11 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

Spain’s over 64s now number 20% of the population, more than the under 20s. See here. Where it’s claimed that, while similar data in other countires might outline a context more favourable to tension than to intergenerational solidarity, in the Spanish case no conflict is observed – possibly due to the close relations between generations here.

This is a Google translation of sentence in today’s VdG: Pythons will be prohibited this year at the children’s festival of the Viking Romaria, in Catoira. I confess that I read the Spanish this way too and was surprised by the thought of snakes being tossed around. But the article continues thus: The typical Viking helmet, with cow-horns, will disappear from the children’s celebration. According to historians, the Vikings didn’t have horns on their helmets. But it’s a custom purists have always found difficult to eliminate from the event. See the Spanish para below.

The UK

When I graduated in 1969, only a very small percentage of us achieved a First Class degree. Thanks to grade creep, the percentage reached 16% in 2011 and 38% in 2021. Which, of course, is ridiculous. Belatedly, British universities are facing investigations over the issue of grade inflation. I can’t see the percentage ever dropping back to 1-5%.

The Anglosphere

Lots of good observations here, starting with: The pomp and ceremony of this weekend’s coronation of King Charles III could not hide the fact that Britain, once the most powerful nation on earth, has become slightly dysfunctional and even a bit weird*. In fact, this dysfunction is not just afflicting the UK but also the broader Anglosphere, right from the antipodes up to Canada.

*Open secret: It’s always been at least a bit weird.


Donald Trump was interviewed by CNN and, per this Guardian writer, gave a performance that was shocking but not surprising. Who’d have predicted that? Truth didn’t stand a chance, says the columnist. Same question.

Quotes of The Day

  • It’s intriguing. The question ‘What is a woman’ has the ability to turn clever politicians into wide-eyed buffoons who wish the ground would swallow them up, It confirms that gender ideology has its hands around the throat of the political mainstream.
  • Democracies end when autocrats master the use of the freedoms of democracy to kill democracy. An Orwellian perception, perhaps.

The Way of the World/Social Media

  • A degree of optimism from this columnist: Mob rule and cancel culture have had their day. It’s clear now that Twitter always was a chimps’ tea party and online denunciation a minority sport. Cancel culture is past its peak and we’re getting to grips with Twitter’s shaming mechanism. Let’s hope so.
  • I discovered this morning that Gucci invented the ‘luxury trainer’ and, thus, transformed women’s footwear forever. Dear dog! Did women go around barefoot, eschewing all other trainers, before Gucci luxuriased them? Or is that claim complete bollocks? Other than in respect of the hyper-rich.


Un pitón: A python. But also a horn, a spout, a nozzle, or a piton (a rock climbing tool)


A ‘doesband’: A man who  has his own hectic job but still does his fair share at home – Without Being Asked.

Finally . . .

My grandson has been gifted 2 silkworms by a neighbour, the mother of 2 young girls, one of whom is frightened of them. I’d never seen one and was surprised by their appearance:-

I’m not sure they make good pets, doing nothing but munch on mulberry leaves. I can’t imagine my grandson being motivated to even look at them from time to time. Especially as they don’t fight.

My daughter – from the bathroom – asked me to give a small rucksack to a neighbour. She identified it by a name on the front of it but I couldn’t find it in the room where she said it would be. So, the neighbour left empty-handed. When she emerged, my daughter held the object aloft, as if to chastise me. I pointed out that it didn’t bear the name she’d given me. Her reply was that it did, but that it was written backwards. I pointed out that, as I wasn’t dyslexic, it would’ve been useful to tell me this. I didn’t get an apology, of course.

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.

One comment

  1. Scandinavian ship crews in the first 1000 years AD, wore leather head coverings with ear flaps that tied under the chin. As they rowed up English rivers, they would untie the ear flaps & lift them up vertically, so they could listen unencumbered. From a distance, these head coverings would have looked like helmets with horns.

    Longship voyages from Denmark or Norway to England & Ireland could be accomplished in 4-5 days, but round shields, constructed with thin planks of Linden wood, edge glued with casein, made from soured cheese mixed with slaked lime & covered with painted fabric, would not be sufficiently waterproof, to hang from the gunnels during a crossing of the North Sea. The shields would only be fastened to the side of the vessel, as protection from arrows from river banks.


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