19 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

An interesting article on private tutoring in Spain.

On the issue of long lead times here:-

The case of the dreadful train crash near Santiago de Compostela almost 10 years ago is only now going through the woefully slow judicial system.

– The Constitutional Court will ‘soon’ consider the PP party’s appeal against the abortion law. This has been ‘in the box’ for 12 years.

– The initial case of the collapse of some spectator stands in Vigo 3 years ago has concluded in the surprising judgment that no one was to blame for it. There will be an appeal, of course. So, it could be quite a while before things are put to bed.

The UK

Humour, it seems, is under a huge threat. Particularly, perhaps, the very British tradition of irony. See here and here. Would Swift have been cancelled – or even hung, drawn and quartered – for his Modest Proposal?

Happier news . . . on the wine front.


Strikes might well be a feature of the UK at the moment but things are even worse here, says this columnist.


Guilty of rank hypocrisy?

Europe/The EU

Not great news 1:- Is it a regulatory superpower or is it losing out to the USA? Click here for one answer to this question. Taster: The EU has been waging an increasingly hysterical campaign against Biden’s subsidies and tariffs designed to turn the USA into a globally dominant force in green energy.  And which are freezing the EU out of green energy markets.

Not great news 2:- Europe’s grand plan to regain its lost leadership in technology and build a world-beating industry of semiconductor chips is running into serious trouble. More here.

Will all this lead, I wonder, to increasing tension between member states? Time will tell.


By the time of the invasion and annexation of the Crimea in 2014, all the old Yeltsin era oligarchs had been dispossessed of their wealth, which had passed to Putin and his old KGB mates. These new oligarchs controlled virtually all Russia’s assets, under a regime of state/crony capitalism which made made them astonishingly rich and immensely powerful. And indebted to ‘the top man’. Billions of oil-fuelled dollars had left Russia and had been ‘invested’ in personal bank accounts and huge slush funds around the world. The latter were used to further the goal shared by the Putin KGB clique – the restoration of the Russian empire as a counterweight to US power bent on destroying Russia. This had begun in Georgia in 2008 and was followed by the annexation of Crimea and the military operation in East Ukraine in 2014. Then, of course, by the ‘special operation’ in the rest of Ukraine in February of last year. The thing is – if and when Putin goes. it’s unlikely things will change. Some ex-KGB officer will take over and continue with the plan to undermine the evil West in whatever way possible and to continue territorial aggression, most likely in Moldavia. Until, perhaps, things radically change domestically. Not much cause for optimism, I fear. Revolution looks a long way off, especially as Putin has enriched the middle classes along the way. Perhaps if the world stops looking to Russia for any of its energy needs and the economy suffers a drastic reduction. So, much depends on China and India. Which ain’t good.


A nasty country – to Russia, to the EU and to the UK even. Needs to get its comeuppance . . .

Quote of the Day

Norman Vincent Peale: The way to happiness is to keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Scatter sunshine. Try this for a week and you will be surprised. Why not? Start with Americans, perhaps . . . I love ’em really. Most of them.


Una minga: A word used by the ladies in my Pilates class yesterday and which they declined to translate for me. They were talking about a certain local lady famous for her proclivities. You can see its meanings here. No. 2 is the one they were using, of course.

Un potero chino: Can anyone help? From an article about Chinese boats besieging a Galician one. It certainly isn’t this.


Annoying words and phrases – for Brits at least.

A propos . . . I recently had to endure – in a podcast – a woman who said Like before every sentence. You can surely guess her nationality. And she was an academic, not a bloody teenager . . .

Finally . . .

If you’ve not yet had enough, this is a spoof Meghan diary, from one of the (very) many who don’t admire her.

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.https://thoughtsfromgalicia.com


  1. “Un potero chino” refers to a boat dedicated to fishing squid and their cousins, the “potas”, which are the larger species. (There’s the “chipiróns”, which are smaller, and the larger “potas”, which have more commercial uses.)


    • “Basto” here means large. There are people who like it, but it’s not as delicious as the smaller “chipirón” and also cheaper, which is why it is used more commercially. Generally, when a processed food includes “calamar”, it’s “pota”.


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