6 February 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’


  1. Covid was devastating – why are we pretending it didn’t happen?
  2. The lethal cost of lockdowns . . . .

Cosas de España/Galicia

Galicia is the 2nd poorest region in Spain but 17% of people here have private medical insurance. Mind you, this compares with 34% in Cataluña and 38% in Madrid. The UK number is 13%. One reason for this disparity is that many organisations here – including the teachers’ union – provide this for members. Likewise with the lawyers’ association. Not surprisingly, private insurance here doesn’t garner the odium it does in the UK. Possibly because doctors work in both. And maybe because it’s a lot less expensive than in the UK. One positive result is that it relieves some pressure on an overstretched public healthcare system. One way or another, it’s not as politicised as it is in the UK

Another stat: Voluntary private health care as a percentage of total healthcare expenditure 2022

Spain 7.7% UK 2.8% Other countries here.

Extremadura: Tourism of the low-key, high-earning sort is finally making its mark, attracted by the natural advantages of a region that has been bypassed by both the construction boom of the 1990s and the mass-tourism boom of the early 21st century.

Animal News:

  1. Dogs. A major protest in Madrid against the inclusion of hunting dogs in a new animal protection law. Perhaps it would be enough to include a provision against hanging Galgos or dropping them down wells, etc. when they’re 2 years old.
  2. Pigs: It seems some rural folk have been led to believe pigs can fly and are now unhappy about those stuck on the ground.

This is the year to discover Spain by train, it says here . . . Of course, you don’t have to pay those prices. Just google FEVE trains for info on a trip along this magnificent coastline. Or click here or here. It’s the same train as that featured in the article but perhaps in a different carriage . . .

It seems I’ve done the Correos a disservice. It’s not the only place you can post a letter in the city. I saw this one yesterday, to the side of the fish and seafood market. I must have passed it hundreds of times in the past 22 years . . .

The UK

Modern capitalism is in crisis, it says here, as there’s widespread public dissatisfaction with it. Because consumers feel they are regularly being ripped off and not properly protected. Most importantly: These attitudes run deep into the middle classes, who are the new vulnerable. The government’s response is: “We are committed to ensuring consumers get a better deal and protecting their hard-earned money”. Which must rank as a prime example of what might be called Gov-ese or Govspeak. Or whatever Orwell called it.

Is modern capitalism very different in other countries?

Quote of the Day

Free societies can’t survive the elevation of feelings into facts – the headline of this article on the rise of hurtful individualism and the triumph of subjectivity over objectivity.

Did you know?

Switching from a touchpad to an external mouse delivers a number of benefits. In addition to a much higher productivity level, it’s also better for your well-being – a more relaxed shoulder, neck, and forearm ensure all-day comfort. Adding an external mouse to your laptop becomes a no-brainer, both in terms of efficiency and ergonomics. A totally objective view from the major manufacturer of mice. But I agree with it . . .

Finally . . .

To amuse . . . The style of Harry Styles . . .

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.

One comment

  1. The NHS is a great invention. But it is in a mess. I haven’t seen an NHS doctor in years. All private. And I can confirm private health is hugely expensive in the UK. But it was that or wait. I could wait. My daughter couldn’t. I have always wondered why people stick to the NHS as if it were a sacred Totem. One reason is that they get told that it is unique, and essentially, the envy of the world. The British media, with few exceptions, always looks to solutions to the US or some other anglo nation (which I think would be the totally wrong way to go). I am not going to claim that health systems in Germany, France, Spain , Italy and the Netherlands are perfect. They are not. But the results speak for themselves: lower infant mortality, better cancer survival rates, and longer life spans. Perhaps, another reason is that the public in Britain instinctively suspects that were change to come it would go the way of the US, and they see the NHS as the last bastion of statist welfare in an economy dominated by market consumerist solutions. The NHS is the last communist/socialist island in a wholly privatised ocean.


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