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Thoughts from Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

TfG: 7 June 20202
07 June 2020 @ 10:07

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'*

The Bloody Virus

  • Sweden's state epidemiologist says he's confident Swedes are building immunity and warned his (critical) Nordic neighbours that it's too early for them to claim success.
  • Hindsight: Pick the meat out of this: We have enough data on Covid deaths to be able to work backwards and estimate just how far the virus was spreading. The Norwegians have found that the it peaked several days before lockdown. In retrospect, says their health chief, lockdown was not needed. The virus could probably have been controlled with far lighter measures. Now, the same study has been done in the UK,  showing the virus was falling fairly quickly by the time of lockdown, having peaked 5 days earlier.

Life in Spain

  • Most of us enter Phase 3 of the de-lockdown tomorrow. Here's what that means.
  • As of now, we're still far from 'herd immunity here. This is something on the national situation. In Galicia, the numbers are said to be only 5% for the region and 2% for Pontevedra city.
  • As of yesterday, here's María's Comeback Chronicle, Day 27. Rule obeyers and disobeyers.
  • I'm reminded that couple of restaurant owners told me yesterday that Friday night in Pontevedra city had been as busy as in midsummer. If there's really a risk of a second wave, then we surely must be facing it square on. 
  • As of a couple of days ago . .  I mentioned I'd bought some raw pistachios that were stale. When I went back to the shop to complain, they insisted raw pistachios were always soft and tasteless but that roasting them would effect a miracle. I doubted this but it turned out to be true. So, I'll have to go back and eat (h)umble pie. If only because this is the only spices shop still open in the city.
  • Talking of pies . . . Spain has, over the past year, ditched a lot of junk food in favour of low-fat organic stuff. Allegedly. But it's too soon, it says here, to conclude that the lockdown has reversed the trend. Personally, I have to admit - if that's the right word - that I've discovered that veggie curries and side dishes really are good.


The Way of the World

  • Hyper-liberalism has been defined as "an extreme liberalism whose adherents have grown so intolerant of opposition, shielded in universities and in workplaces from other views, that they have moved far beyond liberalism to become illiberal. Convinced they are right, they become hysterical on encountering disagreement." The problem with revolutionary fervour, besides the way it often leads to violence, is that it is the enemy of complexity, honest disagreement and rational debate. You don't have to be an ultra-right fascist to see the truth in this.
  • I got an email yesterday from someone calling himself a 'Happiness Engineer'. Is it too much to hope that the inventor of this inane job title shot him/herself when told his/her facetious suggestion had been accepted by management?

Finally . . .

  • I get into a lot of trouble with my - very British - use of sarcasm and irony in written messages. And there wasn't a lot of verbal conversation during the lockdown, but plenty of written stuff. I knew a number of punctuation marks had been suggested for printers over the centuries but wondered if WhatsApp had got round to an emoji. And indeed they had: The upside-down face emoji can convey sarcasm, passive aggression, or irony. It's the visual opposite of the ordinary smiley emoji, which might lend to the interpretation that the meaning of the text is the opposite of what it seems. And: It is used to convey joking, or a sense of goofiness or silliness. So that should solve the problem.  **

 * A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.

** If you want to see this emoji, copy and paste this into your browser:  You'll also see a foto of one of my tremendous dawns over Pontvedra city.

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