7 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’

Cosas de España/Galicia

The VdG has reviewed the fight against drug trafficking over the last 35 years and concluded that, though there have been some successes, the narcotraficantes have access to greater resources than the police and so are winning the war. So much so, says the paper, that there’s an excess of drugs such as cocaine, leading to falls in prices

The oddest item on this theme was that the lack of civil servants and excess bureaucracy has prevented the sale of 60[sic] million-dollar properties of Sito Miñanco [one of our best-known drug barons] being auctioned off.

Bizarre Train News: Some heads have rolled because 31 of the FEVE trains I mentioned, by coincidence, yesterday – ordered in 2018 – don’t fit the tracks. Or the tunnels. Not sure which but I think it’s the latter.

I listen for much of the day to the Swiss classical music channel I cited a while ago. What is very noticeable is the perfect pronunciation of the names of English musicians and composers. This contrasts rather severely with the mangling of these by most Spanish announcers.

I’ve heard some strange Spanish forenames in the last 20 years – usually those of religious origin such as Dolores, Milagro, Purificación and Penitencia. But yesterday’s Natividad was a new one to me.

The UK

Pretty obvious, I guess: As memories of the 1960s and 1970s fade, it is no longer obvious to most people that an alternative embrace of socialist planning is doomed to fail. There is a new millennial generation who only have experience of capitalism’s pathologies and hypocrisies. Put simply, the Right will continue to lose the argument on capitalist growth until it acknowledges the fact that right now, capitalism is not working in the way we would like. Simply declaring that “profit isn’t a dirty word” in defence of gas companies extracting bumper wartime profits from a totally botched energy market doesn’t win many votes. The Right needs to be far more confident in confronting failed markets. Most importantly, pro-capitalists need to be able to look people in the eye and tell them sacrifices need to be made by all. Some of those sacrifices must fall on comfortable baby boomers into whom it has been drilled that selfish individualism is a virtue. Do they mean us?

A reader has commented on private healthcare in the UK, expressing surprise that anyone who can afford it sticks to the NHS, as if it were a sacred totem. Which it is, of course. In 22 years, I’ve used it once – in a nocturnal emergency during a visit and got both excellent and woeful treatment. As did my younger daughter a month ago. I read yesterday – but didn’t cite – an horrific account of someone with agonising gallstones who was told he wasn’t a priority in A&E and would have to wait 8 to 12 hours before being seen. When he finally said he’d prefer to be in agony at home, a doctor did quickly appear – to ask him to sign a form saying he was leaving of his own accord. Is no one in the UK capable of reforming this monster, other than by throwing more and more money at it?

The Way of the World

She is an inferior woman with fake boobs. (S)he is real woman who’s had gender-affirming healthcare. Current madness. One day we will laugh at it.

Did you know?

When asked about the accuracy of the alleged facts in his Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown gave 2 different answers – 99% and 100%. To get an answer that is rather closer to the truth, start with this (amusing) podcast and then move to the 2nd.

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.