29 November 2022: Sex before football; More mad driving; Camino stats; Referees here and there; & 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 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

Interestingly, a UK columnist has queried the advice of the Spanish football team manager that sex before matches is OK but not orgies. Presumably for the players, not himself. This pre-game strategy is up for debate, the columnist insists. Well, isn’t everything? Especially if this sells newspapers. Or, these days, maximises clicks.

Official numbers for the camino nationalities to end September. In reality, these exclude those who don’t bother to get an official Compostela:-

Spain – 231k Quite possibly with the majority only doing the 100+ km from Sarria.

USA -26k A bit of a surprise to me

Germany – 25k

Portugal – 23k

Italy -19k

France -10k

UK – 8k

Ireland – 7k  Possibly the most Catholic country in the list.

Mexico – 6k

Brazil – 5k

Netherlands – 5k

The rest – 58k

Total: 423k. In reality closer to 500k.

Two more ‘kamikaze’ drivers in Galicia this week, driving the wrong way down a motorway. One of them was in one of the tiny sin-carné cars with a motorbike engine which aren’t allowed on these roads anyway. This one eventually hit a school bus, though injuries to the kids were, fortunately, slight. Is it the Celtic genes? Or are cases just as frequent elsewhere in Spain?

The UK 

God knows, things are going very badly in Britain at the moment, whence the stream of (self-flagellating?) negative news seems endless. But at least – despite Brexit – its 2016-22 GDP growth per capita has exceeded that of at least 3 countries – including Spain’s:-


South Korea 14%+  Also got Covid right, of course.

Netherlands 10%

USA 9%


The UK 4% (cf Germany 4%+, France 5%+)

Canada 2%+

Spain 2%+

Japan 2%


In the 1940s, the US government asked the British government to enforce segregation between its white and black troops based in the UK. When the latter refused to do so, the US government ‘solved’ its problem by letting the (segregated) troops out of their bases on different days/nights. When black troops entered pubs and dance halls  – socialising with white British girls – military police offers tried to stop this, forcibly. This resulted in at least 3 ‘wild West’ – shoot-outs on British soil, resulting in the death of several black troops. And the imprisonment with hard labour back in the USA for others. This was only 80 years ago. But it wouldn’t happen now, I guess.

The World Cup

The contrast between British referees and the Spanish variety is stark. The former work in pairs and deluge the viewer with endless stats and facts about the teams and players. Whereas the Spanish commentators – unless things have changed in the last few years – simply indulge in the A passes to B who give it to C who shoots at the goal variety. Or, as some wag described it years ago, ‘radio with pictures’. I find both sorts irritating. There’s hardly ever any talk of tactics or strategy. But this maybe because there’s little to say beyond the formation of the teams – 4-3–2-1/4-4-2/8-1-1/ etc. And the use of substitutes. Is it the same with American football, baseball and basketball, I wonder.


After decades of wondering – and getting it wrong – I finally looked up ‘grits’, as they figure large in a novel I’m reading: Grits are a type of porridge made from boiled cornmeal. Hominy grits are a type of grits made from hominy – corn that has been treated with an alkali in a process called nixamalization, with the pericarp (ovary wall) removed. Grits are often served with flavorings as a breakfast dish. Grits can be either savory or sweet, with savory seasonings being more common. 


Quedar: A verb that can be very confusing. The several usages include:  To stay/remain; To meet; To be, and, possibly, To keep (quedar con

Chinilla: I bought some cushion covers last night: ‘Candlewick’, I think. Chenille? [French for ‘caterpillar’, by the way]

Did You Know

About 25% of the current US Congress is over 70, the highest percentage ever. The Boomers, I suppose.

Finally . . . 

To amuse . . .

 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.

2. Should you want to, the easiest way to to get my post routinely is to sign up for email subscription. As opposed to using a Bookmark or entering the URL.