11 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’

Cosas de España/Galiza

I wish someone could convince Spaniards of this . . .Calling your opponents ‘fascists’ is not just crass. It’s stupendously lazy and boring.

Spain is reported here have the lowest absorption rate of EU funds. Relatedly, there was a report recently that Brussels is increasingly keen to know where disbursed funds are going/have gone. Perhaps this is acting as a brake.

Details here on how Spain’s feminists have fallen out this week.

More positively . . . Magical places here in ever-more-popular Galicia.

The UK

One way you can never go wrong . . .

Interesting. Brexit freedoms have made the UK a magnet for highly-skilled migrants, according to the OECD. Its data shows thatit has enabled Britain to lure more global talent.

The (modern) Scottish play continues, showing what can happen to nationalist parties when their goals are unobtainable, except by war. . . . Humza Yousaf last night poured petrol on the SNP civil war as he accused his main leadership rival of giving opposition parties “ammunition” to attack the independence movement. More here.


So, we have a new Entente Cordiale between the UK and France. Or at least between Sunak and Macron. But at the price of (another) 500m quid over 3 years as yet another bribe to stop folk leaving French shores for the UK. I will suspend my scepticism and wait to see how it goes.

The EU

It sets the standards for the world. Its fearsome negotiating power means it can get the best trade deals. And its Single Market is so huge that no one can afford to ignore it. The EU, and its most enthusiastic advocates, have long argued that its power as the world’s largest trade bloc means it is impossible to ignore. Anyone who attempted to stand up to it could simply be swatted aside, and countries might as well sign up to its rules because they would have to follow them anyway. Even worse, any country that left, such as the UK, would find itself an irrelevance on the world stage. For much of the last 30 years, there has been a lot of truth in those arguments. But right now, the EU’s influence is dramatically fading. Says this columnist, with his rationale. Which won’t appeal to everyone, of course.


Moldova claims it’s stopped a Ukraine-style initiative by Putin by preventing ‘soccer fans’ in balaclavas coming from the self-declared independent region of Transnistria. Who’d be surprised if this turns out to be an accurate claim.

Quote of The Day

An expert on the ‘partisan brain’ has noted that presenting people with examples of someone on ‘their side’ being hypocritical rarely changes behaviour. Rather people often “double down on their beliefs or ignore evidence that their behavior is inconsistent with the past.”

The Booker Prize, said Roald Dahl, was designed to celebrate novels that are “beautifully boring”. The same is true of the Oscars. Whichever film wins the prize for Best Picture tomorrow night, you can guarantee it will be beautifully boring.

Social Media

Emma Raducanu is a beautiful young lady and a not-bad tennis player. She’s also wise for her years. Despite – because of? – having 2.5m followers, she’s quit both Instagram and WhatsApp. Possibly to save her mental health, hitherto at the mercy of the many imbeciles who populate social media. And her own curiosity, of coruse.


To step back from your job: To be suspended. At least at the BBC


Useful phrases:-

  •  No es para menos: Not for nothing . .
  • Darse de bruces : To bump into; To come across suddenly.

Of the 2 bar staff in my midday tiffin place, one is Galician and the other is Cuban. They pronounce the letter J in a different way, with the Cuban version being softer, closer to the English H. Another point to emerge from the chat is that the Galician lady wasn’t aware that the ‘Spanish’ version of the Galician Sanxenxo(Sanshensho) was Sangenjo(Sankhenkho). ‘How could they have changed the maps?’ She asked. ‘Well, they have’, I replied. ‘Just try getting Sangenjo on Google maps. Or Orense’.


El look: The appearance

Finally . . .

A top British DJ says he’s only just discovered the wonderful singer, Rumer. I recommend you check her out on Youtube or Spotify or wherever.

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. Buenos días Colin,

    With reference to your Quote of the Day regarding what the writer labels
    the “partisan brain”, I believe that is a reference to the ideas
    expressed in /The True Believer/ (1951), by Eric Hoffer, or work based
    upon this.  However, leaving the understanding and prediction of human
    behavior to psychology without incorporating recent and ongoing
    developments in the study of neurobiology results in a deficient and
    often incorrect understanding of behavior.

    For anyone interested in having more than a glib understanding of human
    behavior, Robert Sopolsky’s book /Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our
    Best and Worst/
    is a remarkably accessible yet rigorous introduction to the subject.  As
    stated on the cover, “Every act of human behaviour has multiple layers
    of causation, spiralling back seconds, minutes, hours, days, months,
    years, even centuries, right back to the dawn of time and the origins of
    our species.”  Mr. Sopolsky brings us up to date on understanding this.




    • I seem to have lost a message I just wrote . . .

      Many thanks for this. I will certainly read that book,

      I’ve been meaning to respond – for a month now! – to the last message you wrote. Yes, labels can be of limited use today and ‘fascist’ is possibly the least useful, generally speaking. Though ‘authoritarian’ possibly isn’t so useless.

      By coincidence, this is what a (very) Socialist friend wrote to me yesterday:-
      “The left-right distinction is too crude and needs refinement.
      There’s the left-right distinction in foreign policy/geopolitics.
      There’s the left-right distinction in economic matters.
      There’s the left-right distinction in social matters.
      It’s clear that these don’t always match up!”

      Un saludo muy cordial.



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