30 December 2022

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

There are said to be up to 2,500 wolves in Spain, with 95% of these prospering in the Spanish regions north of the river Douro – Castile & León, Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria, i.e. in ‘Green Spain’. Until 2021, it was legal to hunt these but this was banned towards the end of that year, leading to protests from the regional presidents, concerned for local livestock. I suspect these were in vain but am not sure.

Walking between 2 Corte Inglés stores in central Madrid yesterday – they don’t sell toys in one of them – I passed another lottery kiosk with a long line outside it. Plus several gypsy sellers with tickets draped over their shoulders, like bandoleras. Possibly another outlet which got lucky in a recent lottery. Blind faith comes in many forms, as it says in an article cited below.

Talking of department stores – of which I think there’s only one in Spain, El Corte Inglés – I was astonished to see in the Vigo store when I came to Spain that there was no indication at ground level of what was sold on the various floors. In the Madrid stores at least, there still isn’t. There must be a reason for this – possibly that forcing you to wander through the place increases impulse buying – but I find it irritating having to ask where things are. I should add that, as you reach the top of an escalator, there is an indication of what’s sold on that floor. Possibly just to confirm that the person you asked wasn’t lying.

If you fell victim to a prank yesterday, this is why.

Reader María has posted here her Beginning Over 28: Hard Times for Reading.

The UK

As a long-time enjoyer of a gin and tonic. I was amazed by the growth in popularity of this spirit a few years ago, bringing with it dedicated gin bars and a raft of (expensive) craft gins. Including one from Galicia even. And I was impressed by the marketing of craft tonic waters, though I never went so far as to buy one. Nor did I take to the trends of festooning my G&T with fruit, cucumber and pepper corns and pouring the gin down the stem of a long spoon. Anyway, these are tough times and I was saddened – almost – to read that Craft distilleries are closing as the gin craze comes to an end. But I will certainly stay with my favourite tipple.


This might well be proof of the claim that the country is in serious trouble . . . According to The Times: It has its own 1980s song, a play, a museum dedicated to it, an energy drink and a commemorative coin. But the currywurst, a sausage smothered in a curry-flavoured ketchup, which dates back to the late 1940s, is losing its appeal among Germans, who would typically buy the hot snack after a cold night out. According to a poll, 45% preferred a doner kebab to currywurst. Only for 37% was the latter the first choice.


Xi’s dreams of an authoritarian world order have been destroyed by his zero-Covid disaster: Whatever the grim tally of infections, the coming weeks are going to change the world’s view of Xi Jinping’s China. The full article here.

The Way of the World

Blind faith comes in many forms, says the New Humanist magazine, when looking back at 2022.

The tech emperor has no clothes: From the Theranos fraud trial to the collapse of FTX, the tech bubble was well and truly burst this year.


I had to look this up this morning and – being desperate for content prior to the waking of my engaging, in every sense, grandson – decided to tell you what I found: MacGuffin: In fiction, an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself. Like the portrait of The fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies in the TV series ‘Allo. ‘Allo.

Grammar pedants will have noticed I split the infinitive of the phrasal verb ‘to look up’ there. But, if I hadn’t, it would’ve been I had to look up this this morning, which would have been ambiguous.

BTW . . . I’d never heard of ‘phrasal verbs’ until I came to Spain. No native speaker of English ever does. Which is a tad surprising as they’re the bane of those earning the language.

Did you know?

Foxes have a thirst for brake fluid, which contains diethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting alcohol. In one British street recently, 30 people had their cables chewed through – causing one of them to arduously fit a tarpaulin under his car every night.

Finally . . .

In my emails this morning, there was one offering me a ‘shocking’ horoscope – for 2022. If I hadn’t immediately realised it was spam, with just 2 days to go to the end of the year, this might well have alerted me to this probability.

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.


Comments are closed.