29 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

In a podcast which featured the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia, it was suggested and he and the locals were the instigators of the guerilla form of warfare. But his is at least more than 200 years wrong. For a much better claim to this honour – as the word suggests – is the Spanish irregular compaigns against the invading French back in 1808. Especially up here in the North West. This, of course, was during what Brits call The Peninsula War but which is The War of Independence in Spain. Either way, Wellington was a big help in this.

Here’s Lenox Napier with a piece entitled The Church, Evangelicalism and the Partido Popular. As it happens, Marín – on the outskirts of Pv city – is a centre of Evangelicalism, I’m told. Leading me to wonder if George Borrow sold any Protestant Bibles there back in 1838. Other than to Catholic priests who planned to burn them, I mean,

Needless to say, in a greedy world Russia can find ways around Western sanctions. But Spain says it will try to close off one of these, which takes place in the sea near one of its African territories.

The author of this article admits that the role of animal agriculture in our world is complicated, full of competing philosophies and cultural practices but, nonetheless, takes a very dim of the ‘horrifying’ plans of a Spanish company to set up an octopus farm in the Canaries. As it happens, the company in question is up for sale, to American or Canadian bidders. So someone must think the idea is a goer..

I confess to sort of recalling a comment made by someone years ago about animal rights, along the lines of: If we continue like this we’ll end up giving the vote to oysters.

Two Spanish things news to me:-

Dear me . . . The Spanish football team was beaten 2-0 by the lowly Scots last night. I dread to think what Marca will make of this disgrace. Will at least one head roll?

Later: For aficionados, here’s the leading Marca article, in which the player ratings range from 3 to 6, with most getting a measly 4. . . . Worst of all, there was no response from the players beyond dregs for Rodri, Ceballo’s desire and Joselu’s shot. In contrast, says the Times reporter, Scotland’s performance was one of fantastic verve, work-rate and guts. In contrast, the Spanish captain Rodri described Scotland’s style as “rubbish”. They just waste time and fall on floor, he said. Albeit successfully, it seems.

Here’s one of the narco-speedboats that occasionally beach themselves in our coves:-

And this, I think, is a new type of police boat, designed to catch them:

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The government is removing the IVA sales tax from 44 basic foods and some fish. Will it happen here next?

The UK

Talking of Scotland . . . The new First Minister has got off to a very cack-handed start, offering the candidate he only just beat a Cabinet demotion. Who thereupon resigned. Stand by for even deeper divisions in the (naively) independence-obsessed SNP. Union supporters will be delighted, though depressed at the thought of what this will do for Scotland. “The party’s in quite a lot of trouble and the independence movement is finished,” said someone close to the demoted contender.

Quote of The Day

I’ve rented 7 Airbnbs in the past few months — sprinkled in between stays at hotels, campsites, B&Bs and strangers’ homes — and can safely say that when it comes to questionable conduct, the app’s proprietors are in a league of their own. Airbnb’s problem is not rowdy guests; it’s greedy hosts. More here.


The original Spanish version of this article is headed Fantasmas, duendes y otras leyendas de Madrid, translated (by a machine?) as Ghosts, fae and other legends of Madrid. So . . .


‘Fae/Fay’: A Fairy. A type of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural.

Did you know?

There is a huge disparity in labour force participation among over 65-year-olds across different OECD countries. The USA has one of the highest percentages in the West and Spain has one of the lowest. See here.

If you want to add years to your (retired) life, cycling can do this for you: Pedalling by over-50s helps the body to stay physically healthy for longer. It’s claimed.

Finally . . .

Believe me, if a roll of kitchen paper drops off the top of your open fridge as you’re about to put a dish of spagbol in it, the resulting mess will spread far further on the floor than you’d ever expect and into crevices in the fridge and on its door which almost defy cleaning. But at least you’ll have material to hand with which to clean both the fridge and the floor. And the latter will then get a Wednesday mopping it wasn’t expecting. Plus, you’ll have an excuse to lash out on a new set of dessert dishes now that they’re down to 4, from 12 . . .

British comedian Paul O’Grady has died suddenly at the age of 67. Born, like me, in Birkenhead, he wrote a very funny book about his early years – At My Mother’s Knee…: and other low joints. And then, it seems, wrote another 3, about his later years – The Devil Rides Out; Still Standing: Tbe Savage Years; and Open the Cage, Murphy. All very well reviewed here. He will be missed.

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. I once read that guerilla warfare was first practiced by the Minutemen of Massachusetts at the start of the Revolutionary War. As the British troops marched to Concord, clad in their bright red coats, marching in formation, farmers dressed in their drab clothing would pick them off with their muskets from behind the trees, shrubs, and stone walls that lined the road.


  2. 2nd attempt to post fingers crossed.

    Airbnb. I read Charlotte Lyttons article. How very odd she has had so many negative experiences.

    I have had one bad experience. I have used Airbnb in several Brasilian cities, Chile, Spain, Portugal, Malaysia, Taiwan & Thailand.
    No issues whatsoever, bar Rio de Janeiro where the room was so small I couldn’t stretch out, and the owners kid had a mini rave all night, without inviting me. Also the bathroom was beyond filthy. I stayed 1 night, then left, swapping Botafogo for the rather awful Copacabana. Still the new Airbnb was lovely.
    In some cases, especially Brazil and Malaysia I have made lasting friendships with the hosts.

    On a separate note listening to EH Bildu in el congreso claim that weapons are not the solution in response to Spain sending all of 6 tanks to Ukraine, is deserving of a good old clip around the earhole.


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