21 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

The self-exiled king – poor old, very blemished Juan Carlos – is allowed to return to Spain but not to live in the Royal Palace, or indeed in any publicly owned building. It’s possible the PSOE government would prefer him not to come back and so are making things difficult for him. Can’t say I have a lot of sympathy for him.

I need to find out more – here – about the eco-sticker for my car. Pv city is probably one of the few who’ve complied with the obligation to have fines in place this month and so I fear I risk getting yet another one, even by parking on the non-city side of the river. Bits of which are technically in the city and bits of which aren’t.

My energy company – whom, naturally, I don’t trust for a second – has told me I’d be better off under a TUR scheme. I seem to recall reading years ago that this was a ruse to get you onto a pay scheme which gave them greater freedom to raise prices at will. For one thing, their letter starts with the non-credible statement: We have a commitment to helping you in day-to-day matters. Then comes the ambiguous comment: So, we believe the best thing to do is recommend you move to a TUR scheme before the renovation date of your contract. Best for whom, I wonder. . . Anyone know anything about this?

Here’s a Mojácar moan from Lenox Napier. I can think of little worse than having your Xmas lights used for corporate advertising. Especially well after Xmas.

Joined-up planning & implementation: The Galician Xunta has bought nearly 300 electric cars for El Tráfico here. Trouble is, only half of the necessary charging points have been installed around the region. This has led to at least one chase ending when the police car ran out of battery. Should have got hybrids, maybe.

It’s certainly a wet – but warmish – winter. Yesterday was perhaps the first in a month when it didn’t rain much. So, I’m very glad I had 10 days of sun in Madrid over Xmas. One result, of course, has been a profusion of weeds in my lawn and on my paths. But another has been the positive one of abundant lemons – on a tree I rescued from death-by-aphids 2 years ago. I must be more of a gardener than I thought. Anyway, I offered lemons to my friends at 1 centimo below the supermarket price of 43 centimos each, for which I was called un fenicio. See below.

The UK

Here’s an optimistic point of view, if ever there were one. [I persist with the subjunctive but don’t really care about its slow demise . . .]


Here’s why they won’t send those tanks to Ukraine. Or not yet, anyway.

Europe/The EU/The USA

AEP: Washington has killed what is left of the global trading system it pioneered for decades. Biden’s protectionism is an outrage, but Europe is learning to love it. But can anyone see the EU being as nimble as the US in this new game, happy as they are to join it? Not that they had any other choice.

New Zealand

Some folk are not as impressed by the outgoing PM as others. Here’s one of them.

A related view. Final sentence: Maybe I have a suspicious mind, but I reckon that an infantilised populace is far easier to push around than a bloody-minded and determinedly adult one.

Quote of the Day

A ‘liberal’, ‘respectable’ authoritarianism has essentially taken over the Western world, from Canada to Scotland to the United States.


Un fenicio: SometimesA disrespectful term meaning: Que tiene habilidad para comerciar o negociar y sacar elmáximo beneficio. I think it’s wonderful that, in the 21st century, the name of a race of traders who died out more than 2,000 years ago is still used in Spain, albeit as an insult. Possibly because 7th century North African traders still didn’t remember them with affection1,000 years later, when the Moors crossed the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain.

Better than being called chino, I guess. A modern Spanish insult.

Did You Know?

There’s a right and a wrong way to apologise. In fact, lots of the latter. Another fine article from the estimable Kathleen Stocks.

Finally . . .

To amuse . . .

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. TUR means Tarifa Último Recurso, and its price is regulated by the government, which means it’s generally cheaper than the open market. In fact, this past fall, so many people were calling to change to it, that the energy companies couldn’t handle all of them. Here’s an article, but I would go around and find some consumer office to try to get them to explain if it’s really best for you and your circumstances. https://www.ocu.org/vivienda-y-energia/gas-luz/informe/tarifa-tur-gas


  2. Everton 2 down to the Hammers. It really is looking bad for the blue half of Merseyside.

    Fortunately my beloved Magpies have woken up from their 14 year nightmare under Mike Cashley


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