18 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

Back in the early 1940s, Gerald Brenan – ‘an indifferent novelist and second-rate poet’ – wrote, inter alia, a seminal book on Spain – The Spanish Labyrinth. And an amusing one – South from Granada. It seems he was quite free with his favours. But a loving father of his illegitimate daughter, born of his 15 year old maid. Well, it was either him or the local priest, I guess.

Hard to believe it could be possible but new (liberal) laws on pavement cafés and bars have made Spain ‘even noisier’.

Galicia and Asturias are seeking money from Brussels to help them develop their depopulated zones. And why not? That’s where the teats are. Nothing to lose.

My daughter and grandson are coming from Madrid next Thursday, going back the following Tuesday. Can anyone tell me why their fares cost more than twice as much when they’re coming than when they’re returning?

Talking of prices . . . Buying coffee in Mercadona this morning, I noticed that their strong natural coffee was 17% dearer that their normal stuff. Checking them with Yuka, I was surprised to see that the former rated 30%(Poor), against 90%(Excellent) for the cheaper stuff. Something to do with fat content, it seems. But odd.

Based on the evidence of my own eyes – and how I daily see how the 20+ local driving schools teach their pupils – I’d hazard a guess as to why “Spanish drivers never signal left” – They’re never taught to. Simples.

The UK

Richard North enters here the national (non)debate about illegal immigrants/economic migrants/refugees. Which won’t appeal to Guardian readers. Or not to the ‘radical progressive’ ones, at least.

Talking of these . . . Here’s a book which purports to explain why and how the formation of a new British cultural and economic elite has led to (continuing)popular revolt. Of which Brexit was one major element. And also a podcast of the author talking on this theme. I was horrified to hear I hit some of the criteria of these folk. But not the worst, of course. My views are progressive but not Progressive . . .


Having its own popular revolt, but for very different reasons-


So, the ICC has accused Putin of being involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children and has issued an arrest warrant alleging war crimes. TBH, I can’t see him turning up at the local cop shop and handing himself in. Unless he sends one of the several doubles he’s alleged to have. And then retires to bunker safety. Possibly to press a red button.


I didn’t know that it became part of Poland in the 1920s, only to be given to Russia when Stalin and Hitler carved up Poland and deleted it from the map. I wonder if anyone really understands the history of that part of the world.


Thanks to the use of Google, 5 funny translations of Spanish menus.

My favourite, seen in a local restaurant a few years ago:- Mejillones a la marinera: Mussels to the seaman’s blouse. (You might have to think about this one, or check out no. 8 here). On the same menu:- Codillo de cerdo: Pig’s elbow.

Less funny . . . Nodrizas: ‘Mother ships’ which bring the white stuff from South America, to be offloaded onto speedboats in our rías.

Did you know?

The best prawns in the world, says the estimable Mac, come from Denia. As it happens, I was there with one of my sisters (the Jewish one, not the Catholic one) when The Age of Covid began with the first lockdown. So, we were stuck there for 2 weeks, which ended in an 11 hour drive back to Pv city, when only petrol stations were allowed to be open.

Finally . . .

Just for Perry . . . I planted daffs many years ago and they did at one time seem to have proliferated. But this year I seem to have just one measly bud and many stalks. And the former has refused to open so far. Maybe because I seem to recall moving the bulbs some time last summer.

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.


  1. Colin,
    Your dafs have voted to abstain.

    Galicia is between Poland & Ukraine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galicia_(Eastern_Europe)#/media/File:Region_of_Galicia_in_modern_Europe_map.png


    Shrimps from Dénia led me down a pleasurable rabbit hole.

    History of Ukraine.
    There was this, but not accessible now. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclopedia_of_Ukraine
    These two videos are very informative.


  2. Wallsend 84 miles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowness-on-Solway#/media/File:Pavilion_at_the_start_and_end_of_the_Hadrian's_Wall_Path_at_Bowness,_Cumberland_-_geograph-2884530.jpg

    Although Genghis Khan had been enthroned with the Han-style title of Emperor in 1206 AD & the Mongol Empire had ruled territories including modern-day northern China for decades, it was not until 1271 AD that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Han style & the conquest was not complete until 1279 when the Southern Song dynasty was defeated in the Battle of Yamen. So & regrettably, no boats needed to pass the end of the Great Wall. 😭

    Yuan Dynasty (Mongol) 1271 AD –1368 AD
    Ming Dynasty (Han) Chinese) 1368 AD – 1644 AD
    Qing Dynasty (Manchu) 1644 AD – 1912 AD

    Hainan Island recorded by Chinese Mandarin officials in 110 BC, when the Han dynasty of China established a military garrison there following the arrival of General Lu Bode. OTOH, Taiwan was only annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China & ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895. The Republic of China, which had overthrown the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan following the surrender of Japan in 1945. Japan would renounce sovereignty over Taiwan in 1952. The immediate resumption of the Chinese Civil War resulted in the loss of the Chinese mainland to Communist forces, who established the People’s Republic of China & the flight of the ROC central government to Taiwan in 1949. The effective jurisdiction of the ROC has since been limited to Taiwan, Penghu & smaller islands.


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