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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: 10 October 2020
10 October 2020 @ 12:17

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'* 


Here's the BBC on the latest (confusing) developments in Madrid. And here's their overview: Ahead of a long holiday weekend, with many people planning to leave the capital, it was unclear how that might be reinforced. However, the interior minister said some 7,000 security forces would be deployed around the city to ensure measures were respected. 

Living La Vida Loca in Spain/Galicia

I'm not sure which country's system of government would be considered the best in the world. Perhaps the federal system of Germany, as it seems to have handled the Covid crisis better than any other. It certainly ain't the pseudo/partially de facto federal/devolved Spanish system. The country - witness the BBC article - seems to be in need of wholesale constitutional change. But is very unlikely to get it. Perhaps come the Revolution.

The wearing of masks seems to have affected the concentration of Spanish drivers. Twice this week one of them has crossed right in front of me as I was turning left on a roundabout. Perhaps my signal confused them. If you think that I'm joking when I say that, think again. 

I've  been reviewing my diary of my first years here in Spain - 2000-2005. I note that the first time I railed against the unreliability of Spanish dinner guests was in late 2001. And I'm still doing it. Though I learnt early on, when entertaining at home, to only cook dishes that could be frozen after no-shows.

And I long ago came to admire the Spanish (much practised) gift of spontaneity. Or, putting this another way, their hatred of planning. Luckily for them the sun is more reliable than they are. As have been EU subventions so far.


I was looking at the schedule I've produced over the last 3+ years of all the adjectives applied to Donald Trump, none of which seem out of place. Especially after his behaviour of the last week. But, in truth, what can be more accurate than the short phrase: Mad, bad and dangerous?

Timely . . .


In his latest Business over Tapas bulletin, Lenox Napier pointed me towards this article - in Spanish - on refrains here which include the name of some place or other. One of these is something cited here only few days ago:- If you go away, you can't expect anyone to keep your place for you: El que se fue a Sevlla perdió su silla.

This is tje text on this - and a roughish translation.


Se ha convertido en un clásico universal, y esto hace aún más sorprendente la terrible verdad que encierra: la frase es incorrecta, al menos, atendiendo a su origen histórico.

Tal y como cuenta el Centro Virtual Cervantes "durante el reinado de Enrique IV (1454-1474), rey de Castilla, se concedió el arzobispado de Santiago de Compostela a un sobrino del arzobispo de Sevilla, Alonso de Fonseca. Dado que la ciudad de Santiago estaba un poco revuelta, el sobrino pidió a su tío que ocupara él el arzobispado de Santiago para apaciguarlo, mientras él se quedaba en el arzobispado del tío, en Sevilla. 

Y así fue hasta que Alonso de Fonseca, una vez pacificada Santiago de Compostela, quiso volver a Sevilla. 

Como su sobrino se negaba a abandonar Sevilla, hubo que recurrir a un mandamiento papal, a la intervención del rey castellano y al ahorcamiento de algunos de sus partidarios".

De esta forma, de la frase original 'quien se fue de Sevilla, perdió su silla', se fue derivando a la frase que conocemos hoy día.


It has become a universal classic, and this makes the terrible truth it holds even more surprising: the phrase is incorrect, at least, considering its historical origin.

According to he Cervantes Virtual Centre: "During the reign of Enrique IV (1454-1474), King of Castile, granted the archbishopric of Santiago de Compostela to a nephew of the Archbishop of Sevilla, Alonso de Fonseca. 

Since the city of Santiago was a bit upset about this, the nephew asked his uncle to occupy the archbishopric of Santiago to appease the citizens, while he stayed in the archbishopric of his uncle, in Sevilla. 

And this took place and continued until Santiago de Compostela was placated and Alonso de Fonseca wanted to return to Sevilla. 

As his nephew now refused to leave Sevilla, it was necessary to resort to a papal commandment, the intervention of the Castilian king and the hanging of some of the nephew’s supporters”.

In this way, the phrase we know today was derived from the original phrase: 'Whoever left Sevilla, lost his chair'. 


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

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