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Thoughts from Galicia, Spain

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

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 23 June 2020
23 June 2020 @ 08:09

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

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

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'*

Life in Spain

  • Have Things Changed? It's reported that nearly 75% of Spaniards don't believe the government's virus stats. This got me wondering about when I'd first written on this subject, and it appears to be this post from November 2003, almost 16 years ago: To say the least, the Spanish are not the most exact race on earth. One of the first expressions one learns is ‘Más o menos´. Or ´More or less´. This is what accompanies every forecast, prediction, promise and, indeed, restaurant booking. “12 people at 10pm” can easily turn out to be 4 at midnight. So it is all the more astonishing that every statistic in the papers is given to at least one decimal point. More usually two. Sometimes three. So, today’s elections in Cataluña resulted in voting shares, we are told, of 36.27%, 33.46%, 15.79%, etc. One struggles to understand the rationale for this. Maybe it reflects the fact that no-one much believes any statistics here, so a specious validity is sought by providing numbers apparently accurate to two decimal points. Some credence for this view is given by the fact that the results of the last election were only given to one decimal point. As these numbers are now pretty irrelevant, it doesn’t matter whether anyone believes them. So accuracy is not even suggested.
  • Bullfighting (La corrida) is nowhere near as popular in Spain as is thought outside the country. Essentlally, it's facing a slow death. Though this might well have been accelerated by the virus crisis. See this New York Times article on this demise.
  • Here and here are Days 7 and 8 of María's chronicle of our Adjusted Normal.
  • To amuse . . . Yet again, religious art at its worst. I guess the parsimony is akin to using your cousin to translate your menu. So that you come up with - for example - Cod to the seaman's blouse.**

English/Spanish: Another 3 refranes:-
- Dead men have no friends: El muerto al hoyo, el vivo al bollo.
- Different strokes for different folks: Sobre gustos, no hay nada escrito.
- Discretion is the better part of valour: La prudencia es la Madre de sciencia.  

The USA: I've added 'shallow showman' to my long list of derogatory adjectives applied to Fart. Seems fair, after Tulsa. I guess I should add 'self- deceiving' too. All under S, of course.

The Way of the World: The West seems more concerned with raking over its past than helping living Africans. While the British and American public argue over the statues of colonial figures, in Nigeria, Christians are being slaughtered

Finally . . . A plug for my younger daughter, who writes beautifully here on the enjoyment of passing stuff to others, and here on the challenge of negotiating the 'minefield' of potential support for an autistic 4 year old. The latter being of less interest than the former, I guess. To the majority, I mean.

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

** There's a prize for the first person to guess the derivation of this.

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