22 February 2023

And, lo, has caught the sultan’s turret In a noose of light!

Awake, for morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

 Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’


Did I already post this? Ignore it, if so . . .

But this is new . . . On heat pumps: Poland is rapidly undergoing a heat pump revolution – and is breaking records in the process. The contrast with the UK is stark.

Cosas de España/Galicia

Something of a surprise, as heads rarely roll in Spain. But it is an election year and this farce made the government look very foolish:-

Something more controversial from Poland . . . x 2

This is an interesting map of the most significant company in each of Spain’s provinces. For Galicia, these are:-

  • La Coruña: Inditex – parent company of Zara, etc.
  • Lugo: Rio de Galicia – milk producer
  • Pontevedra – Peugeot-Citroen in Vigo
  • Ourense – Coren foods. Mostly chicken, I think.

Some travel notes:-

  1. On trains to and from Galicia, the announcements are in 3 languages – Spanish, Galician and English, When the last one is the recorded voice of a native speaker, no problem. But when it’s live, as it was yesterday after Ourense, I can’t understand more than the occasional word. Even though I know what’s being said, after hearing the Spanish and Galician equivalents.
  2. There are works at Chamartin station in Madrid and the entrance to the main concourse is blocked off. If there’s a sign telling you how to get to the latter, I missed it. But did eventually get there. To find . . .
  3. The location of the security machines for long-distance trips has been changed again, for at least the 3rd time in the last 6 months. What hasn’t changed is the inadequacy of the seats for those waiting to know which platform to go to.
  4. They have a problem with escalators at Chamartin. At least one of of those up from the metro to the mainline concourse is never working and yesterday the one down to our platform wasn’t working either. Wonder why. It’s something of a nuisance when you have a suitcase.

The UK

No huge surprise: Sir Keir Starmer: I loathed the unprincipled, lying Boris Johnson. It was obvious he and I really loathed each other. We really never spoke behind the scenes very much.

The UK/Social Media

For the last 2 – 3 weeks, the British media has been obsessed with the unexplained disappearance of a woman who’d been taking her dog for a walk alongside a river. I’ve tried to ignore it but now we know there’s almost certainly no crime involved, I see there’s a lot of criticism of the depressingly ghoulish comments and activities of many members of the public. For example, here and here. Extract: This callous and self-regarding behaviour by members of the public is the product of social media. Internet content that exploits other people’s suffering has been termed “trauma voyeurism”. The culture of voyeurism is perhaps the most corrosive element of both social media and reality TV, in which interactions with the real world and personal relationships with real people are replaced by vicarious experience. A much worse example of the rubber-necking one sees at accidents on highways. Too many people are not really nice to know. If we didn’t know that before the internet came along, we certainly do now.


There is, it says here, a growing theory that Macron will walk away, leaving a successor (probably Marine Le Pen) to deal with a country polarised, overtaxed, smothered in debt, its infrastructure, school system and health service threadbare, incapable of slowing down. Plausible? Credible?


Quite a church: The Mormon Church[The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] and its investment management company have agreed to pay a combined $5m to settle charges that they hid the church’s $32bn[!] stock portfolio from the public. But not as bad as child abuse, of course.


Inside Russia: Traitors and Heroes. A BBC/Storyville review that might be of interest, if you’re in the UK or have a VPN.

After his latest speech to the Russian people, the question inevitably arises: Is Putin merely either paranoid or psychotic? Or both? One thing’s very possibly true – He believes the stuff/guff he spouts. A very dangerous autocrat, with a history of both internal and external appalling violence. It’d be nice to see him go, if there were anything giving confidence Russia would throw up someone better. If not, see the comforting song cited under Finally below.

A professional view of the speech.  Putin wasn’t just droning on, he was announcing a pivot.

Ukraine v Russia

Richard North, on that speech: Whatever the nuances, what we saw and heard pointed to a declaration of perpetual war. No one could be confident that there is an end in sight.

Quote of The Day

Social media encourages self-absorption and self-aggrandisement. Through the safety of vicarious experience, people can boast, blame, humiliate or pass judgment on others. But how do we stop it? Or at least curtail it? Especially among kids.


America/Americano: South America/American, as here:-

Did you know?

Oxford anthropologist Robin Dunbar has long demonstrated how gossip is central to humans. Homo sapiens has an insatiable appetite for gossip: around two-thirds of our conversations pick over the innermost thoughts, feelings and motivations of other people – their highs and lows, successes and indignities. The exchange of social information through gossip – ‘who is doing what with whom and whether it’s a good or bad thing’ – may even be the reason language evolved. That’s why even ‘respectable’ papers are filled with the kind of gabbing that would tilt the ear of any good Jane Austen gossip. Of course, in the so-called quality press, prattle is presented a little differently, disguised as something superior.

Finally . . .

A good question . . .

As Putin pulls Russia out the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty, this is a comforting fact to know.

Another columnist is surely right that: Meghan suing South Park would be the comedy event of the year.

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.