5 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

There’s a dictum in British legal circles: Hard cases make bad laws. Especially if the drafting is done too quickly. Case in point? . . . A “botched” new consent law in Spain has led to more than 130 convicted sex offenders having their sentences reduced or being freed from prison.

An amusing tale.

In my view, there’s no good reason to go to Finisterra – certainly not to burn your camino clothes, a medieval myth – other than to see the ridiculous cemetery designed by Galicia’s most eminent architect, César Portello. Especially as the monstrous site has never been used:-

But now, in one of those wonderfully meaningless Spanish/Gallego phrases, . . . O sitio nunca estrenado se adaptará a las necesidadas. Vamos a ver.

Below is a short treatise on a word commonly – very – used in Spain. I can’t recall whether I or someone else wrote it some years ago,

Galicians no. 2 . . .

The UK

Another nice story. An amateur archaeologist appears to have deciphered a Stone Age writing system that experts believe is the oldest ever discovered


I have a soft spot for wolves, but confess to never having lost a sheep, a cow or even a dog to them. Not everyone shares my perspective, of course. Certainly not Mrs V de L


Talking of animals . . . If you want to understand how Putin can be capable of doing the things he’s done and is still doing, read the book I cited yesterday – Putin’s Men. He is an appalling individual who rose to power in a milieu of quite unbelievable corruption and violence.


Progress comes in many forms, some of the rather odd. This week saw the first execution in this beacon of Enlightenment values of a transsexual woman. Which doesn’t really count as a woman, of course. Though it might in official stats.

Finally . . .

Last year I failed to achieve face recognition on a new phone. So, I tried again yesterday. Two things happened;-

1. The phone said it didn’t recognise my face. Well, neither did I. It wasn’t me, but my father . . .

2. It told me to take off my glasses before it could proceed. But I wasn’t wearing any.


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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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Castellano (Spanish) is famous for the ruggedness (and frequency) of its swearwords. But in respect of one word, it can’t hold a candle to Gallego (Galician. In Spanish, the word is Carajo and in Galician it’s Carallo. Here’s how it’s described in the document I have in front of me:-

CARALLO: Pronounced smoothly and clearly, without emphasis or stress, it means the male member.

!!!CARALLO!!!: As an exclamation, it can indicate astonishment, admiration, and, especially, assent. An on-line dictionary gives this for Carajo: Fuck! Damn it! (Very informal). And Google Translate is very specific with Carallo:- Cock.

These are the examples of common (!) usage among Gallego speakers given by said document:-

Carallazo – Blow. Annoyance.

Carallada – Drinking spree. Binge.

Carallán – Joker

Caralludo – Denotes quality

Escarallado – Broken. Dislocated.

Escarallación -Peak, height.

Escarallar – To damage. Dying with laughter.

But the variety and richness of the meanings of Carallo are almost limitless, given that it’s used to both praise and denigrate. To say something is good and to say quite the opposite. It can also express tiredness, resignation, amusement and an infinity of states of mind, depending on the context. Here’s some examples[all in Gallego]:-

Resignation: Ay que carallo!

Joke: Bueno, carallo bueno!

Rudeness – Vai o carallo!

Enquiry – Que carallo e iso!

Contrariness – Tócache o carallo! [Touch your cock]

Offence – Iste carallo é parvo! [Your prick is a fool!]

Temperance – Cámate . . . carallo! [Calm down, prick]

Threatening – Ven . . . C . . . Ven! [Come on, prick. Come on!]

Denial – Non carallo. Non!

Rotund denial – Nin carallo nin nada![Neither prick nor nothing!]

Oath making – Me cago no carallo! [I shit on my prick]

Anger – Me cago no carallo . . . carallo

Praise – É un home de carallo [He’s a man of prick]

Doubt – O carallo vintenove! [The 29th prick]

Strangeness – Pero . . . Que carallo pasa? [But . . . What the prick is happening?]

Contempt – Pásame por debaixo do carallo! [It passes me below the prick! (?)]

Animation – Dalle, carallo. Dalle. [Go for it, prick. Go for it!]

Whimsy – Salíume de carallo! [????]

Evaluation – Non vale un carallo! [It’s not worth a prick]

Fatality – Ten carallo a cousa! [Have prick the thing! (???)]

Frustration – Xa estou o carallo! [Now I’ve had it up to my prick]

Meteorology – Fai un tempo de carallo! [It’s prick weather!]

Distance – No quinto carallo [In the 5th prick]

On many occasions, it’s used as a conversational catchphrase or as a wildcard in a long phrase or in difficult situations:- Entón, chegou Pepiño e un servidor díxolle: carallo, Pepiño. Que carallo fas aquí?: Then Pepiño arrived and a waiter said to him: carallo, Pepiño, what the carallo are you doing here?

To finish, and as a concession to the rich and flourishing literature of South America, here’s a fine phrase: MANDA CARALLO NA HABANA!!, which was apparently uttered by Christopher Columbus himself, when the the Catholic Kings: LO MANDARON AL CARALLO! [Sent him to prick]

Finally . . . Here’s a few phrase from a Spanish dictionary:-

Me importa un carajo – I couldn’t give a shit

Irse al carajo – To go down the tubes

¡Vete al carajo! – Go to hell!

By the way, there’s a bar in Pv city called O Carallo. Surely this should be O Carajo