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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: 22 November 2020
22 November 2020 @ 12:09

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'*  


A nice commentary on the vaccines in the first article below

Living La Vida Loca in Galicia/Spain

A company called Interias provides bespoke tours around Spain, Portugal and Andorra. Plus Lourdes in France. Here's something about their planned promotional video for Galicia. And here's  the (short) video itself. I won't comment this  time on Galicia's claims to be Celtic. Let alone its claim to be uniquely Celtic.

Early last week it was reported that the police had fined the owners of several cars in a carpark for not having had their annual inspection. The interesting aspect was that they were all police cars. Late in the week, it was reported all the cars had now had an inspection. Odd that the owners didn't, like the rest of us, have to wait weeks for an appointment at one of the ITV inspection centres.

A meme - The Galician phone company - 'R' - has jumped on the bandwagon - Venres neghro R do 9 ao 30 de novembro.

María's Riding the Wave - Day 7.  

The USA 

An interesting perspective  - The USA is Ancient Rome.

So, what next for the lovely Ivanka, other than a pitch for the Presidency in 2024? See second article below

Finally . . .

Another random quote, to  raise a smile. For some: Modern art is  what happens when painters stop looking at girls and  persuade themselves they have a better idea: John Ciardi.


1. The Vaccine: Rod Liddle in The Times

I am not an anti-vaxxer. I do not believe, as many do, that it is the quick route to a one world government presided over by flickering-tongued reptilian overlords or, worse, communists. My rules for whether or not to have a vaccine have always been simple: is it for the good of the community, and do the risks associated with contracting the illness outweigh the risks of the vaccine itself? So with Covid I’m about 50% convinced. Here are the reasons for my doubts.

First, the government has drawn up a list of 11 priority categories for vaccination. Among the first five — those who will get the vaccine first — are the aged, from over-65s upwards. At first sight this seems sensible, because the virus has proved most lethal within those age groups. The problem is, these are the people least likely to catch Covid.

If you examine the excess death statistics for the UK, you will find that remarkably, the over-85s — the most vulnerable category of all — have shown a negative excess death rate for the past four months. In other words, fewer are dying than usual. This suggests to me that the very elderly have been taking precautions that have, by a useful corollary, protected them from other life-threatening infections.

Might this not be our best form of protection in future? To take personal responsibility for our safety, as the elderly are doing? The French, incidentally, have drawn up a different list of prioritised citizens — it includes those who deal with other members of the public: hospitality workers, cab drivers, health workers and so on. This seems to me far more sensible. Although I would also make sure Kyle Walker and Mo Salah got vaccinated every five days.

But then there’s this. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, suggests we will still need to socially distance even after we have received the vaccine. So, the government is faced with persuading a population to receive a vaccine, which may have fairly unpleasant side effects, to protect them for a few months from an illness that in 95% of cases will not affect them unduly (indeed, they may not even be aware they have had the illness), even though it will not allow them to return to anything approaching a “normal” life.

They may need to have the vaccination — two shots, remember, spread over a few weeks — three times each year. All this to protect a very small tranche of the population, the very elderly, who, while most at risk from the lethal effects of Covid, are also least likely to get it and are dying at a lesser rate than in previous years. Does this make much sense?

2. Ivanka’s turned into Pariah Barbie: trashed and abandoned in a New York minute. Camilla Long, The Times

In her memoir about the collapse of her husband’s empire, Barbara Amiel recalls how she couldn’t stop crying after Conrad Black was arrested on suspicion of fraud. She’d listen to Andrea Bocelli crooning Time to Say Goodbye daily and would fantasise about the glittering revenge party she’d throw at the Savoy “for the friends who stood by us” after he got out of jail.

Dancing with a dead man in front of dead people to dead music is just about how I’d sum up the life that is facing the Trumps. Every time I read about Ivanka or Melania, I wonder: what will happen to Eva and Blondi now? If you thought the humiliation of the election was awful — if you cringed at Rudy Giuliani’s running-espresso hair dye — then you have no idea what acute social torture is being lined up for the Trump women if they dare to sneak back to New York in their acres of camel bodycon.

Ivanka could be openly “harangued” if she so much as turns up anywhere “cool like the Waverly Inn”; if she dares to appear at the opera “with her thousand-dollar hair”, an actress said last week, she might easily be “ejected”. She will be ignored by people she thought were beneath her, such as shop girls or hairdressers; her art collection is “virtually unsaleable”. As for work, two investigations have been widened to examine her stake in her father’s business — most New Yorkers see her as a loathsome “opportunistic grifter”, says a friend, who committed “class betrayal” when she obviously started supporting her father. No one will admit being friends with Ivanka, said one television writer on Friday, “and people admit to being friends with Henry Kissinger”.

She is fated to be “an ageing, corrupt, villainous Barbie”, said Republican Steve Schmidt, and will be “paying the price” for what she did. “There will never be a Met Ball for you again,” he added. This is the strongest curse anyone in New York society can issue.

Above all, they will be reminded that they are trash and people always thought they were. On Tuesday a hatchet job by Ivanka’s former best school friend appeared in the pariah’s monthly, Vanity Fair. You had to read it to remind yourself how efficiently unpleasant the rich can be once you’ve fallen from grace.

Ivanka could always pass, she wrote, for “polite” and “refined” in places such as Newport, Rhode Island — a place so snobby the locals call the Kennedys “white trash” — but everyone still thought her father was vulgar and a social embarrassment. Even Florida rejected him: he’s fought legal battles with Palm Beach for decades.

He was “insecure” about the posh old clubs, telling diners at Mar-a-Lago that they were “a dump”. You think: why is this woman waiting until now to say this? Couldn’t we have used it four years ago? But that’s the problem with rich people. They’re shallow cowards, who’ll only pile on once they’re sure someone’s out of favour or, worse, running out of cash, as Trump might be.

Only now, for example, do we learn Ivanka was a mean girl who once “blamed a fart on a classmate” at Chapin, the upper-crusty New York school where Trump sent her in the hope he might erase the family’s clumpy German roots (Trump’s grandfather sold horse burgers and prostitutes). Only now do we learn she orchestrated a famous Chapin “incident” in which she goaded classmates to flash their breasts at “the hot dog man” out of the window of their classroom and later pretended she was nothing to do with it. Only now do we learn that Ivanka might not — spoiler alert — really like poor people, asking her friend “why would you tell me to read a book about f***ing poor people?” after she recommended a novel about a man who ran a diner.

The feeling among sniffy New York circles is she will have to move to Florida or, even worse, Texas, where she can mobilise troops for what will inevitably be her presidential bid. How will she fare among the Darleens at the Dallas spring galas? New Yorkers can’t wait to find out.


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

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