22 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

Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo y Maura married the late 21st duke of Medina Sidonia and is the mother of the current duke. She died in 2008 but, a few hours before she popped her clogs, she went and married her long-time partner – Liliane Dahlmann – and left all her assets to her. Liliane – described in the Times as a widow – and the current 22nd duke have been engaged in an ‘infantile tussle’ over the estate (including a priceless archive) for the past 14 years but resolution might now be nigh, to the benefit of the state, it seems. Some readers will recognise the name Medina Sidonia, as the 7th duke was in charge of the 1588 armada sent against England, a role for which he was apparently not terribly well suited. At least not in the reported opinion of the (frustrated and angry) Spanish admirals.

If you’re thinking of moving to Spain or have already decided to do so but haven’t yet embarked on your adventure, this will surely help you take on the challenge.

Family feuds – usually over land – are not exactly unknown here in Galicia but there was an extreme example of one in the border town of Tui 2 nights ago. Unhappy with her siblings, it’s said, a woman there set out to burn their cars and set alight 21 cars in 5 locations in the town, apparently at random. Unless she’s from a big family. I look forward to reading the report on her trial, if I live that long.

Less criminally . . .There must be an election looming . . . The local papers have started to feature inserts/supplements which look awfully like normal newsprint but are really paid-for promotions by politicians.

There’s a street in Pv city’s old quarter – Rúa Paio Gómez Charino – which is slowly becoming a parade of nocturnal bars on both sides. At the top of it, incongruously, there’s a bookshop, and at the bottom it opens out onto a little square where the are 4 restaurants. Smack in the middle – with bars beside it and 2m opposite it – there’s a new private albergue for camino ‘pilgrims’. As I might have said before, it’d be very unwise to try to sleep there either during any weekend or at any time during the entire summer – unless you don’t plan to go to bed and to set off for the next albergue at 5am. I haven’t checked but I don’t suppose this is mentioned in their publicity. And I doubt you’ll ever get your money back at any time of the next day. But maybe they’ve installed the world’s most effective soundproofing.

I’ve just checked its web page and seen it’s an upmarket place with prices to match. So, not for your average backpacker. More evidence that the camino is not what it was 20 – or even 10 – years ago. No mention of noise, of course. Caveat emptor.

The UK

So, is Boris Johnson a liar, a clown or a cretin? Or possibly all three? See here on this Question of the Day. Quote: The true disappointment is that his lawyer has not advised him to go with a plea of diminished responsibility. . . The Johnson spell is broken, by hypocrisy. He will never again hold sufficient sway to get close to power. And: To see him kicking and screaming about being made accountable is a revolting spectacle. 

As regards the country, rather than its biggest buffoon . . . No one watching Britain from the outside thinks the problem in recent years has been a surfeit of strategic wisdom in government. The only way is surely up.


A French columnist issues a warning to King Charles ahead of his Paris visit. Quote: Britain may consider itself to be a divided country, but that’s nothing compared with the situation of its neighbour.


A very modern challenge for a Berlin museum.


A harbinger of protests to come?

The Way of the World

Says AEP here: The banking crisis is young yet – brace for a long hot summer of financial accidents. . . . Inflation hawks are about to cause another meltdown. And it’s all the fault of those trusty Swiss bankers.

Quote of The Day

As regards politicians, people adopt the general rule that they lie to them all the time, a rule that leads them to discount every statistic, disbelieve any promise, ignore any slogan and assume the accused politician guilty in any scandal. And not just in Spain, of course.

The Way of the World/Social Media

AEP: Our instant digital culture has accelerated the mechanisms of a modern bank-run. . . . Will either the Fed or the ECB act in time? Probably not. Central bankers have yet to acknowledge that the money supply is dangerously out of kilter. So brace for a long hot summer of financial accidents until they get the message. More here.

In like vein here. There’s no such thing as a private bank. But there is a lot of ‘moral hazard’.


  • ‘To roofie’: To drug someone without their knowledge or consent. Hence ‘roofied’.
  • Nefast: Wicked.


Hacerse de rogar: To play hard to get; To put up a fight; To resist


I saw the word verquido in a headline yesterday and assumed it was the Gallego equivalent of vertido, though I don’t recall ever seeing a T in place of a Q before. But it isn’t in the Galician Academy’s dictionary and no one seems able to confirm this. Maria? Paideleo?

Did you know?

Hitler’s 1924 trial for treason could have seen him stopped in his evil tracks and deported back to Austria. But a sympathetic/fascist/corrupt judge allowed him to turn it into a farce of a show for his own benefit. See here. One thing’s certain, as the BBC podcast I cited shows, no one could have had the slightest excuse by 1924 of Hitler’s attitude toward Jews and Communists, nor of his plan to establish a dictatorship in Germany. Even before he wrote the appalling Mein Kampf.

Finally . . .

Another of those UK TV ads with a strained slogan – Good different. For a car.

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.


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