9 March 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’


Perry has sent a comment in which cold water is thrown on heat pumps, not heat pimps as I originally typed. Which leaves me wondering just why they’re so popular in Poland, especially as their efficiency is said to decrease once it gets really cold. Is it a question of far more better-insulated new builds in a rapidly developing economy?

Cosas de España/Galiza

Parties of the Left are always fissiparous, so it’s no great surprise that the government coalition partners – PSOE and Podemos – seem to be at daggers drawn over one thing and another. And it’s a 3-way schism if we include the Sumar ‘platform/movement/association’ of Sra Díaz, the Ministress of Labour and the Social Economy. Not a good look ahead of an imminent general election. The good news is that, if we are to have another PP government, it might not have to rely on the egregious Vox party as a coalition partner.

The Mediador corruption case has ‘arrived in Galicia’. Investigations have begun into the construction process for the Guardia Civil barracks in La Coruña.

Fascinating Spain brings us the country’s ‘most impressive monuments’.

Gallego comes in at no. 37 in the list of the 50 most powerful languages in the world, and Basque at no 38. To be frank, I’m not sure these rankings are meaningful at this distance from the top 5, which are:-

  1. English
  2. French
  3. Spanish
  4. German
  5. Russian

I imagine that Spanish is climbing and will eventually overtake French, and that Russian might well be reducing these days.

Are you a machista? To help you decide, here’s something from the relevant Spanish ministry.

A spoof, of course. Almost certainly written by un hombre/varón/macho.

I wonder what this headline means: Galicia has 3,200 companies asphyxiated by debt. I guess I could read the article.

At last! Some positive roundabout news . . . As I suspected, if I don’t signal left when I enter a roundabout and only signal right when I’m exiting it, far fewer drivers drive across me. Almost none in fact. Maybe that’s why someone Spanish told me one day that No one signals left in Spain.


A spot of bother over pension reforms which most non-Frogs would see as essential. And inevitable. But they like to fight, the French. At least against socio-economic reforms. Maybe too used to the EU-stimulated comforts . . .


Well, he was always an imbecile . . .

The Way of the World

Progress. Of a sort.


My Hamburg friend tells me that the Fuggers were always the Fuggers and never the Fuckers. So, probably the first phoney insertion in Wiki that I’ve fallen for. Or the first I know about, anyway.


  • Descalabro: One word, several (alleged) meanings:- Set back, disaster, defeat, breakdown, debacle, meltdown, calamity, and blow. In a VdG headline to a match report: Bayern Munich 2: PSG 0.
  • Desdibujado: Blurred, vague, faded. Messi in that match.
  • Desasistido: Abandoned: Mbappé.

Did you know?

These are the most attractive folk in the world, believe it or not . . .

Finally . . .

I have no compunction about writing that I’ve had 3 periods of severe depression during my (long) life, approximately 15 years apart and all cured by the ‘medieval’ treatment of ECT. I’m told I have a 75% chance of another serious depression – in 2025, I guess – so was very interested to read of an effective new non-drug technique here. There’s a stripped down version below, for those who want a shorter insight. I hope it helps at least one reader who, like me, knows that depression is no fun. I once tried to write amusingly about it but gave up not long after I’d started . . . It doesn’t compute, as they say.

Another way life might not go the way you want it to . . .

We must stop meeting like this; People are beginning to talk . . .

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.


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) — the activation provided by the headset.

There are depressives for whom the drugs don’t work, plus more than 1.4m waiting to see a therapist in Britain alone.

Flow is a treatment combining a brain-exercising headset targeting the physical causes of depression, and a therapy app addressing behavioural aspects such as sleep, diet and exercise. No chemicals, no waiting lists, no side-effects, comes the assurance. Just £299 for a headset (£79 a month rental) with a 30-day money-back guarantee for those whose misery hasn’t improved after 3 weeks. Some 83% of headset users see advances within this period, 4 out of 5 going on to strongly recommend Flow.

Last week it was announced that NHS patients with depression or anxiety will be prescribed self-help apps that deliver CBT online under treatment guidelines. About 40,000 people will be offered the web-based courses during an initial trial. The apps will provide a first-line treatment option aimed at supplanting antidepressants with non-drug-based approaches. There’s also talk of replacing pills with art, music or gardening classes .

Flow is available in Europe, the UK, Norway and Hong Kong. More than 50,000 people have deployed the Flow app (it’s free, so some use this alone), while more than 8,000 have stimulated using the headset, a tenfold growth during the past 2 years. Last year more than 50 clinics were offering Flow as a therapy, up to 5 joining every week. They included psychiatry units, specialist facilities for severe depression, hospitals and primary care practices.

Devices are available to buy online, while there’s an amateur community attempting to construct their own.

Flow is a cinch. You download the app, then there’s a spot of guff, plus sundry smiling animal images. It assesses your levels of dejection using the widely used Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-s), then guides you through your first stimulation.

You unseal a pair of saline-soaked sponges, attach them to the (charged) headset’s electrodes, then your phone’s selfie mirror guides you in, positioning them over your frontal lobes. A single click, 4 notes, and away you go. Zapping comes via this aforementioned non-invasive brain stimulation technique called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), used as a treatment for psychological disorders for more than a decade in-clinic, activating areas of the brain that experience fewer electrical impulses during depression.

Full disclosure: it stings. I have extremely sensitive skin, and one gets used to it. I sleep extremely well, but have a spot of head and neck ache the next morning, possibly because I’ve been clenching.

Flow recommends completing 15 sessions to ascertain whether one wants to stick with it. (That’s 5 a week for 3 weeks for this “activation phase”, fewer thereafter.)

The lack of side-effects with tDCS is groundbreaking. More than 60%of people suffer serious side-effects from antidepressants that can be life-altering, lasting long after treatment stops.

Data estimates that 65-75% of Flow’s impact can be attributed to brain stimulation, with the remaining 25-35% attributed to the behavioural content.”

There are several large clinical studies which demonstrate that combining tDCS with an SSRI gives an enhanced effect.

50% of patients report improved sleep during their first 6 weeks. Flow is also able to provide a solution for demographics that are “typically less well served by existing depression treatments”, namely the 50-plus age group and men.

Half of Flow’s users have been zapping for more than 6 months, 30% for more than a year, showing sustained benefits. Critics argue that we are yet to discover the long-term consequences of tDCS, but depression itself has long-term side-effects.

Flow is about as far away from a lobotomy as you can get. Flow tDCS, is more akin to a brain massage to promote activity.


  1. Insulation in Europe, old or new buildings, is generally infinitely better on the continent – with the possible exception of Spain/Portugal? – than in the UK. Insulation in the UK is generally atrocious. I was discouraged of installing a heat pump by the lady selling it to me (sic). I bet all buildings in Poland have excellent insulation-specially the old soviet ones.
    I was told, to my surprise, by a French lady last year that in France they expect French to overtake Spanish as the third most spoken language in the world, after English and Chinese, in about 30 years. That is because of the rise in population in Africa.


  2. Thanks.

    A lot of better things happen in countries that are much colder or hotter than the UK. Their time has come. Didn’t much matter when energy was a readily available and cheap.

    The price of being an old country and having a temperate climate.

    Así son las cosas.



  3. Flow looks very interesting, need to investigate more.

    Insulation. Here in Spain it is terrible. Now, however with rising energy costs, it is suddenly seen as a necessity. It will take decades to fix the older buildings. Many of the houses I work in have never had roof insulation. Also SATE is becoming popular for insulating the entire exterior of a property. Useful, when interior rooms are too tight to fix up with rockwool and plasterboard.


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