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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: 2 September 2020
02 September 2020 @ 11:47

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

Sweden attracted worldwide attention earlier this year when it stayed open throughout the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, and now it is holding out again, this time refusing to recommend the use of masks. While most of the world has come to terms with covering their noses and mouths in crowded places, people in Sweden are going without, riding buses and metros, shopping for food, and going to school maskless, with only a few rare souls covering up.  . . . But unlike many countries in Europe seeing a resurgence of cases - such as France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Italy - Sweden's data now seems to be pointing in the right direction: down.  See here

Living La Vida Loca in Spain and Galicia

Inditex 1: This is the Galicia-based parent company of Zara. And a bewildering - to me - host of clothes outlets which seem to dominate our main shopping street. I see they have a new one - called bizarrely Lefties - which you can read about here. Not yet in Pondevedra. As if I care . . .

Inditex 2: This is a hard to believe this story re the private owners of the company being interested in buying the Manchester United football club from the - widely unpopular - Glaziers. Who are American. I’ll believe it when I see it. 

María's Dystopian Times, Day 18.   

The UK

The problem the BBC faces in all its comedy output is that it can't bear to poke fun at the things it holds most dear. And so, as satire, it fails and becomes mere propaganda for the Establishment and the woke culture. Time for change say some. Many, possibly.   

Talking of laughing . . . Words not really necessary:-


Nice to know others are confused aussi: French bureaucrats were accused of smothering businesses in red tape yesterday after publishing an almost impenetrably convoluted guide to the wearing of masks in the workplace.

The Way of the World

A bit more on the  moribund(?) full stop/period below

Coffins made by Trappist monks. And then blessed by them! Can surely only be in the USA.


You heard it first here . . . In America, a sub-group of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is demanding that teachers “abolish standard English”, which it calls “anti-Black linguistic racism and white linguistic supremacy”. Its manifesto demands that teachers “decolonize the mind (and/or) language” and calls on them to “not dismiss Black Language simply as a dialect of English ... it’s not spoken only by Black people who are positioned in a ‘low’ or ‘working class.’ Recognize it as a language in its own right!”. It ends by stating: “This Ain’t Another Statement! This is a DEMAND for Black Linguistic Justice!”. And, no, it’s not a parody.


Three more refranes:-  

- You must face the consequences of your actions: Quien por su gusto padece, (que) vaya al inferno a quejarse.

- You're casting pearls before swine: No se hizo la miel para la boca del asno.

- You've made your bed; now lie in it: El que le hace paga.

Finally . . . 

A friend sent me this morning this wonderful Oscar Peterson video. If you don’t like the first piece, go to minute 7.57 for a divine rendition of Hymn to Freedom. One nice comment: A very heartwarming and a little bit sad concert, the old master losing his left hand and the pupil continuing his marvelous technique, so great!

And here you can hear the multi-talented (and personally hated) Hugh Laurie performing the same piece, albeit briefly.  


Teenagers' fear of the full stop is all a question of confidence: Like the Australian uplift, the fear of sounding too declaratory is symptomatic of an attitude of mind: Melanie McDonagh

Aggressive punctuation is an actual thing. Last week, research from Birmingham University revealed that teenagers perceived text messages ending in a full stop as insincere. My daughter, who’s 13, agreed. “It makes you look angry,” she said. However, ellipses, the three dots that take the edge off every statement, are fine.

It strikes me that this reluctance on the part of teenagers to assert anything, as in saying something categoric enough to require a full stop, is symptomatic of an attitude of mind. It’s the equivalent of an earlier kind of diction, the terminally irritating Australian uplift at the end of a sentence which turns every statement into a question. Thus, saying anything assertively, like making a statement, is seen as being aggressively sure of yourself, whereas being tentative in your spoken or text speech is inviting agreement from your interlocutor. 

Similarly, many teenagers won’t intrude on others’ space by calling them on the phone rather than texting, unless they really do require an immediate response. That’s a kind of etiquette in itself. And, funnily enough, it replicates the unease many felt nearly a century ago about the telephone intruding into people’s homes with its assertive ring … and, in a way, the concerns were right.

But there’s another aspect to all this, viz, the perennial desire of the young to send up adult attempts to ape their vernacular. So, teenagers joyously mock grown ups’ use of emojis; my daughters’ friends use them sparingly… the eyes streaming tears, as in tears of laughter, and eyes and mouth symbols for god knows what.

When teenagers do use copious emojis, beware. It may be what she calls “fairy comments”, by which she means using hearts, flowers, sparkles and fairy symbols to send up any statement they accompany as insincere and ironic – usually quotes on Instagram by white male politicians. Funnily enough, that’s exactly how these same symbols are used in the Asterix books … only they’re funnier. But that’s the usage right now. Give it another couple of weeks and the teenagers will probably have moved on. It’s annoying. Full stop.


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

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