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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: 21.7.20
21 July 2020 @ 10:30

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'*

Living La Vida Normal in the Netherlands.  

  • I spent several hours ‘doing’ Gouda yesterday. Not a single mask observed, on a day when France tightened its rules on these. After Spain did last week.
  • I took this nice foto near the Harbour Museum. Can you imagine anything more Dutch?

  • The Harbour Museum was, in fact, closed. As was every other museum. Just as in Spain on Mondays. The day I always seem to chose for this activity.
  • But I had an enjoyable hour in the very large St John’s church, which was taken over from the Catholics in the Reformation. After which the Choir was downgraded in importance, in favour of a pulpit and banks of seats around and below it, where the pews had been. It reminded me of a football stadium. Or a small Roman amphitheater. Most tellingly, there were none of the side altars and the massive collections of gold and silver which one sees in all Catholic cathedrals. And which make me rather angry. So I left the place in good humour, especially as the (justifiably famous) stained glass windows are stupendous.
  • I cycled to and from Gouda, about 7km each way. On a bike the seat of which was a bit too high for me, causing a degree of instability, and making me a something of a liability for the majority of Dutch cyclists who rush up behind you, very rarely using their bell to tell you they’re going to hit you if you deviate a couple of centimetres from the right hand edge of the path.
  • But I fared better than the hedgehog I saw splattered in the middle of the road . . .

Back Home

  • Desperate measures . . A Spanish village has banned the eating of sunflower seeds in public to stop Covid infections 
  • Just  in case you live in a cave, here's a BBC article on the disgraced ex king. The most accurate sentence:  'The wheels of justice turn slowly and may never lead to Juan Carlos being placed in the dock'. 
  • Here’s María’s Day 36 of her chronicle.

The EU

  • Yanis Varoufakis: Once more, all night negotiations in Brussels, in the midst of a crippling crisis, are focusing on the lesser issues and studiously avoid talking about the Elephant in the Room, that is Europe’s ‘natural’, and self-defeating, proclivity toward austerity for everyone, except for the financiers and the captains of corporations who are treated to the most extravagant of socialisms. More here.



  • A new word for me: Beguinage: “A house for members of a lay sisterhood in the Low Countries”. Or "An architectural complex which was created to house beguines: lay religious women who lived in community without taking vows or retiring from the world". You probably won't need to use it very often.
  • Not to be confused with this . . . .

Finally . . . 

  • A chat  last night . . .

- Dutch friend: We are probably better at keeping social distance because we just like it like that. We’re not like the temperamental Spanish or the kissing French. This might be why we don’t need masks. Do you know the saying “Doe maar normaal dan doe je al gek genoeg”?  It translates something like “Please act normal; thats wild enough”.

- Me: It reminds me of a recent Scandinavian joke: "With the end of of the 2 metre rule, we can now all go back to  5 metres."


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

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