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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: 3 December 2020
03 December 2020 @ 11:25

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'*  

 Living La Vida Loca in Galicia/Spain

On my way into town yesterday, there was a bit of an argument on the one-way bridge over a river. Fortunately, there was a police car in front of mine. Otherwise, I suspect I'd still be there now, watching the stand-off between 2 drivers in the middle of the bridge. The police eventually got one of them to reverse - in my understanding of the signs re right of way, the wrong one. But no matter, it solved the problem. I then followed the police car to my parking place, along a road with a 30kph speed limit. I couldn't help noticing it was doing 47.

Earlier in the morning, I'd been behind a learner driver which turned left at 2 roundabouts without signalling and after making a huge curve in the outside lane. Why on earth are they still being taught - at least here in Galicia - something that contravenes El Tráfico's advice/instructions? Of course, one gets used to this but I suspect foreign drivers making their first sortie onto Spain's(Galicia's) roads must have quite a few scares from cars crossing them unexpectedly from the right.

Here's María's Riding the Wave - Day 18  

The UK

It’s easy to see why the government was so determined to present the authorisation by UK regulators of the Biontech vaccine as a great post-Brexit British success story. The vaccine may have been developed by a German company founded by two Turkish immigrants in partnership with an American pharmaceuticals giant and authorised under an existing exemption under the European Union rules — but this is a government in desperate need of good news to distract public attention not only from its dismal handling of the pandemic but also the bleak economic outlook.

The Americanisation of 'raindrop' Prince Harry is complete. From his words to his wardrobe, the Prince is succumbing to what shall henceforth be known as 'the reverse Madonna' See the article below, from a different columnist.

The EU

Europe will pay a high price for vaccine bureaucracy while nimble Britain breaks free. Bureaucracy and legalistic inertia will give the virus one last chance to cause maximum devastation on the Continent. And this slippage of several weeks will have serious consequences for a clutch of eurozone economies already in trouble, suggests Ambrose Evans Pritchard. Adding that: While Europe’s [rollout] calendar is not yet clear, the EU regulator has pencilled in a decision at the end of December. That is a wasted month. The roll-out will then be painfully slow across Southern Europe. . . . In short, Europe's one-month vaccine delay at this stage of the pandemic locks in another quarter of wreckage and pushes a string of EMU states a step closer to depressionary metastasis. It may bring into play the ECB’s other nagging worry: a €1.4 trillion deluge of bad debts in the banking system. Doesn't sound nice.

The Way of the World

The tide turns: It took under a minute for the Mermaids CEO, Susie Green, to declare on Newsnight that the High Court judgment on puberty blockers will cause a wave of child suicide. When Emily Maitlis replied that the Tavistock GIDS’ (gender identity development service) own website says that, thankfully, suicide is extremely rare and such talk is dangerous, Green replied: “I don’t think so, not when this is anecdotal.” “Anecdotal” is all that Mermaids have left, along with fearmongering and quasi-religious belief. The judicial review was headed by the president of the Queen’s Bench Division, one of the country’s top judges, it considered thousands of pages of expert testimony, legal precedent and scientific data, before deciding that children lack capacity to consent to treatments which will remove their fertility and future sexual fulfilment. No matter. Green put her own child on puberty blockers at 13, before genital surgery in Thailand at 16. To disavow this treatment now would be to admit a grave mistake. So she ploughs on, insisting other people’s children too need their bodies “correcting” before their minds are fully formed. Like 1950s lobotomies, paediatric transition is increasingly exposed as a grotesque medical fad. The temple is crumbling, but the high priestess retains her zeal.

Spanish

Just a few slang terms here, not necessarily in use all around the Hispanic world. 

Finally . . .

Amusing aphorisms No. 4: It's the start of a brand new day, and I'm off like a herd of turtles.

On Dutch radio just now, de to a technical glitch, 2 people were speaking at the same time. Making it impossible to understand either. So . . . Double Dutch! 

THE ARTICLE

Help! Prince Harry is now speaking in Californian. In a video launching the Water Bear streaming platform Harry showed his grasp of New Age lingo. 

Here’s how you, too, can be both ‘energised’ and meaningless: Stuart Heritage

America has done strange things to Prince Harry. Once he was simply a hard-drinking, Nazi-dressing, naked pool-playing minor royal. But now, thanks to the bizarre new video he made to mark the launch of Water Bear — a service called somewhat redundantly “The Netflix for documentaries” — it’s clear that he has now gone full California, cramming his vocabulary with an endless barrage of empty faux-profound psychobabble. “What if every single one of us was a raindrop?” he asked at one point. If you want to talk like Prince Harry, and you definitely do, here are some tips.

Be slightly meaningless

Apart from the raindrop line, the best thing that Harry said in his speech was this: “Being in nature is the most healing part of life, I truly believe that’s one reason why it’s there.” Because while it may sound good in the moment, on closer inspection it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. A good exercise is to use this blueprint to describe other things around you. Try saying: “Drizzle is the most empowering form of precipitation, I truly believe that’s one reason why we have a sky.” Or: “Bananas are the most holistic food in the shop, I truly believe that’s one of the reasons why we have shops.”

Be inspirational

Don’t be interesting. To be interesting is to possess a distinct personality and a compelling worldview. Being inspirational, on the other hand, is a far easier proposition. The quickest way to be inspirational is to simply describe everything around you as inspirational. Activism is inspirational. Nature is inspirational. Your shoes, in the right conditions, have the potential to be inspirational. What do these things actually inspire you to do? Nobody knows, and that’s the beauty of it.

Be energised

Again, please don’t confuse being energised with being enthusiastic. For example, try to imagine Gwyneth Paltrow being enthusiastic about anything. It’s impossible, isn’t it? Nevertheless, she is perpetually energised. Sunrise yoga makes her energised. Smoothies make her energised. Wellness makes her energised. Next time you feel enthusiastic, try to be a bit more bland and wan, and you’ll be well on your way.

Talk about raindrops

We really do have to address this. “What if every single one of us was a raindrop, and if every single one of us cared?” may be the most perfect line ever uttered by a human being. It works as an inspirational quote you could put on Instagram. It works as something you would embroider on a cushion. It works as the first line of a genuinely terrible folk song. What does it mean? Nobody knows, and that’s what makes it so perfectly Californian.

Ruin common phrases

Have you heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words”? Of course you have. But that isn’t Californian enough for Prince Harry, who during his speech chose to rephrase it as: “For me it’s about putting the do’s behind the say’s.” Again, this hopeless New Age word salad is easy enough to replicate. Instead of saying, “Honesty is the best policy”, try “For me, it’s about putting the trues behind the falses.” Instead of “Attack is the best form of defence”, try “For me, it’s about putting the goes behind the stops.” Instead of saying, “Silence is golden”, say, “For me, it’s about putting the nothings behind the somethings”.

Have almost no real responsibilities whatsoever 

This is the big one. If you really want to live in an uplifted cloud of energised Californian inspiration, it seems the best way is to have lots of free time, a fat pillow of disposable income and no proper job to speak of. In this regard, Prince Harry was born to be Californian.

 

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



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2 Comments


GuyT said:
03 December 2020 @ 22:49

Apropos roundabouts...I was driving near Alicante a month or so ago, going straight across on a roundabout (2nd exit) in the outside lane. As I exited I strayed out of my lane and my rear offside mudguard got whacked by a car also exiting on the inside lane (to my immediate left). My fault....I'd had a long day behind the wheel. I pulled over and waited for what turned out to be a young Romanian girl driver to join me. The damage to her car was minor, €500 at most and since it was obviously my fault, I tried to explain I might as well just pay for it and leave insurance out of it. She was adamant on calling Trafico, who turned up five minutes later. The cops looked at her crushed nearside wing and my crushed offside mudguard for five seconds and ticketed her for "obviously not giving right of way to the car in front". It was as well I was wearing my covid mask as I tried not to laugh. I turned it in to my insurance and as soon as I mentioned damage to my rear...they interrupted "obviously the other party's fault for not giving way". When in Rome.


Doncolin said:
03 December 2020 @ 23:34

Grate story,,Guy. Actually, when I warn my visitors about roundabouts, I always tell them what I've been told, that if you hit a car coming from your right in Spain, it's always considered to be your fault, regardless of the other driver's behaviour. Your story seems to bear this out. When going straight on, I always double check if anything at all is coming from the right, in what would be considered in other countries to be the wrong lane.


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