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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: 30 July 2020
31 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 house:’ A Pilgrim in Spain’*

Living La Vida Loca in Spain 

  • In a survey of the best countries in which to bring up your kids, the Scandinavian group naturally takes the top places. Relevant others:-

7. Germany 

11. Netherlands

12. Portugal 

13. France 

16. Ireland  

17. Spain

23. The UK

24. Italy

34. The USA [2nd last]

35. Mexico 

You can see the criteria etc. here     

  • Covid in Spain . . . Giles Tremlett in Madrid: Spain’s socialist prime minister provided a reassuring contrast to the buffoonery of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic. When he forced the country into a harsh mid-March lockdown, he freely admitted mistakes had been made. Spaniards were prepared to pardon. But, just as Americans cannot forgive Trump for leading the United States into a double-bump pandemic, so a sense of anger is building as Spain’s triumphant “defeat” of coronavirus threatens to become merely a brief holiday. . . . Spaniards showed discipline, solidarity and compassion the first time around. Next time, they will be less patient.  Full article here.
  • I mentioned that I thought there were 42 ways to order coffee here. If you can see it, here's a relevant article from The Local. 
  • Bullfighting ain't what it used to be. And might never be so ever again.  
  • I've heard it said more than once that Spanish law - and slow justice - is far more on the side of the tenant than the landlord. And this attitude is said to extend even to illegal squatters, who are reported to be taking full advantage of holiday homes left empty this woeful summer. This is a report of an extreme case.  
  • Taking of folk who disobey the rules  . . . Here's Day 46 of María's Chronicle.  
  • Yesterday, my train from Madrid left 50 minutes late, meaning missed connections in both Ourense and Santiago. I arrived home 2 hours later than expected, having spent 11 hours travelling 625km. This is a long time to have a mask permanently over your mouth and nose. Fortunately, the rule was not being ignored by any young folk on any of the 3 trains I took. The even better news is that I can reclaim the cost of my ticket, because the delay was greater than an hour . . .

The UK

  • Simon Jenkins: The Spain quarantine decision shows No 10 is still in coronavirus panic mode  . . .  The impression given by the cabinet throughout the pandemic has been constant. It is of a group of ministers and scientists in a bunker, all terrified for their headlines and reputations, blown hither and thither by unreliable data. . . This pandemic is encircling the world with a trail of unreliable data. Yet that data is converted into policies with enormous personal and economic consequences. Full article here.  
  • The headline of this Guardian article: If Britain ditches overseas holidays, we can eliminate coronavirus.   

The USA

  • Yesterday the USA finally overtook France in the Deaths per Million table - 465 v 463. Ignoring the newcomers of Chile and Peru, the next country to pass - maybe - will be Sweden, currently static at 567. So, a way to go. But who would rule it out? Especially if Sweden really does avoid a 2nd wave.

Finally  

  • A range of things happened in my garden in my 2 weeks away, when Pontevedra was hotter and drier than normal. From good-ish to bad-ish:-

- The wisteria has gone tendril-mad, though still hasn’t produced any flowers.

- Equally, the bougainvillea has lots of new branch-lettes and, needless to say, long suckers.

- The Virginia creeper has shot up to the roof.

- Parts of my ivy hedge have died, leaving my new neighbours' new, brown plastic 'wall' totally exposed to the view from my kitchen.

- Virtually all of the 'fine' grass I've planted in the last year at the front and side of the house is yellow-to-brown and doesn't look it'll survive.

So. . . Time to get out the secateurs and to increase my water bills. And perhaps to buy some of the hardier gramón grass. Variously called, in English, Bermuda grass, Dhoob, dūrvā grass, ethana grass, dubo, dog's tooth grass, Bahama grass, devil's grass, couch grass, Indian doab, arugampul, grama, wiregrass, crab grass and scutch grass. Which my new neighbours have planted all around their house in the last few months and which looks as good as new . . . Damn them!  

 

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



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