18 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 is in the van once again . . . The Ministry of Equality – under its  ‘co-responsibility plan’ – has announced an intention to introduce an app that promises to address the gender imbalance of housework by getting users [male or female] to log the hours they spend on chores. Well, if you can get macho Spanish men to walk dogs no bigger than cats – or even a large rat – you can surely get them to do this. I expect the Spanish divorce rate to keep on rising.

There are various ‘Luxury trains‘ you can take in Spain. And ‘Tourist trains’ up in beautiful Galicia. One is just for admirers of camelias.

After 2 decades here, there are very few cultural differences that still get to me. One of these is people cutting across right in front of me when this makes absolutely no sense. But . . After it happened to me and my daughter this morning, she claimed there’s an unwritten rule here that the slower person always makes way for the faster person. I am dubious but will check this out, both here in Madrid and back in Pv city. Either way, this is different from the British rule – or maybe just my mother’s – that one should always make way for another person. Which can, of course, lead to an impasse . . . . I once saw such an impasse in Pv city – but for completely different reasons – when a couple of Spanish women – in the narrow space between 2 stationary cars – each declined to make way for the other. The problem was resolved after the front car had moved off, creating a face-saving space in which both of them could move sideways. In opposite directions, of course, and simultaneously. A Spanish pas-de-deux.

The UK

The devolved (regional) Scottish government has a ‘Minister for the wellbeing economy’. Presumably to show it cares more for its citizens than the national government in London. And that it is – as with the transgenderism approach that brought down Ms Sturgeon – totally Progressive. You can do this sort of thing when someone else is footing your bills. And when you can blame that someone for (almost) everything that goes wrong on your patch.

The UK and the EU

It’s hard to disagree with Richard North’s comment that: The characteristics of the Brexit “debate” are blind ignorance, tempered by extreme prejudice in the players on both sides of the argument. Not just in the UK, is my impression.


They know how to deal with a corrupt president there . . . Nicolas Sarkozy has been ordered to wear an electronic bracelet for a year, after an appeals court upheld his conviction for corruption and influence-peddling. Sarkozy is appealing against another jail sentence given to him in a separate case for Illegally funding his 2012 presidential election campaign. Prosecutors also want him to stand trial over allegations that he received millions of euros from Muammar Gaddafi, the late Libyan leader, to fund his 2007 campaign.


They know how to deal with fraudulent business folk there . . . The – already jailed – founder of Theranos has been ordered to pay $452m to her victims. Though she’s not expected to come up with all the dosh. But her lawyers will probably get the ‘more than $30m’ they’re owed. They always win.

Quote of The Day

Changing our son’s name from Rasul to Putin was a mistake.

The Way of the World

In the UK, a woman sued her boss after mistaking the ‘xx’ in an email for kisses. A tribunal threw out the harassment case, saying the accuser had a ‘skewed perception’ and had misinterpreted ‘innocuous’ interactions. The woman also claimed that question marks in the same message were code for asking her when she would be ‘ready to engage in sexual acts’. And that a file reference – ajg – which were her boss’s initials stood for ‘a jumbo genital’. You couldn’t make it up. But how on earth did this get as far as a tribunal? Are HR deparetments now that useless/indoctrinated?


Un/Una chulapo/a: ‘The archetype of an 18th/19th century working-class inhabitant of Madrid’. As seen dancing recently in El Parque de San Isidro. Or not seen, in fact, as the link in my post of 4 days ago doesn’t seem to have worked. But it does now – both there and here. I think.

Did you know?

‘Cheap’ e-bike batteries – mostly from China – can explode and cause fires. Sometimes fatally so. One of several horrific videos.

Some advice: In an e-bike/e-scooter battery fire don’t try to put the fire out. GET OUT, STAY OUT, CALL 999. The fire can be ferocious & keep reigniting. Burning battery vapours are toxic, can spread quickly & cut off escape routes. But such fires are are far more rare than fires caused by cooking, heating or smoking. Some stats here.

Finally . . .

Stone Age hunters are now known to have had used maps made of . . . stone. Too heavy to cart around, so carved on pillars.

Down in this building’s courtyard last evening, I claimed to neighbours that I was neutral about the Man City-Real Madrid match. But I wasn’t really and was delighted to see this morning that the arrogant Spanish team had not only been beaten but humiliated. One comment: City posed all the questions last night and Real could find none of the answers and were, frankly, fortunate to escape a more humiliating scoreline. And another: City didn’t just depose the European champions; they didn’t just knock them off their pedestal – they humiliated them. But, in fact, the UK reports were far less triumphalist than the Spanish media would have been in the opposite case. Respectful even,

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.


  1. “The characteristics of the Brexit “debate” are blind ignorance, tempered by extreme prejudice in the players on both sides of the argument.” If you do a referendum on a contentious and extremely complex question with a binary answer for result, then that is what you get. This country will be literally torn apart by Brexit. Lesson: don’t do stupid referendums.


    • Richard North’s mistake here is to limit his ‘characteristics’ to the Brexit debate. He is describing social media in its entirety.
      And to dip my oar into another pool (car discourtesy) I’ll merely point out that where common sense – yes, I know it’s not common – is part of professional regulated behaviour, both in the air and on the high seas, it is the overtaking vessel/aircraft that has to ensure it doesn’t cause any change in course to the overtaken party.
      Finally – am I busy or what? – don’t go thinking electric cars are the bees knees. I broke down recently and during the ‘repatriation journey’ home asked my tow driver how he fancied his future as electric cars begin to dominate. Surely they don’t break down as much?
      He laughed. “We get lots of call-outs, and not for flat batteries. They just stop without apparent reason, and each one is a tow – no question of trying to ‘fix’ anything.”
      “Surely not Teslas?”
      “They’re just as likely as any other make, hybrid or not.”
      Not sure I want to invest in a 4-wheeled chocolate teapot just yet…


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