26 January 2023: Only 11 months to Xmas

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

Spain’s inflation rate – at 5.5% – is said to be the lowest in the EU, against the average of 9.2% in the eurozone. Other than the cap on energy bills, I don’t know why. Food prices are said to be up by 16%. I can’t say I’ve checked this but I can say I’ve noticed that the price of birdseed has gone from €1.25 to 2.00 – plus 60% – in less than a year? Does it all come from Ukraine?

En passant . . . I see that my favourite supermarket, Mercadona – the only one with decent customer service – is regarded as a ‘price gouger’. Well, certainly as regards bird seed it is. Which is bad news for the birds in my garden.

It’s traditional for the mayor/ess of Marbella to be a crook. When I came to Spain in 2000, the then mayor – Jesús Gil – used to boast of being the most corrupt person in Spain. He died but his no. 2, and successor, was eventually jailed. Along with his famous singer gf. I mention this because the current mayoress is suing someone for alleging that she, her husband their soon are crooks. Indeed, drug-runners in the case of the males. Someone else has said that: The alleged corruption of the mayoress of Marbella and her family are being continually swept under the carpet, I can’t say, of course. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were true.

The Government is said to waiting for a cheap and popular electric car before it commits to installing the charging stations predicted to be necessary. ‘Something like the Fiat 500/600’, it says. A good, plausible excuse, I guess. But less than convincing.

I went last evening to Pv’s Archives building, to look at an old map of the city. Or, rather, I didn’t as its opening hours are 9-2. After so long here, I really should have known this. Or at least suspected it’d be the case. So, I returned this morning but they couldn’t help me, in what must be the quietest place in Pv city. If not the whole of Spain. I was afraid to make my request.


When I was researching the cost of living in Portugal 5 or 6 years ago, I found the only one thing more expensive than here was cars and everything to do with them. So, it’s something of a surprise to read that there are twice as many electric cars sold there as in Spain? It seems to be a reflection of lower taxes on them, with the IVA being discounted from your income tax. In Spain, it’s said – to no one’s surprise, I guess – that the relevant Plan is ‘slow, tedious and complicated’. Just like it is for getting Spanish nationality. Or just about everything to do with the government.

The UK

As in Spain, the UK government is failing in respect of electric charging points and is forecast to miss its target of 300,000 by 2030. Possibly by as much as 20 years. In 2020, there was 1 for every 16 EVs. Now it’s every 30. Lots of green talk; not so much action. But, then, the Conservative government does have a lot on its plate.


Is the coalition breaking up under post-invasion stresses? It seems so.


This month sees the 90th anniversary of Hitler coming to power in Germany – democratically. And this – truly shocking – news has reminded me of my long-held view that it should be compulsory for all schools to teach the lessons of that era, using the appalling films available: In a recent survey of Western countries, The Netherlands was ranked the worst for Holocaust denial. Almost 25% of people born after 1980 think the Holocaust is “a myth” or that the number of Jewish people killed by the Nazis is “greatly exaggerated”. Of course, the Netherlands doesn’t exactly have anything like Denmark’s record in esisting persecution of the Jews, but nonetheless . . .

A propos . . . This is one of my favourite podcasts, dealing this week with the rise of the Nazis.


Talking of horrific news . . .

The USA is only country in the world where the leading cause of death for children is being blown apart by bullets.

And another mad cause of children’s deaths there.


The Russian Foreign ministry claims that recent developments prove that “There is a hybrid war going on against our country”. Which wouldn’t have surprised George Orwell in its treatment of the truth. I guess we’re entitled to ask who started it and who could quickly end it. Not that this would do much good. Mr Putin surely isn’t concerned with such niceties.

I wrote recently about (perilous)Russian windows. Here’s an ad from the latest edition of Private Eye to (belatedly) arrive in my buzón:-

And here’s todays Times cartoon . . .

Quote of the Day

The impression we are left with is that Beyoncé is only concerned about LGBTQ rights up to a point. The cashpoint

The Way of the World

You couldn’t make it up . . . The Guardian commissioned a podcast on its founder’s links with slavery but 3 folk working on it quit and accused the newspaper of various things, as in an email set out in THE TEXT below. You might or might not agree with the comment in THE ARTICLE that this is sanctimonious, hand-wringing hogwash.


Do you call Spanish español or castellano? I flit between them, but Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas cites this interesting but blunt comment from VozPopuli: In the madhouse of Spanish autonomous regimes [regions], venomous tribal tongues take the lead. Such as Catalan or Basque. But I don’t mention Galician, because I think this is a kind of badly enunciated Spanish. In addition, there is a multitude of dialects, patois and gibberish that don’t even reach the little-league and remain insignificant. They are worth money of course, because the minority lingo business is thriving. Fine and jolly good. However, it is fair to recognize that the only language – and a great language at that – that exists in Spain is Spanish: ‘El español’. It is much more than a language; it is the Hispanic tongue! . . .‘castellano’ is a woke-word used by minority tribes to try and bring their regional blathers up to the same level. [Lenox’s translation]

English/Did you know?

‘Hun/HunneryHundum’: No, nor me. But the answer lies here. Along with the claim it’s a uniquely British thing, prevalent in Cheshire, Liverpool, Newcastle and Essex.

Finally . . .

Some people don’t know when the curtain’s coming down . . . When Franco was on his deathbed, he heard the sound of a crowd outside. “What’s that noise?” he asked. “It’s the people of Spain,” was the reply. “They’ve come to say goodbye.” To which Franco said: “Where are they going?”

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.


“A key issue was the lack of any serious desire from The Guardian to face and interrogate its own historic role, what that has meant for its journalism to date and what accountability might look like in the future. This left room for microaggressions, colourism, bullying, passive-aggressive and obstructive management styles that have caused frustration and stress for members of the production team. The outcome of this project is a huge indictment of the paper. The irony of dealing with institutional racism, editorial whiteness and ignorance on a project about the legacies of slavery hasn’t been lost on us – and deeply undermines the integrity of the project.”



  1. To me, it’s “castellano”. “Spanish” refers to all the country. So, there are various Spanish languages, among them castellano, which happens to be the majority language used in the entire country, and the one that was taken abroad because most of the explorers spoke it. (Catalán was exported to Sardinia and bits of Sicily and Naples by invaders from Catalunya. It’s still spoken in some areas of Sardinia.)

    That’s my personal viewpoint, only.


  2. Maria,
    Do you consider Euskara as a Spanish language? Being a language isolate, it would seem to be a national language spoken in Spain, but also France. In Mexico, the majority language is known as Español Mexicano, although the Government recognises 68 national languages.

    In the USA & the UK, English is the de facto language, however we recognise regional and minority languages such as Scots, Ulster Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish Gaelic, Irish & British Sign Language.


    • Yes, because it’s spoken within the Spanish state by some of the Spanish population, as well as Catalán. Within the French state, these are also French languages. The difference is that France doesn’t recognize them as co-official languages, though it has recently authorized their being taught in French schools in the areas where these minority languages are spoken.

      Spanish is called that in Latin America because the language, which happened to be Castilian, was brought to them by Spanish conquerors. Those whose lands were being taken over weren’t particular about the exact name of the language being spoken by the conquerors. It was all Spanish to them.


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