17 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

Spain – under a left-wing coalition government – continues to be in the social van. Next down the track is a gender law which will allow self-identification at 16 without parental approval.

An increasing number of young women self-identifying as men won’t do much good for Spain’s worryingly low birth rate, now at an historic low. There must be a strong case now for even more immigrants from South America and Africa, not to mention all those digital nomads looking to base themselves in somewhere warmer.

And then there’s the legislation, approved 2 days ago, which expands abortion and transgender rights for teenagers, while making Spain the first country in Europe to entitle workers to paid menstrual leave. The changes to sexual and reproductive rights mean that 16 and 17year-olds here can now undergo an abortion without parental consent. Period products will now be offered free in schools and prisons, while state-run health centres will do the same with hormonal contraceptives and the morning after pill. The menstrual leave measure allows workers suffering debilitating period pain to take paid time off. All rather at odds with Spain’s lingering macho image.

Talking of new laws . . . The prolific Lenox Napier writes here on the new animal-protection law. (Maybe tomorrow on the imminent gender law.)

See here if you want the stats on the current inflation rate. Why, I wonder, is that for food – at 15/16% – so high. Is this happening in other EU states or in the UK?

Spanish bureaucracy at its worst, says the VdG, it can take up to 4 months to get an appointment to apply for a licence to a civil wedding. And – ‘of course ‘- you can only (try) to get an appointment on line. The paper adds: La situación se repite en otros órdenes de la vida administrativa, como la solicitud de la nacionalidad. En este caso, la cita puede acumular casi medio año de retraso.

The UK

Many folk subscribe to to the myth that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are separate countries, possibly because – for historical reasons – their football teams play in international competitions. But they aren’t; they’re effectively regions in a unitary state, the United Kingdom. Which is “The most centralist political economy in Europe”. And in which there’s much less fiscal autonomy in the regions than there is for example, in Spain and Germany. Particularly as regards Cataluña and The Basque Country here. With Scottish independence off the agenda for the foreseeable future, the question arises of if and when London will permit a more federal model for the UK’s constituent bits. Which some see as the only solution to a growing constitutional crisis there. Not that it will solve all the problems, of course. And the multi-level Spanish model might not be the best to follow.

Meanwhile, the departing Mrs Sturgeon has had some very serious criticisms laid at her door. And not only in respect of her failure to advance the cause of independence. She’s also seen to have failed to make improvements in areas fully devolved to the Scottish government. Healthcare, for example. She has left Scotland poorer and less healthy, said one critic. And from another: To her fans, she is an idol of progressive values. But, to those who know her better, her resignation is a final face-saving gesture. I rather liked the description of her as a tribal leader for tribal times. Hopefully these are now over, assuming a less able political performer but better politician takes over from her. Meanwhile, here’s Effie Dean – never her biggest fan – on the lady.


The final (cheese) straw for the unhappy French? . . . None of their cheeses appear in the world’s top 10.


Sweden is already in recession and Germany is forecasted to be later this year. I might have missed it, of course, but I don’t recall reading that this is the fault of Brexit . . .


Do ordinary Russians support Putin’s war? Yes, they do, says this writer. Western analysts are spreading a false narrative,

The Way of the World

Something which many folk will look forward to seeing. Especially me. . . . South Park mocks Harry and Meghan as ‘attention-seeking couple who claim to want privacy’


1. From an excellent columnist: . . . one of the few cogent points that shined clearly out of the evidence . . . So, is ‘shined’ replacing ‘shone’?

2. From a UK government spokesperson: . . . an intensive consultation process into whether rules and guidance should be amended going forward. Can rules and guidance really be amended going backwards?

Allegedly, these are 5 great-value Spanish wines, along with food suggestions. In the UK at least. I’ve never heard of any of them but this isn’t really significant in a world of hundreds of labels.

Finally . . .

My younger daughter recently had a traumatic health experience. Very much on the mend, she’s published this post, with a view to helping others.

Talking of family blogs . . . Mine has both visitors and views. In theory, there can be just 1 visitor but 100 views, if I include 100 links. This morning I was surprised to see that the most views (4) had been made by someone in Vietnam. Nice to know, even as a one-off.

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. And there’s the Thoughts from Galicia FB group.


  1. I’ve experienced the state bureaucracy this week when I enquire for an update in the Catastro and they said they haven’t started the process. 3 months after we submitted the details!


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