February 2, 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/Galicia

This is an article on a Spanish problem that might well be less right-wing than it looks at first glance.

I wonder how many folk can really understand this article on our electricity prices.

Well, well . . The Galician Xunta has backtracked and has cancelled the system of obligatory advance appointments for dealing with civil servants. A welcome surprise.

Talking of back-tracking . . . The Tax Office – La Hacienda – will next month repay the 8,000 new self- employed folk – autonomos – who were overcharged c. €250 social security taxes last month. I wonder if they ever make mistakes in the other direction.

Some good news . . . Pv province is 7 points below the national average as regards criminality. Possibly explaining the high numbers of beggars.

Other news . . .The currently topical wolves are now said to be present in 93% of Galicia and to number more than 1,000 in 93 packs. And spreading rapidly because of the abandonment of rural areas by humans. None of whom have been attacked, of course, as this is something wolves don’t do. Being wise canines. Unlike the pet dog who bit my daughter in Madrid 2 days ago . . .

Well, that didn’t last long. When the concession for the ‘Casino’ bar/café passed into new hands, the 3 TVs were reduced to just one, with its sound off – replaced by a relatively low-volume (Boomers)music loop. But this is Spain and the 3 TVs are back and the music loop has been replaced on the TV sets by the high-volume pop music* from the raunchy MTV channel. I could tolerate the loop but now I must bring both my laptop and my earphones so I can listen to a Swiss classical music channel on line. Every day, not just from time to time. Hey, ho. As María says, life goes on.

*In a place where only the staff are below 50. But, of course, by this age, every Spaniard has developed very effective noises filters and so are impervious to everything going on around them.

The UK

Gwyneth Paltrow is closing her Goop shop in London, after it reportedly lost £1.4m during the pandemic. Her vagina-scented candles got blown out in the Covid wind, perhaps.

British [English] false modesty is worse than [American] bragging, says this cheeky chap. But, yes, it is frequently taken for hypocrisy by foreigners who don’t have a chance of understanding it.

En passant . . . Kate Fox’s study of the national character – Watching the English – is a great read.


A (British) columnist asks the question here of why France can get away with being a failing state while the UK can’t. Something to do with the protection of a currency backed by Germany’s economic strength, it seems.

And a reflection on types of ‘Frenchness’.

The Way of the World

The paranoid sub-culture, given wings and rocket-fuel by the internet.

Dealing with a ‘sensitivity reader’, to whom niceties were irrelevant, as they surely always will be.


Tmesis: ‘Separation of the parts of a word by one or more intervening words’: As in ‘Abso-fucking-lutely’, it says here.

Finally . . .

Latino men are famous for favouring big bums, hence the relevant plastic surgery option widely available in South American countries. My daughter in Madrid has sent me this foto of a shop catering for Latinas. Where the emphasis is naturally on almost-naturally raising and enlarging one’s rear:-

I wonder if even that Kardashian women could get a pair of tights to fit her there . . .

I beat the crossword guy to the VdG today but had to hand it over to another chap when I was on a call to my daughter in the UK. He, naturally, then passed it to said crossword obsessive, for the next 2 hours . . . I can’t win. Maybe I will come early tomorrow and rip the page out.

Oh, and they’re ‘fixing’ the heating system . . By switching it off, apparently.

This ‘oasis’ ain’t what it was. But ‘twas ever thus here in Spain. The vandals always arrive.

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. Bought myself a heated gilet. Works off a powerbank.
    Love it! Especially in cafeterias that don’t use heating in winter.
    I did get caught out this morning as the powerbank ran out of juice as I devoured my second churro.

    Not wishing to madden you Mr C, but I have enjoyed making apps, and avoiding arriving at 8am to be served at 12.30pm by the Marca reading civil servant. Often, like hacienda or for dni or registry stuff, I only wait 5-10 mins now. Of course it would all be resolved if online worked for everything and not just making apps.

    Funny thing this morning. I headed down what I thought was a one way street, when suddenly 2 cars are racing towards me. I pulled over sharpish, executed a 9 point turn and returned to the beginning feeling quite sheepish. I checked the signage, and turns out I was right all along. Obviously an ‘atajo’ for some drivers.


    • Ah yes. Very good point. But getting us all comp savvy people out the way, will hopefully lessen the waiting time for when older people go without an appointment.

      It is a problem the way we are cutting our elders off. I remember in 2016 Barclays put giant tablets to replace ATMs. My Mum was clueless, her and many others. In the end a permanent staff member was there to assist. Bonkers. It was in Stockport.


  2. Again! Told you I was having trouble with this PC

    . . . The customers.

    Personally, I’ve never minded waiting. I learnt 22 years ago to always take my current book with me at all times. Or kindle.


    • They didn’t. It’s always been one way. I am so used to it, I lazily didn’t check the sign at the beginning. So when I saw the 2 cars heading towards me, I thought it had changed in the last few days, but it hasn’t. They were using it as a shortcut to avoid traffic.


  3. “British [English] false modesty is worse than [American] bragging, says this cheeky chap. But, yes, it is frequently taken for hypocrisy by foreigners who don’t have a chance of understanding it.” (False) modesty is something you certainly do not seem to be afflicted with.


    • Thank-you. I appreciate that. But, then, when I write I’m not the same person as I am in real life. And then there’s the question of what I am using humour for . . 1, In person, 2. When writing.


    • Oh, I forgot . . . I’ve never wanted to be stereotypically ‘British/English’ Even though I do hide some of my light under a bushel . . . Can’t entirely escape your cultural upbringing.


  4. Another amusing event yesterday. The local Coruña cops had set up a speed trap on a dual carriageway in to Coruña. They had at least 7 cars pulled over. The one that brought a smile to my face was the last one, the Autoescuela car.


  5. My daughter in the UK has just had excellent NHS treatment in Stepping Hill hosp in Stockport. Except when it wasn’t, from time to time. And the trans woman on her ward.


  6. Having read Jeremy Warner’s (one of the few sensible toxigraph commentators) article, I guess that the conclusion one should reach is: revert Brexit and join the Euro.


  7. In 50 years I will be dead. Has the UK 50 years to find out? Japan was the superstar economy 30 years…it is basket case now. Its GDP per head is lower than Britain…wait…it gets worse…its GDP/Head level is now with Spain. Who would have thought? Lol as they say nowadays. China has probably peaked. The USA….who knows? I hope they continue doing well for good of the (rest of) world – but their problems seem to getting worse…..So why worry how the German economy will be in 50 years. Britain does not have 50 years to sort out Brexit.


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