25 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

The EU’s plans to clamp down on drafty homes may cause grief for Spanish property owners. Under proposed new EU rules, homeowners will be expected to incur the cost of reducing energy wastage. Currently, 80% of Spanish homes don’t meet the EU’s criteria for energy efficiency.

Spain has a low crime rate, even in the major cities. Which strikes me as rather ironic for a country which tore itself apart in an appalling civil war not so very long ago. But perhaps that’s one reason for it. As in post-war Japan.

The Santiago de Compostela council is considering a tourist tax of €3 a night. The city is overrun by tourists in summer – possibly most of them finishing a camino – but I doubt this extra cost for a night or three will put anyone off coming. But a useful money earner for the city.

The cocaine factory recently discovered in the woods outside Pv city is now reported to have been set up by a Mexican cartel. I suppose it counts as foreign investment. Even if not recognised as such in official records.

During my first months here, and after I’d praised Spain’s roads, a particularly cynical Spanish friend responded: Just wait to see what happens when they need to be maintained. I was reminded of him this week, when reading of what needs to be done to the deteriorating A6 here in Galicia. Not to mention the recent collapse of not just one but 2 viaducts on it, allegedly because of a poor specification. Or perhaps some corner-cutting. Oh yes, and a huge sink hole opened up in one of our roads last week.

When my favourite Mercadona store was revamped last year, they introduced ‘parking areas’ for trolleys in the middle of their wider aisles. I noticed last night that the one in the fruit and veg area has gone. Possibly because this sensible measure was roundly ignored. Though not by me, I hasten to add.

The UK

This Guardian columnist seems to that UK is now almost a dictatorship. Perhaps he needs to read up on Stalin and Hitler. Or even just Franco.


Caitlin Moran has written abut Putin and his possible double(s). You can see it below.


I’m still ploughing/plowing my way through Fossil Future, distracted by the visit of my elder daughter and my nieto from Madrid. I’m told that the latter, just 4, has started to correct his (Spanish) father’s Cristiano.


Sluggard waker: The person who woke up sleeping medieval Mass attendees by poking them with a long stick

Did you know?

One of the great lines in 1960s songs, from Jimmy Jones’ Good Timin’:-

Who in the World would have ever known
What Columbus could do
If Queen Isabella hadn’t hocked her jewels
In 1492?

But she had timin’
A-ticka, ticka, ticka, good timin’
A-tocka, tocka, tocka, tocka
Timin’ is the thing
It’s true
Good timin’ brought me to you

You can hear the whole song here, all 2 minutes of it . . .

Yesterday’s missing link to the details of Sefton Delmer is here . . .

If you go the final episodes of the BBC podcast – Nazis: The Road to Power – you’ll hear some of Hitler’s insane rants, in English. Those after the Reichstag fire are hard to believe. They feature HangI and Kill! And ‘Who cares about the law!’. Or something like that.

Finally . . .

Quite a wedding dress, on one of the numerous Kardashians . . .

It’s reported she admitted to feeling cold during the ceremony.

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.

The international community’s relationship with the already heavily sanctioned Russian president, Vladimir Putin, took an even sourer turn this week, with the Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko going in on Putin’s double chin.

PUTIN: Caitlin Moran, The Times

“What’s up with your chin, Putin?” Gerashchenko tweeted cattily, accompanied by a picture of Putin looking in the bloated, neck-based badlands between “wattle” and “goitre”.

This wasn’t merely a piece of Mean Girls-style international bitchery. No: Gerashchenko was referencing the Ukrainian military intelligence claims that Putin is currently using three doppelgängers who have had surgery to more closely resemble him, and whom Putin is deploying for public appearances, possibly to cover up his own failing health. Accordingly, Gerashchenko posted the double-chin picture next to one of Putin from just last month — where that “Putin” did, indeed, appear to have a much more streamlined jaw.

“I wonder which one of them was real?” Gerashchenko wrote, suggesting the “Putin” that had been recently snapped in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, boldly driving himself around “without a motorcade of guards, and going out ‘to the people’ in a frontline occupied city”, was “a fake”.

“The president was at that time many hundreds of kilometres away, warm and completely safe.” Putin, with his “pathological cowardice”, was not “risking his precious life”, Gerashchenko concluded.

Of course both Gerashchenko and Ukrainian military intelligence might well be right: it seems kind of smart for an old, ill dude in the middle of a catastrophic war to rustle up a couple of lookie-likies to do a bit of the “strong war leader” heavy lifting. I mean, if even Julia Roberts used a “leg double” on the posters for Pretty Woman, then a president using a president double in a war seems pretty, well, sensible.

But if this “fake Putins” theory is simply based on the belief that no one can develop a massive, wobbly double chin in just four weeks, I’m afraid to say: they’re wrong. Has no one in Ukrainian military intelligence ever had “a good Christmas”? If you have the right cheeses and try hard enough, it’s perfectly possible to develop an extra chin between 11am and 4pm.

One comment

  1. Yes I totally agree that suggesting the UK might be becoming authoritarian (the Guardian article does actually mention Franco) is a sublimeley ridiculous idea. As I said before, it does help if things are put into context. But hey, nothing worse than pseudo-progressive guardianista wokery (except probably Toxigraph hogwash). I think Spain’s low homicide rate is a cause for celebration – even more so if you take into account the massive migrant intake from countries with the highest murder rates on earth (all in Latin America).


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