10 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’


The UK: Only now are the appalling costs of the pandemic becoming clear. The lasting impact on the nation is plain to see now that the fog of war is gone. In brief, it was monumental. Elsewhere too, I’d guess.

Cosas de España

A sad tale of gypsies down South.

Talking of things in Andalucia . . . Is Madrid getting tough on the owners of illegal wells there, ahead of the regional government’s tendentious plan to legalise them? And of elections.

As for Galicia . . . From the VdG today: The “expressiveness” of Ourense’s mayor continues to cause controversy, especially after the publication of new audios in which he gives free rein to his opinions. From proposing to charge officials with a fine that they gave him wjile using his official car, to plugging his advisers into municipal service concessionaires, or talking about alleged economic contributions from construction companies. Regarding the latter, he doesn’t seem too happy: “They’re going to catch us with alms, you know? If you put the stick in, put it in big”. He also talks about getting grants in any way possible and refers to one of his advisors as “the getter.”

As in Portugal, Spain’s Golden Visa Scheme looks moribund.Act fast if you want one.

More Spanish sexism?

My daughter is currently living in SW Madrid, in the suburb of Carabanchel, which is part of a larger area called Buena Vista*. My guess is that it got this name long before the swathes of flat blocks south of Carabanchel Alto obscured the view across the fields to distant Quatro Vientos. Anyway, as in Madrid generally, trees are plentiful and it’s hard to avoid parking under one of them. And the birds which roost in them. With predictable consequences. But, on top of that, the trees – in the last 2 weeks – seem to have sprayed sap all over my car. As several other cars looked pristine this morning, I checked along the street and was almost pleased to find my car wasn’t unique. Tonight I will, for the first time in 20 years, resort to one of the ‘boxes’ used by Spaniards for this purpose. The option of washing it in the street isn’t open to me, as I’d be far more likely to be fined up to €300 for doing this here, as opposed to in front of my house back in Galicia. Just one of a vast range of motoring fines available to the (rather officious) police in Spain.

  • *Coincidentally, I live in an area also called Buena Vista in Poio.

The UK

The surprising renaissance of Liverpool. Where you can get Catalan Scouse in the Lunya restaurant. With added chorizo and morcilla. At the sight of which both my grandmother and mother would have fainted, I’m sure. Though not if we’d had it for my mother’s funeral lunch – instead of an authentic version. For obvious reasons.

Eurovision week there seems to be going well . . .

This article prompts the question: Can there be a single British CEO who hasn’t prepared his reaction to being accused of ‘inappropriate behaviour’?


The New York Times is (in)famous for its bizarre views on the UK. Hence this from Times columnist, Carole Midgely: ‘Breakfast pie’ is a traditional British staple. Or, at least the New York Times thinks it is. It reported that anglophile Americans marked the coronation by dining on “scones, Scotch eggs and breakfast pie” Eh? What? Any clue? The NYT has form for getting stuff hopelessly wrong about Britain. It once claimed that Brits ate “porridge and boiled mutton”, that toad-in-the-hole* is scrambled eggs and that during the pandemic we “cavorted” in “swamps”. In fairness, there are things we don’t understand about Americans, such as how they don’t fall about laughing when someone says: “Does my fanny** look big in this?”

  • *A sausage in mashed potato.
  • ** The back of a lady in the USA***, the front in the UK.
  • *** Though I once overheard an argument between Americans about this in a Chicago hotel.


In Russia, every 10 years everything changes, and nothing changes in 200 years: Pyotr Stolypin.

This situation is deeply paradoxical. Part of Putin’s justification for the invasion of Ukraine was to save the Russian culture and language from a supposed neo-Nazi persecution in Ukraine, but all the war has done is accelerate the flight of the brightest and best from Russian soil. More here.

The Times cartoon today:-

Looks like good news . . . The Anglo allies have destroyed Moscow’s ‘premier espionage’ tool, the Snake malware implant. This and its variants are said to have been a core component in Russian espionage operations for nearly 20 years, used to collect sensitive information from specific targets, such as government networks, research facilities and journalists.


Los mires: Had to look this up. The plural of mir/MIR, médico interno residente – resident medical intern. Also seems to be used for the exam medics take to determine where they’ll work.

Did you know?

I first heard of microbes that could drink oil and eat plastics about 25 years ago. But the problem has been that they could only do this at temperatures above 30C. This means that using them in industrial practice is prohibitively expensive because of the heating required. It also means using them is not carbon neutral. But now it’s said that microbes have been discovered that can digest plastics at temperatures as low as 15C – a potential breakthrough for recycling.

Finally . . .

Reader Perry has sent me this link on science. Totally coincidentally, I’d poached this from someone’s FB page:-

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 . . .

Google Chrome this week removed its (hidden) Reader View and replaced it with an unhidden but inferior Reading Mode in a sidebar. Does any clever reader know how to get the Reader View back? I’ve downloaded an extension but it’s not as neat an option.


  1. Hola Colin,

    Sobre Carabanchel — He disfrutado mucho las películas sobre Manolito
    Gafotas, que muestran las experiencias y el punto de vista de un niño
    que vive en Carabanchel.  Más aquí
    y aquí
    Quizás tu y tu nieto los disfrutarían.

    Que tengas una hermosa primavera.



    • Muchas gracias, Aleksandras. No conocía nada de Manolito. Ni mi hija. Voy ahora a tus enlaces.

      Que tu también tengas una hermosa primavera. Quizás la pasaré toda la temporada aquí en La Peseta de Carabanchel.



      • Esta es una idea maravillosa. Me encanta la idea de viajar a España y Madrid, pero lamentablemente no es posible este año.

        Hasta la próxima,



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