13 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

Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas returns to the subject of (rapacious) Spanish banks here. Impossible not to share his perspective. And they really don’t care what anyone thinks. Friends in high places?

It’s not only the UK where there’s widespread dissatisfaction with public healthcare. It’s reported that, in Santiago de Compostela yesterday: Thousands of people (25,000 according to the local police, double according to the organizers) demonstrated to demand that the deterioration of public health be halted and primary care be strengthened. This followed similar – but much bigger, of course – demonstrations in Madrid. At least no one blames Brexit here. Quite the opposite, I guess, if Spanish nurses are returning from the UK.

From my salón window, I can see a long horizontal gash halfway up the small mountain on the other side of Pv city. It’s a new bypass being built – the A57. I don’t know how much it was estimated to cost, nor how long was forecast for completion but I assume both metrics will actually be at least double the original numbers. Some support for my scepticism comes from the report that a minor road to a nearby village has already been closed for 6 months, against the forecast of 3 months. Sadly, there’s no betting company in Spain offering me odds. And, if there were, I guess it wouldn’t give me good ones on very significant cost and time overruns. No one ever expects this not to happen.

Talking of making easy money . . . The web tells me that 2n-hand Rolex Supermariner watches sell for 10,000 dollars. And yet I saw one in the flea market for €100 yesterday. So, I am either €100 down or c.€10,000 up. I’ll let you know.


Back to rugby . . . .This is the sort of book, says a reviewer, best read over a hunk of pâté de campagne and an expectation-lowering bottle of red, or two. It’s full of the joys of France and its rugby as seen by an enthusiast.


This is a very disturbing blog-post on the earthquakes there and the corruption behind them. An untold number of deaths, claims the writer, was entirely preventable, and stem from corrupt government and political failure. Turkey is a (difficult) member of NATO and aspires to join the EU. Unlike Greece it doesn’t seem able to blague its way in on the basis of data known to be false. It’s reported that negotiations ground to a halt in 2016 and that it doesn’t look like they are going to resume any time soon. country’s poor human rights record in over the years has been singled out as a sticking point for EU membership. And now there’s this dreadful consequence of corruption that might yet bring down the egregious president Erdogan.

The Way of the World

As you’ll all know, Microsoft is integrating the artificial intelligence engine, ChatGPT with its Bing search engine. This is said to have triggered a panicky “code red” at Google, as its cash-cow comes under real threat. The company’s employees have accused it of moving at the pace of slime mould.

So . . . Which of these do you fear most. Assuming you fear either of them.


I recently mentioned the possible death of major countries from a low birth-rate and, thus, a declining, ageing population. Here’s an article on a case in point – Japan. Where numerous ‘witch houses’ are one of the consequences.

Social Media

1. Truly appalling algorithms

2. Possibly the latest trend – de-influencers . . .

Quote of the Day

A lot of parents try to instil in their children a need to write meaningful thank-you letters and clear the table, but I’ve said to mine that by far the most important thing in life is to make people laugh. Because, if you do, you are making them happy. And what greater gift is there than that? Mind you, this is from a chap whom a lot of folk don’t find particularly funny.


Attachment style: Allegedly what Gen Z kids are most interested in knowing about a potential partner – How he/she behaves in a relationship. Just as important as having shared hobbies or being attracted to each other, it’s said. In psychology, attachment theory identifies 3 distinct patterns of behaviour in relationships – avoidant, anxious or secure. Labelled ‘therapy speak’ by older folk. Or on TikTok, ‘Therapy Tok’. Brave New World indeed.


Un publireportaje: An infomercial or advertorial. In our local press, usually a full page in a slightly different typeface.

Finally . . .

A topical cartoon. For the :-

Welcome to new subscriber: Imran Asghar.

For new readers:-

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