31 December 2022: Final stuff. For this year, at least.

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’ 


This is a thought-provoking article on the significance of Covid for ‘liberalism’. If you accept the writer’s thesis, the question arises of what can be done to reverse the anti-democratic trends. Recognising that they’re taking place would be a good first step, I guess. After that . . .?

Cosas de España/Galiza

The good news is:-

1. Inflation here is lower than predicted for the year end, and

2. The Government has decreed that for the following basic necessity foods the 4% IVA rate will be reduced to zero for the next 6 months:- eggs, vegetables, fruit, legumes, bread, cheese, potatoes, cereals and milk. Plus the rate on oil and pasta will drop to 10% to 5%. But excluded from the reductions are meat, fish and yoghurts, which will stay at 10%.

The bad news is that the 20c/L petrol subsidy ends tonight.

My daughter tells me that efforts are being made to pedestrianise more and more of central Madrid, with a mini-bus service being laid on for those wishing to move a bit faster. Of course, this only works if some inconsiderate bastard hasn’t parked so as to prevent the bus getting through a narrow street, as I saw the other day.

Talking about travelling . . . I think Renfe came quite late to differential prices but now seems to be making up for lost time. Certainly because it’s the weekend and possibly because it’s 31 December, my vuelta to Pv city today is 69% more than my ida from there 10 days ago. And this for an inferior, slower service that includes a 35 minute wait at Santiago de Compostela for a connecting train from La Coruña.

Spain still demands a mask on all public transport and I suspect Iberia remains the only airline which requires these on flights. It’s such a relief to shed them when getting off a bus or a metro train.

As ever, a lot of media exposure is being given this week to gender violence, in part because the holidays have seen the usual upsurge in domestic problems and, in some appalling cases, in murder by male partners. You’d certainly get the impression from the media that Spain’s statistic is much worse than in other European states but my impression is that it’s on a par with at least the UK’s rate, where the media is more interested in cases of paedophilia.

So, Spain is finally in the Digital Nomad biz. Click here for details of this. Anyone with experience of Spanish bureaucracy and the Hacienda will conclude there are many opportunities for an applicant to be lacking one or more ‘essential’ documents. And will have to ‘come back tomorrow’. And tomorrow. And tomorrow . . .

Talking of Spanish customs . . . If you’re new to Spain and its end-of-the-year celebrations, this and this will be informative. BTW . . .The 12-grapes thing at midnight isn’t a centuries-old tradition, as it dates back only to a bumper harvest in 1909.

The UK

Thanks to a problem with WordPress which led to duplication of other paragraphs, some readers won’t have got this paragraph yesterday:- 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.


According to this columnist, Putin has single-handedly rejuvenated democracy. Possibly quite the opposite of what he intended.

The USA/Way of the World

From a US columnist: Stanford University has released a list of verboten words so crazed, so long, so thorough, that it would truly take a 4-year degree course to learn it. Some words that pretty soon could get you fired: basket case, blind study, blind review, handicapped, handicapped space, lame, brave, tribe, mankind, manpower, seminal (“this term reinforces male-dominated language”), stand up meeting, senile, you guys, abort, peanut gallery, American, Hispanic, user, victim, master, rule of thumb, disabled person. Even the verb submit has dangerous connotations: “the term can imply allowing others to have power over you.” This is being done under the aegis of Stanford’s Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative or EHLI. You can read the explanation for it, together with all the nasty words and their acceptable alternatives, here. As Wilde said, you’d have to have a hear to stone not to laugh. Which should be enough to get me cancelled in places I don’t give a FF for. Meanwhile, it’s coming to a university near to you quite soon . . .But it’s good to know that the latest OK term for what used to be ‘people of color’ is now BIPOC, for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Finally . . .

Having been shocked to find that the price of the jeans I favour is now c. €100. So, will wait for the post-Reyes sales.

A New Year treat . . . The same Blues number from 2 of my favourite performers and finally – would you believe – from Don McClean.

BTW . . . Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee were the Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon of the Blues world. Performed together for decades but didn’t really like each other.

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.

One comment

  1. I should have, probably have been cancelled years ago.
    I was thinking, I can no longer ‘submit’ any bureaucratic papers to the gov or maybe hacienda. So, I guess some good has come out of it for all BIPOCkind. I am the POC in all that.

    Brilliant stuff Colin, and a huge thank you for keeping us entertained, maybe even sane throughout 2022. Look forward to your posts 2023.
    Happy new year.


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