23 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

Getting Spanish nationality: Reader David had written again, below, answering the question of whether his 15 month time-line included the ‘obligatory’ tests of language and history/culture. As before, I totally endorse his comments re the importance of learning Spanish. This plus a smile goes an awful long way in Spain.

Anglos in Spain . . . For US citizens moving to Spain, the number 1 destination is said to be Madrid, followed by the Valencia region (Brits no.4) and Andalucia (Brits no. 1). Possibly too many Brits in Andalucia for American tastes. And mine . . .

Reactions to the allegations of racism in the Primera Liga have differed. Several big-wigs have condemned, it saying the Liga has to do more. In contrast, the President of the Liga has effectively blamed the victim himself. Which led to the modern equivalent of a duel – a Twitter spat. The Times has said: Racism in Spanish football has reached a new crisis after La Liga’s president “reinforced” the idea that Vinícius Jr brings abuse upon himself. In contrast, the president of Royal Spanish Football Federation admitted the country had a “problem” with racism and called for zero tolerance. “We have a problem of behaviour, of education*, of racism,” he said. “And as long as there is one fan or one group of fans making insults based on someone’s sexual orientation or skin colour or belief, then we have a serious problem.”

*’Education’ here means ‘upbringing’.

While Spain is raising the retirement age to 67, France is raising its to only 64. This is despite the fact both countries have similar problems and challenges, it says here.

Lenox Napier writes of smoking here, where yours truly gets an honourable mention.

The UK

Hard to believe but there’s at least one person in the UK who thinks the country’s economic prospects are rosy . . . Ignore the doomsayers, she says here. Britain is poised for a new industrial revolution. Not everyone will subscribe to this view. Indeed, precious few will, I expect. She is certainly swimming against a tide – a tsunami? – of received wisdom that the West is screwed – and that Britain is doubly screwed. Worth a read, even if – especially if? – you’re disinclined to believe her.

The Way of the World

I was looking for something very different this morning but came up with this: Transgender singer Jordan Gray stripped naked live on Channel 4 last night. The comic, who was assigned male at birth, performed a sketch on Friday Night Live. She played the keyboard – using her penis -in an expletive-filled song about experience as a trans woman. Which I could have done without.

But they have things, I guess, far worse in The 20 most miserable countries in the world:-

  1. Zimbabwe
  2. Venezuela
  3. Syria
  4. Lebanon
  5. Sudan
  6. Argentina
  7. Yemen
  8. Ukraine
  9. Cuba
  10. Turkey
  11. Sri Lanka
  12. Haiti
  13. Angola
  14. Tonga
  15. Ghana
  16. South Africa
  17. Suriname
  18. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  19. Iran
  20. Rwanda


Tring to find the Spanish equivalent of ‘a jobsworth’. I came up with:-

  • un funcionario quisquilloso
  • un funcionario excesivamente legalisto, or
  • un funcionario muy cuadriculado

But an American friend gave me rajatablista, which a Spanish friend described as: Una persona que sigue las normas de forma muy estricta que no es nada flexible. This seems to do the job best.


I’ve seen the adjective ‘roiling’ twice in the last couple of days and had to check on the meaning of the verb To roil:-


  • To make (a liquid) turbulent or muddy or cloudy by stirring up sediment.
  • To cause to be in a state of agitation or disorder.
  • To put in a state of emotional agitation; to rile or upset


  • To move or be in a state of turbulence, especially because of an abundance of something.
  • To be agitated or chaotic.
  • To be vexed all upset.

‘Roiling’ is said to mean ‘demonstrating ruthless ambition’. Think H&M. Especially M . . .

Finally . . .

What I was searching for this morning was the (forgotten) name of Bill Bailey. Apart from the above, I also came up with this wonderful YT video, where he’s number 5. They’re all brilliant but perhaps Nicole Pesce takes the biscuit.

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.


No, no culture or language exams, although it was clearly obvious I speak native level Spanish. I wasn’t even asked to swear and sign my loyalty to the king. This was all in Coruña, I can’t comment on other areas, but I imagine in Madrid they play things more by the book. Don’t know.

I did the original application in Feb 2020, got a call in Apr 2021 to go in and sign myself up as a Spaniard.

Who knows, maybe I got lucky with the funcionarios. A lot of them are anti-monarchy.

I did check one thing with the UK embassy. If I sign away my British nationality on a Spanish gov document, would I lose it forever. The answer is as simple as NO, if you were born in the UK. Spanish documents have no legal standing in UK law. If they take your UK passport, apply for another if you think it helps.

If you use a British passport in Spain after getting Spanish nationality, you are at risk of losing your hard earned Spanish citizenship. That is a big NO NO.

Now, I thought 15 months was long, but it appears to have been quite fast compared to what I am hearing. Maybe Covid actually helped, what with immigration and citizenship requests at all but a standstill in the 1st Covid year. You know, border shut and all that.

As with all Spanish bureaucracy, with 17 autonomous and 50 something provinces, it really is a pot-pourri.

I would argue that strong language skills will always help. It is appreciated a lot here.

One comment

  1. I believe that a good number of Americans of Galician immigrant parents in the USA from the state of New Jersey are relocating to Galicia especially the women.


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