1 January, 2023

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

This will be of interest to those looking to buy property in Spain

Pablo writes here on Spanish public transport, or some of it, at least.

For obvious – but apparently erroneous – reasons, last Friday I wanted to buy a nit comb. I was expecting to be offered the 2-sided black plastic thing my mother used to use and to pay around €2 for it. OK, maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to try a pharmacy in Plaza de Sol but it was still a big shock to be shown one for €20 and a ‘cheap’ one for €11. A friend later told me they can be had for €1 in Chinese bazares.

All of which reminded me that pharmacists here are one of the few remaining (medieval) guilds, or monopolies. Where you’re forced to pay through the nose for things you can buy in supermarkets in the Anglo world. And €12 for a jar of Vick’s Vapour Rub, against 3 quid in the UK. Are there any poor pharmacy-owners in Spain, I wonder.

The UK

This is very insightful article on the (unimpressive) governance of Britain in recent decades, stressing the gulf between what the people really want and what the political elite [‘Westminster’] aspire to. Brexit, says the writer, fully exposed the latter and its ramifications. It reminded me of my own view that the UK should aim to be a self-regarding nation state like The Netherlands, not a ‘global player’ attached to the apron strings of the USA.

It bears repeating that the Brexit that Boris Johnson et al delivered wasn’t the Brexit any sane Brexiteer would have wanted. As readers of Richard North’s blog – Turbulent Times – will know full well.

Looking ahead, near term . . . It’s worrying that Boris Johnson – in Trump mode – has averred: ‘I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024.’ A columnist has noted: And so he still believes. Which is why 2023 will be a year of Boris. He will take opportunities to push his case for being the best-placed Tory to win the next election. God forbid.


A British music hall sketch that has sunk into obscurity in its country of origin but is an indispensable New Year’s Eve ritual in swathes of continental Europe will be given a new lease of life, after the German production powerhouse UFA announced this week it would start filming a six-part prequel next year. First performed in English music halls in the 1920s, Dinner for One was recorded as a black-and-white film for German television in the early 60s, it has been a staple of New Year’s Eve TV schedules in countries also including Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Sweden for at least 50 years.

The exiled chief rabbi says Jews should leave Russia while they can,
warning that the Jewish population will be made scapegoat for hardship caused by war


You think Trump’s a fantasist? So is Biden. US politicians at every level have a penchant for rewriting their histories.

Way of the World

The world’s autocrats are becoming victims of their own hubris. The coming year will see them grow more anxious and more dangerous. 

It’s often remarked that we live in an era of moral puritanism and political extremism. This year, we have seen transgender ideology become ever more outlandish, racial identity politics become ever more militant and, most notably, the environmental movement become increasingly hysterical. . . .

So much has happened this year, and so fast, that it is difficult to latch on to a single event that sums it all up. But there is an event that combines several of the big themes of the year: the rapid decline of Tesla, the electric car company run by Elon Musk. More here.


Ser or Estar?


‘Free’ and its meanings.

Do you relate? We Are The Generation…. that walked to school and then walked back. A generation that did their homework alone to get out asap to play in the street. A generation that spent all their free time in the streets with their friends. A generation that played hide and seek when dark. A generation that made mud cakes. A generation that collected sports cards. A generation that found, collected and washed & returned empty Coke bottles to the local grocery store for 5 cents each , then bought a Mountain Dew and candy bar with the money. A generation that made paper toys with their bare hands. A generation who bought vinyl albums to play on record players. A generation that collected photos and albums of clippings of their life experiences as a kid. A generation that played board games and cards on rainy days. A generation whose TV went off at midnight after playing the National Anthem. A generation that laughed under the covers in bed so parents didn’t know we were still awake. A generation that is passing and unfortunately it will never return no matter how hard we try. I loved Growing up when I did. it was the best of times.

Finally . . .

Begin the year with a laugh.

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. To my surprise, while it’s still the same drink, it’s now called Mtn Dew (at least, in Oklahoma).


Comments are closed.