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
Good news for some: The British embassy has provided more information about how a post-Brexit driving licence exchange will work once an agreement between Spain and the UK has finally been reached. Among the steps UK licence holders resident in Spain will have to take are a ‘psychophysical aptitude test’ and – in some cases – a ‘brief interview with a doctor’. This, however, is a standard test that holders of Spanish driving licences must pass when renewing their document. Yes, it certainly is. I’ve been through it at least thrice.
Good to read that Pontevedra now features in the Route of the Phoenicians. But the UK – Cornish tin mines – seems to be excluded from this EU promotional campaign. Possibly removed after Brexit . . . Which would be petty, of course, if true.
Sad to say, it’s not only ‘slow’ senior citizens who die on Galicia’s zebra crossings. A young man of 23 was fatally hit on one at 7am Thursday morning in Ponteareas. ’No light/fluorescent clothes’, said the VdG, helpfully.
Below is someone’s idea of good Spanish wines for the winter. Given that, in the UK, 90% of the price is tax, these will be pretty cheap wines here in Spain. Go for the Toro wine if you like reds.
From a Times columnist, who’s surely right: As the Chinese people protest against zero Covid, some reflection on our own awful experiences might have been expected. But, even now, nobody wants to confront the awful truth about Britain’s pandemic lockdowns. In truth, it’s probably not much different elsewhere, with the possible exception of Sweden.
I’ve just read that an important Spaniard said yesterday that Spain’s management of the epidemic was ‘disastrous’.
The Great Unwanted: Amsterdam is fighting back against foreign louts with an advertising campaign and new restrictions to stop tourists travelling there for drink, drugs and sex. Next spring the city will begin a “discouragement campaign” to put off “nuisance” British tourists seen as the principal menace to peace and quiet on Amsterdam’s 17th and 18th century streets and canals. Seems a tad strong to me; surely one or two of them also go to the Rijksmuseum.
Of course, these folk aren’t wanted in the UK either, but . . .
The World Cup
A UK match commentator called the Spanish player Morata Moreta several times. But at least – when he finally got it right – it wasn’t Morartar, with 2 long As . .
There’s been a humungous amount of hyperbole on the part of British commentators. Far too many shots or moves are described as ‘brilliant’, or even ‘absolutely brilliant. And too many players are lauded as ‘a genius’. Of which there might only be 2 or 3, in fact.
The Way of the World
Talking of excess, in this case truly disgusting:-
1. This week, the billionaire Sir Chris Hohn paying himself a record £575m dividend after a sharp rise in profits at his hedge fund empire.
2. The Portuguese (past his best) star Ronaldo is about to ‘earn’ €200m a year to play in the Saudi Arabia league. Where the sands of time will surely continue to affect his deteriorating performance. . . But, anyway, this is c.€550,000 a day. Assuming he works very day of the year. Which is surely unlikely.
The sooner oil wealth becomes a thing of the past, the better. For at least 3 reasons.
I hope I’ve got this right . . . Spanish sometimes has the subject after the verb, which can confuse Anglos used to English word order. PLUS: A little change from past participle to gerund can change the meaning. Witness:-
1. Mi madre tenía una cajita en la que iba guardada una reliquía.
2. Mi madre tenía una cajita en la que iba guardando una reliquía.
Per Google (so don’t blame me, though I did think this was the case):-
1. My mother had a small box in which a relic was kept.
2. My mother had a small box in which she kept a relic.
El lider nacional de CCOO se moja y pide que Ence siga en Lourizán. Literally: The CC OO’s national leader wets herself and asks that Ence continues in Lourizán. Idiomatically: The CC OO’s national leader gets involved/sticks his neck out and asks that Ence continues in Lourizán.
El stand by
Did You Know
The American humourist James Thurber wrote one of the funniest books of the early 20th century. My Life and Hard Times is a deadpan account of some of the strangest things that happened during his upbringing in small-town America. Just ordered it on my Kindle . . . Better late than never.
Bad Bunny – who performs in Spanish, I believe – is the most listened-to singer in the world, says the VdG.
Finally . . .
Welcome to new subscriber Isa. Who might live in Thailand and who could well read this post. But who knows?
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.
INEXPENSIVE SPANISH WHITES
2021 Bienbebido Pulpo Albariño: Majestic. 6 for £7.99 each, £8.99 a bottle: Don’t walk past this wacky octopus label. This vegan-friendly albariño is a thirst-quenching gem with fine, lemony, tongue-tingling acidity. Just what a rich seafood or fish dish ordered. [Never heard of it, myself]
2021 Viuda Negra Las Levantadas Blanco Rioja. The wine Society. £11.95: The Wine Society has its best ever run of rioja this winter, and this beguiling white is a must-buy. With intense, smoky flavours and grilled peach fruit, it could happily tackle turkey.
2021 Marqués de los Zancos Rioja Blanco: Tesco. £5: A wallet-friendly winter white, with bright, light, fruity, vanilla-scented charm. Suitable for vegans. It has an easy-quaffing style, so is a good all-purpose white with food.
Grapevine Merlot: Aldi. £3.79: A cheap and cheerful party swig at a rock-bottom price. Cushioned with lots of sweet, sunny Spanish fruit, this jammy, raisiny red comes from Murcia in the hot, arid, southeast of the country.
2017 Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva: Aldi. £5.75: Spot-on, elegant, gamey, vanilla-spiced red rioja reserva, from Bodegas Muriel, it’s the perfect big food festive swig. Made exclusively from the tempranillo grape and aged for 30 months in small American oak barrels, this is the real deal and brilliant value for money.
2021 Pata Negra Toro: Morrison’s: £7: A softly French, oak-aged Spaniard. Made exclusively from Spain’s top red variety — tempranillo, grown in the tiny Toro region in the northwest of the country — it’s the sort of bright, herby yet hearty vanilla-oaked red that will come in useful over the festivities.
2020 Piquito Monastrell: Oddbins: £10.50: Spot-on, consistently good monastrell grape red, better known as mourvèdre, from Bodegas Luzón in sunbaked Jumilla in southern Spain. What you get is oodles of rich, inky, prune and earthy black plum fruit, plus a coffee bean-scented finish. Just the ticket with a strong game or offal dish.
2015 Finest Viña del Cura Rioja Gran Reserva: Tesco: £12: Terrific value for money for a gran reserva, and the bottle woodheads will want to serve with turkey. With at least two years spent ageing in French and American oak, this gran reserva has lots of savoury tannins, plus masses of scented fig and cinnamon pizzazz.