19 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

The FT says here that there’s a cult shop here in Madrid – a design store with made-in-Spain verve. And which is: A little corner of the Mediterranean in central Madrid – representing a spectrum of Spanish design. Called Llop, it was originally set up to feature clothes made of a Catalan chequered cloth called farcell. From the article, I can see I’d never have worn anything made of it. And that I won’t be buying anything else in the shop.

Spanish and Galician films have had quite a lot of international success in recent years. I have quite a list of them and might get round to viewing one of them one of these days. But probably not the series called Mute, or El Silencio in Spanish. This reviewer struggles to give it even one star and writes: Normally a bad drama has a plot with holes in it. This Spanish psychological thriller is more like a black hole sucking in the occasional drifting nugget of narrative, destroying each one without trace. Rarely has such a serious-minded miniseries made so little sense. . . . Muted is implausible and illogical in both its wider story arcs and its details. So, I don’t really need any excuse to avoid watching it, along with all the much better options

What AirBnb has done to the rental market and the hotel biz . . . In Galicia right now, there are 18,000 tourist flats but only 2,600 places to rent. On which prices have risen very significantly in the last 2 or 3 years. And it’s getting worse.

I have a good friend who is half Spanish and half northern European. She is a very lovely person but, judging by the number of times citas we’ve agreed on that haven’t taken place – totally in line with my contention that Spaniards don’t do plans but only have intentions – I’ve belatedly accepted that culture has won out over genes. And lowered my expectations accordingly. If she really does turn up in Madrid in a couple of weeks’ time to see me and my daughter, I’ll look at revising my view. Meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that she doesn’t read this post . . .

I’ve said several times that we’re plagued by beggars in Pv city’s old quarter, though they’re not as irritating as the Romanian accordionist who comes every summer and treats me as an old friend, speaking incomprehensible Spanish. Anyway, the beggars come and go, some of them – the drug addicts – probably dying at a relatively young age. This is a video of the youngish guy I see most often. I’ve seen him looking better and I’ve seen him looking a lot, lot worse. He never panhandles me, as he knows it would be a waste of time and, in fact, we’ve almost reached the point of amicably greeting each other. Last month – in one of his better conditions – he smiled at my 4 year-old grandson and said how guapo he was. I wouldn’t like to guess how much longer he’ll live for.

I’m in a favourite café-bar in Plaza dos de Mayo in Madrid, where there’s a monument in honour of those who fought the French forces in 1808. So, it’s amusing that the new password of this place is José Bonaparte, the name of the brother whom Napoleon elected to the Spanish throne.

The UK

Once upon a time – not so long ago – Manchester City and Everton were in an identical situation – also-rans behind Manchester United and Liverpool FC. Both spent vast sums of money on new players. As of now, Manchester City is playing the best football in the world and is close to 3 big trophies. Everton, on the other hand, are locked – once again – in a battle to avoid relegation. Why? I don’t really know. But maybe this is correct: For a club of Everton’s stature to be in this situation – having spent over £500m in the past 7 years alone – smacks of mismanagement on a grand scale. There is never one person solely responsible when an organisation fails – accountability is spread across numerous departments – but the person at the top has self-evidently proven himself hopeless at running a football club. 


I’m sure I’m not the only person to have noticed the increase in the number of articles warning that the true costs of Net Zero haven’t even been calculated, let alone put in front of voters who’ve already experienced a massive hike in energy costs. Expect more.


Una pijamada: A pyjama party. Lit. ‘A big p.j.’


De-aged: Synthetically re-generated by the best computers that money can buy to look a lot younger. As with Harrison Ford in surely his last Me v. The Nazis film-

Did you know?

In 1982, BA flight 9 landed, unscheduled, in Jakarta – after a truly horrendous flight through a cloud of volcanic ash. There’s a chilling video on it here. As I was living there at the time, I have 2 strong recollections:-

  • Because none of the passengers had a visa for Indonesia, notwithstanding their horrific ideal, they weren’t allowed off the plane, and
  • A Dutch guest at a dinner party in our house – who worked for Fokker – assured us it would have been easy for the Jumbo jet to glide down to a safe landing on the Indian Ocean. After watching the video, I’m even less convinced about that than I was back then.

Finally . . .

The silkworms have actually done something other than eat mulberry leaves. They’ve turned themselves into chrysalises:-

Quite why these are different colours I’ve no idea.

Facebook has given me the ‘Top Contributor’ award in my Thoughts From Galicia group page. As FB’s computer is too dumb to recognise I’m actually the only contributor, this has left me even more worried about how dangerously stupid AI computers will be.

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. “totally in line with my contention that Spaniards don’t do plans but only have intentions”
    Spaniards do turn up and on time when it matters to them. Saying they would like to meet is just a way of trying to say something pleasant, like when Americans ask “And how are you doing today?” without really expecting an answer. It seems glaringly obvious to me that she does want to meet you.


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