

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 turretIn a noose of light!

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

                 – Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’ 


Sweden’s resistance to lockdowns is vindicated again. The UK’s shocking new cancer stats show the wisdom of promoting social distancing and good hygiene rather than lockdowns.

Cosas de España/Galiza

At least one person – looking at the violence stats – believes Spain has a growing xenophobia problem. She is a UN representative. My guess is this is with Romanians and  Albanians, rather than South Americans.

Well, after weeks/months of drought, we’ve now had 35 days of rain, some of it light and some of it torrential. So, our reservoirs are almost full again. God’s cosmic joke. He clearly Galician, with a retranca sense of humour.

Two more kamikaze drivers this week, driving the wrong way down the AP9 highway between Vigo and Pv city, both causing serious injuries in head-on clashes. At least one of them was high on drugs and alcohol. 

Pv city’s mayor is a genius at self-promotion. The latest example is several boxes on O Burgo bridge lauding what he’s done and will do alongside the river. Sadly, the winter winds – which howl through the ugly new railings – keep blowing them down:- 


Not all fine and dandy, then: The meteoric rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats shows how a collapsing asylum system can cause earthquakes in a country that once prided itself on its pro-migrant “exceptionalism”. 


Qatar’s women can’t work, study or travel without a man’s permission – where’s their armband?, asks Suzanne Moore. They are hidden away, invisible, not displayed on any armband. It’s as if their lives were but a postscript to this whole sordid enterprise. Click here. Some shocking details.Welsh supporters had rainbow-coloured hats confiscated before the match with the USA.


One worries what will happen to the courageous footballers who declined to sing their national anthem, in protest against the regime. Meanwhile . . . Iran’s brave and powerful gesture is a small wonder from a World Cup of woe.

The World Cup

Funny numbers . . .

1. England 6

2. Extra time in the England-Iran game: 1st half, 15 mins. 2nd half, 14 mins. Total 29 minutes. Far from normal. And not good.

3. Senegal v Netherlands; The official attendance number was way above the ground’s capacity but a commentator noted that the grounds was actually only 3/4 full. Not so much funny as iffy. In keeping with the Qatari custom of massaging the truth.

The Way of the World

Hugo Rifkind in The Times: If you’re enjoying the many hypocrisies flushed to the surface by the World Cup in Qatar, then allow me to go one better. Next year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference is to be held in Dubai. Yep, lovely, green Dubai. A place so committed to environmental stewardship that I once heard a resident describe the slick, viscous sea between the fronds of the man-made Palm peninsula as “a bit athlete’s foot-ish”. . . . The country has plans to hit net zero within its own borders by 2050. Much like a really pious vegan who still owns an abattoir.

Quote of the Day

Elon Musk’s reputation was built on defying expectations, proving the world wrong with a smirk. As a result, his supporters are inclined to perceive him as playing 3D chess. With Twitter, the billionaire seems to have found himself playing a disastrous $44 billion game of Jenga. It looks set to be a business case study for the ages: a testament to how hubris and arrogance can destroy a brand in a month.

Finally . . . 

To amuse . . .

An unusual statue of a saint . . . .

Welcome to new subscriber: Dave Martin

For new readers:-

1. 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.

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  1. According to Forbes, $220 billion is an estimated cost of what Qatar spent over the past ten years in preparation for the World Cup. Government officials have never confirmed the number, but in 2017, Qatar’s minister of finance said the country was spending $500 million per week on capital projects. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattcraig/2022/11/19/the-money-behind-the-most-expensive-world-cup-in-history-qatar-2022-by-the-numbers/?sh=e261ad3bff5e

    So far, the USA alone has supplied $25 billion in arms etc. to Ukraine, thus degrading Putin’s military capabilities to the point where I would not be surprised if China were to secure the now weakly defended mineral weath of Siberia for itself. In terms of military spending, $25 billion is a pittance for a war that has wrecked Russia’s economy. Just over 10% of the World Cup fiasco.

    If you have ever played the board game “Risk”, you will know that tentative agreements between two players not to attack one another are cast aside when the die do not fall in favour of one of those players whose armies are removed from the board in an unsuccessful attack on another player. The goal is world domination, so below are some tips for master strategist Putin .


  2. Better late than never. This powerful and provocative representation of a Galician farmer, naked and carrying a yoke of cows, can be seen at the Centro Gaiás. Ye gods, I can’t help it. “The jokes on her”. Museumhttps://www.cidadedacultura.gal/gl/blog/provocadora-santa-de-asorey-galicia-un-relato-no-mundo


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