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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

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

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 12. August 2020
12 August 2020 @ 10:15

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'*  

Covid 19 

1. Sweden. Herd immunity: Claim and counterclaim. It is close to achieving this. No, it isn't. Here's something new from the latter camp, from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Sweden has yet to show evidence of herd immunity, with the same number of people infected in London as in Stockholm. Antibody tests showed that 17% of people in both London and Stockholm had been infected in April.

2. Current infection rates - cases per 100,000 - according to the UK government:-

Spain 90.3   On the UK government’s red list.

Malta 63.0 

Belgium 61.7  

Netherlands 34.6  Where no one  has been wearing masks, except on public transport. About to go on the UK's red list?

France 29.4 Ditto

Portugal 24.6. About to come off the UK's red list?

Poland 23.7  

Britain 17.1  

Greece 14.2  

Germany 13.3  

Italy 7.5

3. Spain. An official view on the resurgence of infections: Spain's highly social culture is partly to blame. This is a country that doesn't understand holding a celebration, or taking a holiday if you're not going to share them.

4. Worth pondering? . . . The ONS figures for excess deaths published yesterday show that fewer people are dying than is usual at this time of year and more are succumbing to flu and pneumonia than to Covid. Yet governments across the globe have managed to make this virus uniquely resistant to rational thought and decision-making.

Living La Vida Loca 

  • There was a spectacular meteor shower over Spain last night. We didn't see it here in Galicia because:- 1. We are not in Extremadura or Andalucia, and 2. It rained for the first time in many weeks. Good for my parched lawns, I hope. 
  • But we had a very red sunset last night, making my cityscape even prettier than usual. I tried to capture it on both my phone and camera but this is the (inadequate) best I could do:-

  • It's very possibly a consequence of Covid but I've been waiting 7 weeks for a company to come and fix/replace the large blind in my lounge. And also for my usual plumber to replace the flush mechanism in 2 toilets. Or, rather, I was. This week I've managed to get alternative técnicos to come and give me estimates. Plus promises as to when the work will be carried out. Vamos a ver.
  • Talking of delays . . . Yesterday I went to possibly the only remaining domestic appliance store in Pontevedra city - there used to be at least 4 - in search of some new bathroom scales - after my (clumsy) cleaner had told me that the previous appliance had 'exploded' when she'd merely brushed against it with a mop. After 15-20 minutes of waiting - unacknowledged - at the counter while 2 assistants faffed around on a computer, I left - with the intention of making Jeff Bezos even richer. But, passing a Chinese bazar, I went in and bought some scales at 2/3 of the price in the shop. Interestingly, I wasn't the only impatient potential customer to leave: a Spanish couple did so as well. But I don't think the assistants even noticed. Or cared, if they did. I wonder how long the shop will remain open.
  • I might have been wrong about kids being allowed to congregate in front of the concert stages:-

  • Maria's chronicle of our Vida Anormal, Day 57. 


The Way of the World

  • “Take care” has become an inescapable verbal tic in the lexicon of modern life, along with “stay safe”, two phrases I hardly ever heard growing up. It is not that people in the past did not want to stay safe or take care but our entire world did not revolve around these notions. The gradual infantilisation of society that is exemplified by weather warnings helps explain the over-reaction to the coronavirus. Public policy is driven by a concept known as the precautionary principle whereby everything is done to avert an immediate risk while medium to long-term threats are ignored. Governments in thrall to this nefarious doctrine persuade people that risk can be eradicated when it can’t be   


1. A reader has kindly added to Maria's suggestions for 'The pot calling the kettle black': Dijo la sartén a la caldera: '¡Quita allá, culinegra!'.

2. It's not uncommon, these days, to see the English word ‘test’ used in stead of prueba. But  my eye was drawn yesterday to los test, making me wonder if the plural shouldn't be, Spanish style, los testes. But I guess not. For one reason and another.

Finally . . .  

  • I  wonder where 2 of these huge ‘terror crocodiles’(Deinosuchus) were caged in Noah's ark.

  • Does anyone know how to get BBC podcasts on iTunes? Whenever I try to get the relevant URL - as per BBC instructions - I get the message: Do you want to allow this page to open “NetNewsWire”? Which is a reader like The Old Reader and Feedly. And which I don't need/want. 


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

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