14 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

France 24 reports that Spain is becoming a desert, as it runs out of water. But not perhaps up in the North and North East, where they’ve had rain, hail and even snow over the last couple of days. And we’ve even had a bit of rain in Madrid today.

I went to a nice little exhibition of Moroccan design in La Casa Árabe 2 days ago. There were 50% fewer people than at the exhibition of Indian art on the previous day in Plaza Cibeles. In other words, I was alone. On the way out through the inevitable gift shop, I noticed an array of books on Palestine and other Arabic themes, appropriate enough for Casa Árabe. But in the middle of them was a book on Persepolis, the ancient Persian capital destroyed by Alexander the Great. Now, the Persians – like the Jews and the Arabs – are considered to be a Semitic race/people but they certainly don’t regard themselves as Arabs. As the modern name of Iran suggests, they see themselves as Aryans. But I let it pass. A Persian/Iranian visitor might not have.

Just opposite La Casa Árabe is this block of flats. Looking at it, I found myself wondering which poor soul lives in the ugly little apartment at the top of it:-

This last week has seen Madrid celebrating its patron saint, San Isidro. Rather than attend a bullfight, I decided to go today to the park named after him, in the (ex?)working-class barrio also called San Isidro. But I neglected to show my credentials by wearing a waistcoat and a flat cap, so I rather stood out. Even more so, I suspect, because I seemed to be the only obvious guiri in attendance. Anyway, here’s a bit of traditional dancing and singing, called un baile castizo I believe:-

And here’s a street I walked through in the barrio and which reminded me of 2-up and 2-down houses in Liverpool:-

The UK

It’s argued here that it’s a myth that the UK’s current economic performance can be blamed on Brexit. I doubt any Remainers will be convinced. But they should at least try to counter the assertion and the details behind it.


The winning Eurovision song entry was tailor-made for the competiition. Already a hit all over the world, it was widely predicted to win and led the voting all night. It almost made you wonder why we even bothered holding a contest. My thought too, as the initial votes rolled in. As someone else wrote . . They take this event very seriously in Sweden. Which says something about the country, I guess. I also agreed with the columnist who admitted he found the winning song ‘totally overrated’. And with another reviewer who wrote: The final would have been more exciting if Loreen’s victory had been less of a foregone conclusion. Against that, winning is hardly the point of this bizarre annual extravaganza. I enjoyed none of it except this finale. My impression is this didn’t appear on Spanish TV, which seemed to give a miss to the Liverpool Meets Eurovision session at the end of the performances.

I almost forgot . . . The most exciting moment of the night – Luxembourg announced it’ll take part next year.

Quote of The Day

‘Inclusive’ language is misogyny in disguise


‘To reach out to’: (North) American for ‘To contact’.

Finally . . .

I switched on Spanish TV yesterday afternoon, to find it was all ads and old films, without exception seemingly dubbed by the same 3 people as usual. Even a black boy, clearly voiced by a woman. One scene caught my eye, of the football legend Pele appearing in a film called Victory’Escape to Victory. Then came a slew of other famous international footballers from the 60s and 70s. Finally – and hardest to believe – came Sylvester Stallone playing a goalkeeper. As he’s only 175cm(5 foot 9) you’ll appreciate just how ridiculous this was. See the full cast and reviews here. It was much praised back in 1981 but looks pretty dated now.

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. Surprised you saying iranians are considered semitic people – by whom? They are indoeuropean – the term aryan leads some people to confusion. Perhaps, there is come mixing with semitic people in the southwest region, which is arab speaking.


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