16 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

An update on the driving licence imbroglio, though I’m not clear how beneficial it is to Brits coming here, either as visitors or residents. Looks like the latter will still have to take local tests.

The Spectacular Spanish Region that Brits Haven’t Discovered. Galicia looks like Cornwall, with the added benefit of warmer weather and better food and wine:The DT

In 22 years here, I’ve never heard Galicia referred to as The Cornwall of Spain but I guess it’s fair enough. As is the whole article. Though I do have a few minor quibbles:-

  • The British haven’t discovered Galicia. Well, not as a package-tour destination, that’s true. But more and more come each year, and not just on the camino.
  • The Brit deficit might well reflect the fact that it’s not strictly true that sunshine is pretty much guaranteed from June to September. It’s not unknown for it to rain much of July or August.
  • Some folk along the coast and in the cities might live very well but a lot in the countryside don’t. Overall, Galicia is the 2nd or 3rd poorest region in Spain.
  • The facade of the SdC cathedral is not totally Baroque. The original church was built in the 12th century, in Romanesque style. Elements of this remain in the main facade and even more so in minor facades. See here, if interested in details.
  • I’ve never tasted the tang of sea spray in Albariño wine. If you want this, try percebes(goose barnacles), usually described by me as like rubber dipped in salt water.
  • Locals in Vigo certainly did eat octopus and oysters from street stalls in the old town but these were tarted up years ago – the stalls not the locals – and now primarily serve the many thousands of cruise shippers disgorged a few metres away.
  • You need a reservation to get close to Las Catedrales beach so you can take a foto of it. Something else that wasn’t the case years ago.
  • I’m not sure that The Rías Baixas are still undeveloped compared to other parts of Spain. It’s certainly a long ribbon development but it’s true there aren’t hundreds of hi-rise hotels and apartment blocks.
  • Yes, fly to Oporto/Porto. If you are north of London, that’s really your only bloody choice. There are bus and train options from there to Galicia. Not for nothing is there a sign there saying it’s The Airport for All Galicians .

The raspberries I bought yesterday came under the brand name Driscoll’s. And, strangely, with everything on the pack written in English. I knew the name O’Driscoll from a friend in primary school and believed it to be Irish. As it is . . Irish (Cork): shortened Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hEidirsceóil ‘descendant of the messenger’ , from eidirsceól ‘go-between, interpreter, intermediary, news bearer’. Bearers of this Irish surname claim descent from a single 10th-century ancestor.

By the way, the raspberries came in a cardboard box with the sticker 94% less plastic. From Morocco. Beats me. Perhaps they were intended for the British distributors who can’t afford to buy them.

I have a vague memory of reading about this crazy event pre-Covid. Must make an attempt to see it this year.

Well, it was back down to earth as regards my To Do list today. Only 1 out of 4 tasks achieved. But I did manage to leave my car in the taller first thing. With luck, the score will rise to 2 out of 5.

And talking of shopping, I was told in Gadis supermarket this morning that it’s forbidden to take fotos of the fresh fish stall there. By which time I’d done so, of course. Wonder if this is true of, say, M&S or Lidl.


I’ve read comments on Credit Suisse over the years so wasn’t too surprised to read this from Richard North this morning: My Swiss-born neighbour has been telling me for some years of the corruption, incompetence and downright fraud in the bank, how it is held together will Sellotape and string, and how it could collapse at any time, with potentially devastating effect on the global banking system. RN cited this site in support of this statement

The Way of the World

A modern feminist writes amusingly – but very seriously – below . . .


A ras de: At the level of-

A ras del mar: On the surface. Where the mini-narcosubmarines are mistaken for waves and so can’t be detected and tracked by radar.

Did you know?

If you read the SdC Wiki entry above, you’ll have seen the phrase: ‘draining the last section of urban roads: French, Primitive, northern and English’. As I suspected, this was someone’s translation form the Spanish entry: donde desemboca el último tramo urbano de los caminos Francés, Primitivo, del Norte e Inglés a través de la antigua puerta Francígena o puerta del Paraíso. So, I put it in Google and Deepl and came up with:-

  • Google: where the last urban section of the French, Primitive, Northern and English roads ends through the old Francigena gate or Gate of Paradise.
  • Deepl; where the last urban section of the French, Primitive, Northern and English roads meet through the old Francigena or Paradise Gate.

In both cases, ‘roads’ should be caminos, of course.

Finally . . .

For new readers:- 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.


Have you had it up to here with the fight for women’s rights? Me too: Deborah Ross, The Times

Hello. Exciting day today as I’m launching a movement for feminists who want to be likeable. LFM, the Likeable Feminist Movement, that’s what it’s called. And it’s not before time.

It’s needed. Badly. The fight for women’s rights, who hasn’t had it up to here? It’s a drag and a bore and it’s a job done. Indeed, as research from the Global Institute of Women’s Leadership revealed this week, 38 per cent of Gen Zs think feminism has “gone too far” and wouldn’t advocate for it.

They’d only get it in the neck for their trouble anyhow. Or, as the study puts it, they “fear reprisals” and a “backlash” and are “scared to speak out” — and if you were to respond to that by saying that’s the patriarchy for you (oh God, the p-word) and that’s misogyny for you (oh God, the m-word), and this is why old-school feminism was invented by old-school feminists, and this is what the fight’s about, then the LFM isn’t for you, my friend. Go and be not that likeable somewhere else. We’re the likeable ones.

Also, and I don’t know how to break this gently to you so I’ll just say it: you need to lighten up a little. What is it with you, always bandying around the p-word and the m-word? I’m guessing I’m not the first person to point out that you’re probably no fun to be around. Don’t you want to be fun to be around? You can be fun to be around. You can. I am 100% confident about that. As one young woman who is now fun to be around told me, “Once I stopped embracing the qualities that feminism foolishly encourages you to question, which has gone too far, I became extremely fun to be around.

OK, I earn less than the men in my office, but I’m more than liked, I’m beloved. As my boss said to me just the other day, ‘Jenny, we trust you not to assert yourself, and we love that about you.’ ” She added that when she left that day to put the dinner on, “I was on cloud nine”. And later, when she was cooking, clearing up, doing the laundry then the unpaid extra work she’d been asked to bring home, and after that soothing her partner’s ego because he’d had a tough day, “I was still buzzing, you know?” She added: “I was going to say I’d work for nothing but then remembered I practically do!”

This is still feminism, just to be clear. You can still call yourself a feminist. You can still wear Dior’s “We should all be feminists” T-shirt (£690) because everyone should be a feminist, for sure. We know it’s still a man’s world . . . no, wait, that’s not who we are! We’re feminists but not those feminists. We aren’t the aggressive or over-the-top kind. We’re the nice ones.

Why not come to one of our open evenings? Then you can see for yourself how we don’t bang on about the 109 women who are murdered by men every year in this country or the one in 100 rapes recorded by the police that result in a charge. We make cupcakes. Our “p” is for “palatable”. Our “m” is for “men, you won’t be threatened by us”. If we do have reason to call the police, guess what? They might get back in touch to ask us out. That’s how fun we are to be around. Germaine Greer, no police officer ever asked her out, I bet.

The bottom line is: at LFM we’re not going to make you uncomfortable by challenging the social structures. That’s not how we do things round here. Sexual harassment, the wage gap, flashers who aren’t investigated, unsafe streets after dark, reproductive rights, coercive control, sexual assault, pension inequalities, FGM, sexist medical practices . . . yes, there is a time and place to speak out about these things, but this isn’t the time. Or the place. It’s not our way. As for LFM playing straight into men’s hands, get over yourself, please. That’s what an older feminist would say, but we all know the trouble with them: ugly, and can’t get a man. It was never bravery at all.


  1. “Some folk along the coast and in the cities might live very well but a lot in the countryside don’t. Overall, Galicia is the 2nd or 3rd poorest region in Spain.” I had read the article before you mentioned it in your post, and it had struck me that it must have been the first time a British paper did not write how regional out-of- the-fringe Spain was less than well off. Then again, times and perceptions change. From the perspective of Norway or Switzerland Galicia, is probably still sort of poor. But from the UK’s perspective? Really? I reckon poverty stricken northern parts of Britain are as poor if not poorer than Galicia. Apart from that, coastal areas and the cities comprise 80% of Galicia’s population. Therefore, the rural inland territories are not really that representative, although I am sure, and I agree with you in that, many people living there are poor. Also, just a correction. Galicia has moved up the income per head league table. It is no more third poorest but has moved nearer the middle of the rankings overtaking neighbouring Asturias, and some other place I can’t remember.


  2. Possibly. Maybe you are right. But it is perhaps worth putting things into context. In 2017 drug trafficking in the UK was worth £10 Billion. Almost a third of the EU’s total at the time. This according to figures readily available on the internet. I never ever heard being said or saw written that the UK economy is fuelled by illicit drug trade. Although it seems to be a bigger component than of that of Galice.


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