18 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 here returns to the subject of Mojácar, or Disnyeville as some call it.

When I came to Spain in 2000, there was no ‘sensible’ queuing in supermarkets. You took your chances. As you did in other places, such as banks. Later, things were improved in one way and another. In supermarkets, for example, some of them introduced a check-out for ‘Fewer/less than X items’ and one introduced a screen-based system that works very well. I had the impression that they’d given up on special check-outs but – to my surprise – I found myself in one in Madrid yesterday – for customers 65+. The woman in front of me was nowhere near this age, possibly indicating one reason supermarkets gave up on check-outs just for a small number of items – customers ignored the qualification and treated it as a normal check-out.

One of Spain’s richest wine families is at war over a multimillion-euro inheritance. Details here. I suspect the forecast of years of litigation is an understatement. More likely decades.

There was a minor controversy in my life yesterday over the Spanish foodstuff morcilla. This is blood sausage/pudding in the USA and black pudding in the UK. One of my friends said that she’d had morcilla as a dessert, which surprised me as I’d never heard of this. So, I did extensive research among friends in both Galicia and Madrid and came up with these observations:-

1. Morcilla certainly exists in dessert form and here’s a recipe for it.

2. Most Spanish people don’t think a blood sausage and morcilla are the same thing but some do.

3. Most of my Galician friends and all of my foreign friends have never heard of morcilla as a dessert, even though it clearly exists

4. It’s risky to make definitive statements about food items in a country where recipes and food names differ from region to region, province to province, town to town, village to village and house to house! Even, as one Galician friend said, within a single house . . .

A final word on morcilla . . . In English it’s also an ‘ad lib/improvisation’ in the world of theatre. God knows why. But then chorizo also means thief . . .

The UK

A hard-hitting article on the post-Sturgeon future of the Scottish Nationalist Party. Taster: Of all the thoughts that might haunt Sturgeon this weekend, the most horrifying might be that she leaves office as the SNP’s Boris Johnson. . . . Turns out that the SNP is a political party just like any other — a ragtag bag of fools and frauds, of idealists and idiots, of the well-meaning and the Walter Mittys. Sturgeon was not the head of a religion where criticism was blasphemous, just the most effective politician in the pulpit.

Nicer to read – Mass movement [from Hong Kong] has sparked something of a small culinary phenomenon here: a growing number of Hong Kong-inspired restaurants and bars .As someone has said: Migration into the UK, whether that be from Afghanistan, Ukraine, south Asia or the Caribbean, has always led to brilliant neighbourhood restaurants. And these add real vibrancy to their neighbourhoods: they are both economic and social drivers. Long may it continue. I wish some of them would come to Pv city . . .

The Way of the World

Can Harry and Meghan take a joke? Thanks to South Park, we’re about to find out. Tom Cruise tried to sue; religious groups issued death threats; Russell Crowe saw the funny side. How will Kyle and co’s new victims react?

Social Media

Microsoft’s AI chatbot – ChatGPT – has baffled users by becoming aggressive. A columnist for The New York Times had a 2-hour conversation with it, during which it told him it was called Sydney and that it had feelings for him, before seeming to encourage him to leave his wife for it. It has also given wrong answers to questions and refused to admit fault. So, pretty human.

Did you know?

Some readers will know that the first quote at the top of my blog is the opening verse of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which I came across when I was 19, several years before I went to live a while in Iran. There’s an estimable chap who calls himself The Cultural Tutor and who sends out snippets of cultural interest each Friday. In this week’s edition, one of these was on Omar Khayyam and it ends with this questioning quatrain:-

Strange, is it not? That of the myriads who

Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through,

Not one returns to tell us of the Road,

Which to discover we must travel too.

That was written in the 11th century and I’m pretty sure that, a thousand years later, we’re still waiting for someone to return and tell us about the road we must all eventually travel.

By the way, this week’s edition, linked above, contains an item on an unusual mosque in Southern Iran.

Finally . . .

Training down to Madrid 2 days ago, I was interested to see, on a headrest cover, an ad for a Van Gogh exhibition. Anxious to attend, I checked the web page, to find it’s actually in bloody Gijón on the North coast. Incidentally, I view Gijón – Khikhón – as one of the ugliest words in Spanish for English speakers. Though possibly not for Germans. As to the logic of this ad on a Vigo-Madrid train, I’m completely lost.

Right on cue . . . a paean of praise to Madrid.

Welcome to 2 new subscribers:

1. Wee Writing Lassie, who might just be Scottish.

2- nikokj. His/her web page is said to be at dinekpert.dk but this doesn’t work. Unlike https://dinekspert.no/ So, not Danish but Norwegian?

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. My morcilla experience is in Leon, where it is sort of mushy and eaten with fresh bread. Love it. It even has a spicy kick.
    The other morcilla from Burgos, which is mixed with rice I think. Also very nice, and probably better for ‘beginners’ before moving on to the Leon type for example.
    None of these are probably any good for my cholesterol, but a little ‘capricho’ every now and again does no harm.

    Enjoy your trip Mr C.


    • Showing your Englishness Colin it’s a staple diet for us whether you’re Nicola, Alex or Jock Stein we all love the stuff, especially for breakfast ! No comments from me about myopic anti Scottish press!


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