14 December 2022: Those Moroccan deaths; Housing news: Eating in Pv city; Putin’s plan??; Messi; & 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

Having seen various reports, I can’t say I was surprised to read that Amnesty claims that the official – ‘stalled and inadequate’ – inquiries into the deaths at the Melilla-Morocco border a few months ago smack of a cover up.

Spain’s village repopulation plan at work. Nice for refugees.

Talking of housing , , , HT to Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas for the news that Spain’s first ‘micro-casas’ are now available to rent. The 847 flats, (500 of them just 25m2!) are in a macro-complex in an Madrid industrial area about an hour from the centre and start at €788 a month. The residence offers common facilities, such as a yoga-room, a gym and a laundry. Talking of eating . . .

Pv city might not have the range of international cuisine available in La Coruña or Vigo but we do have 5 or 6 kebab places and I had my first kebab at one of them recently. Good value for money. But nothing like as good as the lamb pincho moruno at our Moroccan place, Dukela. Where I’m very probably their best customer.

​Talking of eating . . . And smoking . . . A case in point . . . Yesterday, I was partaking of squid and wine on a terrace when the next table was occupied, first, by a middle-aged lady and, then, by a young couple. Both the women were smoking but not the man. During Covid, it was forbidden to smoke within 2m of a terrace table and I’m not sure this ban has been rescinded, though it might well have been. But I doubt that the 2 ladies cared whether it had or hadn’t. Or that the wind was blowing in my direction. Personally, I think all smokers should be garotted without trial. Or choked with tobacco.


Oh, dear . . . The banlieues come to town. Paris fears France vs Morocco will cause ‘civil war’ on the Champs-Elysees. The city’s mayor claims 2,000 police officers will be ‘insufficient’ after last weekend’s trouble.


Runes to read . . . President Putin has cancelled his annual Q&A session with the Russian people as well as his traditional end-of year press conference amid flagging public support for the war in Ukraine. No reason was given for the cancellation of the events, which have become an important element in the Kremlin’s depiction of Putin as an all-powerful “father of the nation” figure. Possibly merely because he’s a busy chappy.

The Way of the World

It had to happen . . . The Cambridge Dictionary has changed its definition of ‘woman’ to include anyone who “identifies as female” regardless of their sex at birth. As well as an “adult female human being”, it now states that a woman can also be “an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth”. Woke wins. For now.

Quote of the Day

Not the sort of reviews you pray for:Avatar: The Way of Water’

A soggy, twee, trillion-dollar screensaver. Thirteen years in the making, James Cameron’s insipid, overlong follow-up to his sci-fi record-breaker is a very expensive beached whale.

Avatar 2 is finally here – and it’s like being waterboarded with turquoise cement

I confess to finding the TV trailer off-putting. All that said, some critics raved about it. Naturally. Witness the 1-star reviews against a massive majority of 5-star reviews for anything.

The World Cup

So . . . Little Messi will get his chance to lift the trophy for Argentina on Saturday, probably against France. I never thought they’d get this far but good luck to them against the best team in tournament. Or Morocco . . . Several strokes of Messi genius last night. No one can take on world class defenders like he does. As someone has put it: Relish these moments. Cherish these memories. The glorious sight of Messi in full flow, gliding away from Gvardiol, then twisting, turning and losing the celebrated young Croatian to set up Argentina’s third will never be forgotten by those privileged to be present in Lusail Stadium last night. The recollection of that burst of speed, skill and vision, of Messi at his devastating best, burns even brighter because of the sad reality that Messi, at 35, is nearing the end of his career. He seems determined to go out in style. As a world champion. Everyone except the French hopes he does.


I saw the phrase días de jengibre y rosas in a headline and wondered if it were the Spanish equivalent of ‘days of wine and roses’. But the Spanish phrase turns out to be exactly the same as the English version. And none of my Spanish friends are familiar with días de jengibre etc. A minor mystery, then. Maybe it wouldn’t be if I’d read the article . .

Gazing at the numerous tiny fruit flies embalmed in vinegar in my kitchen, my cleaner remarked: ‘Ah, muchos mosquitos’, not ‘muchas moscas de la fruta’. Whereupon it dawned on me that mosquito literally means ‘little fly’.


Said to be a favourite Gen-Z phrase – No thoughts, just vibes.

Did you know?

‘Spanish practices’ is the term used in the UK for work tactics that fall short of a strike – such as a ‘go-slow’ or ‘working to rule’. Probably reflecting 19th century observations of foreign visitors. Seems a tad harsh now. Probably.

Finally . . .

To amuse . . .

My sister and I have acquired Irish nationality, via our paternal grandmother. I mentioned to her that, when going to Amsterdam shortly, her Irish passport would allow her to go through the EU passport line and get out of the airport quicker than her British passport would. “Yes, if I have only a carry-on bag”, she replied. “But if I check in a bag, I’m likely to have to wait quite a while for that.” “Swings and carousels, then”, I replied.

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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