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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: 11.7.20
11 July 2020 @ 10:12

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: What has changed this century?  

  • Uncertainty/Arbitrariness: Having lived more than 8 years in the Middle and Far East before I came here, I was pretty familiar with these 2 constraints on both the production and the implementation of plans. But it didn't take long to discover that the Spanish not only have an aversion to planning but are proud of this, boasting of their - admittedly  brilliant - capacity for spontaneity.  Brilliant, no doubt, because they get a lot of practice at it.
  • But, anyway, yesterday midday, my daughter and I polled up for the 12 o'clock cruise, to be told it'd been cancelled because the inspector had arrived late at the place along the coast where it'd been moored. Being as cynical as the average Spaniard, I wondered if this was the truth, or whether they'd just cancelled it because numbers were few. My daughter asked for more details so as to assure ourselves the later boat wouldn't be cancelled as well, and was told that it was on the way from its overnight place. Noticing an appropriate cruise Boat at the end of the pier, I also wondered if this was true.
  • In fact, we did get the cruise at 1.30 and the boat we boarded did, indeed, only take on passengers from our pier in Combarro. And the cruise was very enjoyable, involving a bottle of albariño wine and the freshest steamed mussels I've ever had. But it's a good example of why I advise newcomers to lower their expectations and to always be prepared - with a book or magazine - for a long wait. Or even, as in this case, cancellation.
  • P. S. Our IDs weren't requested . . . But the printed-out reservation confirmation was.
  • The verdict: The Spanish still abhor planning.  And committing to something which might be outshone by a better option, come the day of the theoretical commitment.
  • Attitude to risk:  Maria commented thus on yesterday’s theme: My husband is a construction worker, and he could give you stories of how they work without regard to safety that would make your hair stand on end. This has reminded me that Spain’s accidents and deaths at work used to be way above elsewhere.And might well still be.

Current Life in Spain: Living La Vida Loca . .

  • It’s reported that Spain will recruit and deploy an extra 40,000 officers to police tourist places this summer. Doubtless armed with a battery of on-the-spot fines. Which they will apply as officiously as ever. Contrast the UK.
  • Here's Marcia's Day 26 of our Adjusted Normal 
  • Our cruise took us round the island of Tambo, where centuries ago there used to be a small chapel. But, as the guide informed us - without rancour - this had been destroyed by Francis Drake and his men. Drake - Draké in Spanish - was described by our guide as a someone regarded in the Hispanic world as a vicious pirate but as a hero in the Anglosphere. Which is not strictly true these days. The second bit, I mean. Anyway, the story goes that Drake’s men chucked a statue of one of Spain’s hundreds of virgin Marys into the sea, only for it to rise of its own accord after they’d sailed off to sack Vigo.

 The USA

  • This is a thoughtful essay on the current state of affairs there - Trump has pulled the US apart. That doesn’t mean that Biden can beat him.


  • Another 3 refranes:- 

- It’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other: Da lo mismo/Una cosa que otra.

- It’s the pot calling the kettle black: El que tiene un tejado de vidrio no tira piedras al de su vecino.

- Laughter is the best medicine: La risa es la mejor remedio.


An interesting video on Belgium, courtesy of reader Perry.


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

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