9 May 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

There’s no such thing as the afternoon in Spain, says this FT columnist. He’s right, of course. Not long after I came here, I realised that ‘morning’ in Spain had nothing to do with ‘noon’ but lasted until you had your main meal of the day, at 2.30 or even 3.30. After which it was la tarde, best translated as ‘early evening’ or just ‘evening’. At least, this is one way of doing things; the columnist looks at others.

En passant, I also learnt early on that ‘first thing in the morning’ – a la primera hora – could mean 10 or even 11 o’clock. And that ‘midday’ – el mediodía – would be between 12 and 2. It always helps to ask people what they mean by any (apparently) time-related word or phrase. A good rule of thumb: Add 2 hours to whatever it means in your country.

After accusations of ‘sexism’, those running the Madrid Open tennis championship changed the costumes for the ‘ball-girls’ – in the right direction, of course. But then sleep-walked into further controversies. See here and here, respectively. As the ‘girls’ are now, wearing football shorts left over from the 1950s:-

One of Spain’s most popular annual pilgrimages is under threat amid political infighting over the response to a drought in the area. The right-of-centre government of Andalucia is alleged to be planning to legalise thousands of unauthorised wells that support the local strawberry industry but which threaten the unique ecosystem of the park. Details here. Legalising things that have long been illegal is not an uncommon practice in Spain. But it can happen haphazardly, as foreigners who were tricked into buying illegally-sited properties found out years ago. In Andalucia, as it happens.

From todays’ VdG: More than half of Galicians fear losing their jobs if AI and robotics enter their companies and their lives. However, if the data for all of Spain is analyzed, 51% of Spaniards believe the technological revolution will create more work than it destroys. There’s only one region in which its inhabitants are more fearful than Galicians about this supposed threat – Madrid, at 54%. Most Spaniards believe that AI will reduce the working day, improve [workplace] reconciliation and reduce the gender gap.

The UK

Let’s hear it for the (almost)original Brits.

The woman who wants to be the next leader of the Conservative party has increased her chances simply by carrying a sword during the coronation ceremony and looking quite good as she did so. A nice comment on British politics. Or perhaps even global politics in this televisual age.


It seems to have been conclusively proved that Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first European to ‘discover’ the North American continent. Some Norse chaps got there before him. At a place called Anse aux Meadows.


It’s reported that ‘mind-boggling’ methane emissions from Turkmenistan have been revealed. These are said to exceed the UK’s entire carbon emissions*. Which adds a bit more context to the global challenge. Experts say these could be easily fixed, rapidly reducing global heating. But will that actually happen?

* Less than 1% of the global total, if I recall correctly. Actually 0.9% and reducing – down from 98% in 1800, 8% in 1950 and 2% in 2000. So, all that recycling in numerous bins really is worth it. Not to mention closing factories and moving production to China. Where it counts less, apparently.

The Way of the World

Gun deaths by country vary widely and are influenced by a complex interplay of factors, including crime rates, access to firearms, and societal attitudes toward gun ownership. See the stats here. The US is bad enough, of course, but not as bad as other notorious countries such as El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala and Colombia. That said, this article cites the appalling stats for certain cities in the USA

Did you know?

You can check whether the intelligence behind text you’ve received is human or artificial. Click here for an article which cites sites which will help you determine this, though I haven’t checked if this was written by a human or a machine. But I did check the text of my last 2 paras and got the message: Your text is likely to be written entirely by a human. Which is nice.

Let’s hear it for starlings, which have astonishing powers of imitation, at least of other birds:-

Finally . . .

Reader Alexandrias has kindly warned me to check the permissions demanded by the Waze alternative to Google Maps, a warning I feel obliged to pass on.

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.

Let’s hear it for me . . . Yesterday saw an almost 50% increase in my average Visits and a new high in terms of Views, with each reader making almost 5 of these. Presumably by clicking on links. No idea why, other than possible interest in the coronation. But today will surely see a return to the averages.


  1. The latest in phone scams comes from what seems to be a nice young man talking about subsidies to install solar panels. He even asks questions about the construction of your house. I was getting suspicious (I had heard nothing of said subsidies) and asked a question, myself. He kept talking as if I had answered his question. I tried it again, and realized it was a program, perhaps with a lower level of AI.

    I received the same call a couple of months later. I replied in English, and the AI just kept talking. I swear, next soliciting call I get, whether robot or human, I’m answering, “You’ve reached Design Your Coffin. How may I help you?”


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