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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: 19 October 2020
19 October 2020 @ 08:55

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'*  n'* 


Here’s another of those articles which are both fascinating and possibly true. If so, it would certainly answer some obvious questions about the spread and  non-spread of the virus.

Living La Vida Loca in Spain/Galicia

It's hard to read or talk about politics in Spain without coming up against the phrase 'political dysfunction'. This article plus this one will explain why. In the former, the estimable Guy Hedgecoe points out that: The economic crisis of a decade ago revealed thick seams of dishonesty and amateurism running through the revered financial system. The glut of corruption scandals that followed did much the same for the political class, as well as tainting the monarchy. Meanwhile, the Catalan crisis has put in question the country’s territorial model. And GH endorses the comment of 'a senior cabinet minister' that: Spain’s democratic institutions are too weak to be sure of them following through on an election result. In a word, says GH, it's time for a change'. But you know this because I said it a few days/weeks ago, when I added it was unlikely to happen. On this, GH opines: A full-blown new constitution would be a tall order, especially right now. But surely it is time that Spain faced up to the fact that, beyond the glaring weaknesses of its politics and monarchy, the institutional bedrock of any democracy – the judiciary – is desperately ripe for an overhaul. 

GH cites the article by the equally, if not more, estimable David Jimenez. If you haven't read it yet, this is his opening para: Politicians here seem to be mystified as to why Spain is, once again, the European country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. They have blamed the recklessness of youth, our Latin inability to keep our distance, and even immigration. And yet all this time the answer has been right under their noses: Nothing has eased the spread of the virus as much as their own incompetence.    

It's said that countries get the politicians they deserve. One looks at Spain, the UK and the USA right now and wonders how to change the people into a more deserving group . . .

By pure coincidence, here's Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas on Spanish politics a few days ago.        

Footnote: Talking of 'the revered financial system', I recall laughing out loud at (then)Prime Minister Zapatero's boast that Spain had the strongest financial system in the world and so would emerge from the 2008 global crisis unscathed. But he was even funnier with his earlier claim that Spain, having overtaken both Italy and France, would soon have a per capita GDP higher than Germany's. What a joker that Bambi was!

Less controversially . . . María's Fallback chronicle: Day 34     

The UK

The government has an app which allows you to determine what jobs would suit you if Covid has left you unemployed. Someone filled in the form as if she had Boris Johnson's attributes. The resulting recommendation was . . . . estate agent(realtor).


The word extranjero can mean stranger, foreign or alien. I checked on because of this entry in my diary of 2003: There was a headline in the local Galician paper last week which read 'Foreign banks now control 65% of the market in Galicia.' 'Foreign' turned out to mean banks from other parts of Spain.

From a film (Crazy, Stupid Love) last night . . Integral: Fully nude; stark naked; starkers. Short for desnudo integral, I believe.

Finally . . .

I was talking to a Spanish friend re football yesterday and then, as so often happens in Spain, we switched to the subject of food. I asked if he knew that Carballiño was famous for the cooking of octopus. He denied this was true. Turned out that when I said pulpo, he heard football. Maybe he was 'sensitised'; or maybe I didn't spit out the initial P in pulpo. Which, as with the letter T, you have to do ifSpanish ears are going to pick it up.


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

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