26 December 2022: Boxing Day 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

Spain roasts her menfolk for inequality at Christmas, here.

It’s 6 degrees here in Madrid but 10 in Pontevedra city. My daughter hasn’t yet put her central heating on but the inside temperature is 19.5. In my house in Poio – where the heating was put on in early December but turned off when I came here 5 days ago – it’s very probably down to near the external temperature. So, what explains the better internal temperature in Madrid? My daughter thinks it’s because of vastly greater insulation in their modern flat, compared with that of my house built 36 years ago. But can this really be the only factor? For example, do wall-sharing flats benefit from the heating of one’s neighbours? And is my daughter’s flat more protected from the cold North winds which assault my house when it isn’t raining? And does every flat benefit from being, well, flat, so that the heat doesn’t disappear up the staircase from an open-plan dining area/sitting room? It’d be nice to know so that I can at least consider doing something.

The EU

The euro is forecast to be worth less than a dollar after Christine Lagarde’s ‘kamikaze’ rate rises. The currency is widely expected to fall below parity within the first months of 2023. And the pound??


Another claim from Vlad the Self-Impaler: Russia is ready to negotiate over Ukraine but the West is preventing talks. No mention of East Ukraine, it seems.

Even more dubiously: Russia’s forces are acting in the right direction in Ukraine because the West, led by the United States, is trying to cleave Russia apart. I guess that rings true in Moscow if you define ‘Russia’ to include all or even just part of Ukraine. Which most of the world doesn’t. Tellingly, Putin uses the term ‘historical Russia’. According to his particular choice of date, I guess. Does he really want, say, bits of Poland back? Probably not. But bits of Ukraine other than the Crimea??

Looking at its success over the centuries, it’s good to know the Pope is praying for peace. Can’t be far away now.


Was the World Cup worth £180bn? One answer here.

The Way of the World

The woke attack on xmas.

The perils of easy money and low interest rates . . .

Blimey, I had another 2 articles on the fallen god of Elon Musk but failed to include them yesterday. Here and here, if interested.


Some Spanish name diminutives seem to defy logic. I mean, how do you get Charo from Rosario?

Finally . . .

As I was saying . . . Wallasey ain’t in Liverpool. In fact, it was never even in the same (ex)county – Cheshire v Lancashire. But it is now in the metropolitan area of Merseyside. That said, it’s quite hard to forgive this Times headline of this morning, which lazily – and geographically ignorantly – plays to Liverpool’s negative reputation as a crime-ridden place: Liverpool shooting: Woman, 26, is killed as man opens fire on pub. Of course Merseyside is, as they say, north of Watford, so the London-based reporter is unlikely to have ever been near it.

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 in your browser.


  1. Insulation insulation insulation and zero draft including windows frame seals and double glazing. Many buildings in Spain have a concrete floor going from the balcony across the entire house with no breaks (cold bridging) effect! Basically transferring the temperature outside inside! And yes, a warm room adjacent will help maintain the temperature in another! Have a warm holidays and thanks for entertaining us and keeping us informed this year C.


  2. Thanks. Yr citation of a concrete beam reminds me of something said but a neighbour but in the context of noise transfer. Perhaps they have 2 bad side effects.


  3. Generally speaking, as I work in this area, insulation is a recent development in Spanish construction in Galicia. Also the amount invested by a builder will be noticeable in the materials used such as hollow bricks in exterior walls, as opposed to purely interior. Such as aluminium windows without a thermal bridge, poor quality seals and sealants. As TD stresses concrete is poured but not protected against outside influences. Floors especially in houses are not fitted with damp proofing, hence the green mossy walls you see. But by far and away the biggest problem with houses is roofing, especially where insulation is concerned. In the last 6 months I have put ceilings in 4 different properties, when the old ceiling came down, there was nothing there, no rock wool, no polystyrene, NADA. They were all properties with between 30 and 180 years old. A couple of the roofs were leaking. One had been built with cheap untreated woodbeams and was now full of woodlice. The downside is the investment required to fully insulate a property. If money is tight, stick to the roof. You rarely find rock wool or fibreglass insulation here at more than 100mm thickness. You should consider laying 2 layers to reach something similar to a well insulated modern day structure in northern Europe. Lay in the direction of beams, then the 2nd layer cross ways. Fill gaps and hard to get to places with foam insulation. Walls are tough, but there are 2 solutions, one is to insulate the exterior there are various options, but you may need council approval. The other which I have done is to put up a plasterwall structure along all the exterior walls, fill them with rock wool and then plaster board over the top. The downsides, your rooms where you do this will be a few centimetres smaller and you need to refit your wall sockets etc. The floor! Bar ripping it up the only cheap and fast option is to add a thermal laminate of at least 2mm, a little thicker is better if you can find it (some people use cork panels), and then a good proper wooden floor. Oh and rugs, sounds silly, but in winter they will help, and even decorative wall rugs are useful. Drop your “persianas” blinds every night, draught blockers blah blah. A scan at leroy merlins webpage will give you a lot of ideas. For insulation, in fact just about anything for non professionals, you can get what you need at LM, Bricodepot, Bricomart or Big Mat.

    Flats as opposed to houses are warmer if you are in a middle floor, but ground and top floors are not ideal. I confess to once living in a flat in Oleiros where for 2 years we didnt switch on the heating, as the people below had theirs on all day. 🙂 Nuaght me.

    Something that has become very popular are the pellet stoves. And they really are excellent. There are 3 types. The best bet is to start on this article at ecoforest for a basic explanation – https://ecoforest.com/en/news/types-of-pellet-stoves-and-their-differences/ You will then find plenty of key words to try in your search engine. In Spanish they are Estufa pellet de aire, Estufa Pellet Canalizable & Estufa Pellet Hidroestufa. Option 2 is usually the most viable unless you have a new build and Hidroestufa is the most interesting. Despite the price of pellet doubling in 12 months, they are still very price efficient.

    Hope this helps a tad.


  4. *The other which I have done is to put up a plasterwall structure along all the exterior walls, … …. …. I realised this phrase is badly written and confusing. The plasterwall goes up inside the house, but on the perimeter walls. It doesnt need doing on interior separation walls.

    Sorry! 😉


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