23 April 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

My good friend, Ian, down in Oz has told me that there’s an excellent museum in Sevilla that wasn’t in yesterday’s cited list. And he’s mentioned a niche museum in Córdoba which seems to merit a stiff drink before you go in. And an even stiffer one when you stagger out.

Talking of missing items . . . There’s a description of the wonderful zamburiñas I cited yesterday at the bottom of this list of tapas dishes.

Something to celebrate in a remote Spanish village in Aragón.

The blogger chap who wrote about fish expressions has also written – very accurately – about teaching English in Spain, with an emphasis on Madrid. Where things might well be better than elsewhere. It is possible – but difficult – to prosper in a narrow niche – eg military English. Other than that, it’s a poorly paid slog. But often just about the only thing a foreigner can do here. Excluding the digital nomads, I guess.

More on the protests again the octopus farm plans in the Canaries.

Jeez . . . Down in Salamanca a plate of flaming pizza – a house speciality? – set fire to the décor of a restaurant, resulting in the death of the waiter and a client and burns to 12 others. Something not to request, then.

The small street in Pv city that was the most expensive one to shop in years ago now has 4 of its 8 outlets closed. The latest to put up the shutters – actually brown paper – is this one.

Hardly surprising when it only served one customer . . .

The UK

I’m fond of saying that people with the greatest positive always – well, usually – turn out to have the greatest negatives. But a new book on Boris Johnson – Johnson at 10: The Inside Story – suggests that whatever positives he displays are far outweighed by his vast negatives. But I guess we already knew that. And quite a few folk, I suspect, would deny him any positives at all. Apart from his ability to seduce very attractive women, assuming that ranks as a positive. As Richard North puts it here:  No-one with any brains or analytical ability could have been at all surprised at the detail s provided.

I don’t know how “e-money” firms operate but I’m aware they have cute names, like Revolut, Monzo, Wise, Kroo and Tide. I guess they’re quite popular with the young. But not, it seems, as much as they are with fraudsters. We’re told this morning that: Bank accounts are being frozen as police and the tax office try to crack down on criminals using new “e-money” firms for fraudulent activity. Though this might be just money-laundering, rather than lifting thousands from your account.


Although Remainers appear to find it hard to believe, there are supporters of Brexit who aren’t thick, racist or pathetic dreamers for the return of a lost empire. One of the most intelligent was the philosopher Roger Scruton, who died a couple of years ago. Chapter 1 of his book A Political Philosophy explains why he was a passionate supporter of the nation state and why, logically, he disfavoured the EU. The supporters of the EU who regard Brexit as an unmitigated disaster should at least read and consider it, if they wish to appear rational and enlightened. They might still disagree, of course. And might even be able to adduce good counter-arguments. Something that wasn’t done before the 2016 referendum. The chapter isn’t on line but this article is. You have to scroll down to get the English translation.

The Way of the World/Social Media

Office behaviour in the social media age . . . Social media has had a radical impact on modern work culture – The rules of engagement are complicated. . . Social media has blurred the lines of engagement and the pandemic has thrown our boundaries into chaos . . . Without boundaries, things can get confusing fast. . . We live in a Wild West of likes, follows and flame emojis. . . . Emojis are a minefield  . . . What are the new rules? . . . Over-familiarity – the currency of social media – muddies power dynamics.  . . . Workplaces span generations . . . Older people’s lack of understanding means they can come across a little ‘off’. And get sued. I’m so relieved I no longer have to struggle to try to understand the rules of today’s Puritans. Which is probably an offensive thought. For which I’m happy to cancel myself.

Slavery: Reader Perry has added a very interesting Comment to my remarks on this yesterday, with particular reference to the slave-hunting pirates of North Africans who once plagued the English south coast. One of several slaver groups who get a free pass these selective days. Especially the Scandinavians, who were slaving Brits back in the 7th and 8th centuries. And later the Slavs, down the River Vistula(?).


That blogger chappie again . . . Amusing Spanish proverbs.

Did you know?

Colin from Accounts is a brilliant series, from Oz. In BBC iPlayer, if you have a VPN.

Finally . . .

Flicking rapidly through my Facebook feed yesterday I clocked a series of ads for ‘amazingly cheap products’ that were all available in Woburn sands, a place I don’t live in and wasn’t sure where it actually was. The eclectic range of products included:-

  • small electric cars
  • sofas
  • laptops
  • garden sheds
  • smartphones
  • places in a retirement village
  • jackets and
  • prefabricated homes

I finally realised that my VPN was telling FB’s advertisers that I live in London. But, that said, Woburn Sands is in Milton Keynes, a good 50km from London. A minor mystery.

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.

Finally, Finally . . . Another Flashback. Blog of 31 Oct 2015

Catalan corruption: Rumour has it that the €40m I cited yesterday in respect of the Pujol family could rise to as much as €900m. But it is only rumour. [I think the case was eventually shelved. The Pujols knew where all the bodies were buried]

Bertrand Russell was of the opinion that To tell a child not to make a noise is a form of cruelty producing in him exasperation leading to grave moral faults. Must have spent some time in Spain.

The local gypsy shoot-out last week involved our biggest clan against another one called ‘The Zamorans’. But it turns out the latter were last in Zamora at least 75 years ago. Since then they’ve been here, fighting for some of the market trading and generally losing out. Even being exiled at one stage. Which helps to explain why they tried, but failed, to take out the ‘Prince’ of our truly local gitanos last week. And are now said to be living in abject terror. Understandably, armed police are now patrolling the markets.

Correction: I suspected I might have got it wrong . . . The new English school is call called ‘Ling-ish’, not ‘Lang-ish’. But ‘What is truth?’ asked Pilate. And departed laughing.


  1. The fire was in Madrid. Honestly, however much of a “trademark” the plastic decoration might have been, did no one even stop to consider the inflammability of the plastic leaves they were using? There are many other ways to make a restaurant’s decor memorable and different without incurring a fire hazard. Now, two lives have been lost and many others impacted.


  2. The Chorizo Chronicles fella I haven’t read in a loooong time. His Teaching English 2023 article suspiciously looks like a rehash of the same article he did several years ago. He is right though on most of what he says though.

    Overall, he has written a lot of good stuff over the years. If I am not mistaken, he left Madrid a few years ago and is now based in Barcelona. At least since before Covid.

    If my memory isn’t too dodgy, he is originally from, Arizona.

    Making a living is very hard here, that is true.
    There are opportunities in Madrid for non-Spanish, but you must be able to offer a highly specialised skill. I have heard of a couple of Brits based at Boeing near Lugo. Amd Inditex of course has an international mix in Arteixo. Generally though, outside of Madrid amd Barcelona there is not a lot on offer.
    Personally know of one Brit, in passing. He teaches English, buy these days online and with people from countries willing to pay more for the classes.

    Personally, it has been very tough for me in Galicia since I left (was pushed) out of my corporate role in 2009.
    I have done the English thing. Which on the whole made me a decent living, until 2014. I also hated it for a myriad of reasons, amd ended up thoroughly depressed. I had a business from 2014 to 2020, which I had to shut down as I was reliant on open borders and open airports.
    In 2020 and 2021 I studied hard and reinvented myself in the IT world with some very good qualifications. But couldn’t find a job in Galicia.
    Since 2022 I sort of do renovations, but finding people to do hard manual labour is impossible, so mostly I paint. I can do that alone. I am just about surviving.


    • Thanks, David,
      As it happens, A Spanish guy now based in Boston spoke to me at lunch y’day and I talked to him on the them of foreigners working here, stressing how limited the opportunities were.

      Sorry you’ve had it tough. As I say, I’ve always been glad I didn’t have the challenge of working here. Though I did set up an operation with a Spanish partner and then left her to make an ever bigger success of it, dealing exclusively with foreign clients. More and more N Americans these days, fleeing from their benighted country.

      Good luck in the future.


      P. S. With v few exceptions, I’ve declined the chance to teach English . .


  3. Yes Maria. Totally avoidable the Madrid restaurant fire.
    According to the news, the flambé was being carried by a waiter who had only started the job 1 week ago.
    I am not qualified to lay the blame on anyone as such, but to give someone who has only been working there for 1 week the responsibility for carrying the plate ….
    And yes, seeing a photo of “before”, I am surprised they were allowed to decorate the place like that.


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