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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: 18 February 2021
18 February 2021 @ 12:30

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'


I'm on record saying the screens and distancing - possibly even masks - will be with us for a long time, at least during winters. So, I naturally agree with this comment: Society will never 'learn to live with Covid' as with flu. Rather than seeing Covid like flu, it's more likely to start seeing flu like Covid. . . . Only a minority of informed citizens know that flu is a deadly and costly disease, claiming tens of thousands of lives a year, and increasing the mortality rate of several other illnesses. Tolerance of flu is built on shaky ground, which may finally buckle in the era of Covid.

Meanwhile, the UK . . .

Living La Vida Loca in Galicia/Spain 

Lenox Napier walks us through the Catalan election results here.

Things can change fast. Reader Eamon tells me there are now a number of new ferry services from the west coast of Portugal and Galicia to the UK, specifically Liverpool. Here's one going from Ferrol. It’d be nice to see Liverpool port regenerated as a result of Brexit, because Iberian exporters are avoiding the overland route, French strikes and Dover bottlenecks. I’ll be checking out whether any of them take passengers as well as freight and cars. 

Oh, no! . . . One of my bugbears is getting bigger.

I now know the charges for the books I got last week:-

1. IVA suplidos importación. (Surcharge)

2. Despacho (Delivery/Clearance/Customs clearance)

3. IVA on the despacho charge.

These seem like just 3 new taxes to me totalling 25% of value - to the benefit of the Spanish Treasury.

I walk for an hour at 4pm. During the last 3 weeks of rain, I've become convinced that 4pm onwards is the wettest part of Galician winter days, at least along the coast. Even on days which are otherwise dry. Maybe something to do with land and water temperatures and resulting winds. I recall being told something about this years ago by a friend with a yacht in the Med.

Talking of walking . . . María's Tsunami, Day 17.  

The UK and Brexit

Richard North, though a Brexiteer, despises Boris Johnson and his appalling deal. He's not a fan of the British media either: It seems we are condemned to live in a sort of news 'limbo', where the media pay lip service to Brexit as an issue, without really engaging in the substance, churning the same basic sub-set of stories. Rather like in the run-up to the 'completion' of the Single Market, when all the media were interested in was 'Euro-sillies' like standardised condom sizes, fishermen in hairnets and other Johnsonesque fabrications, the media have reduced Brexit to a 'red tape' soap opera.  Even the 'heavy' journals, RN would say. The UK media isn't what it once was. Thanks to Mr Murdoch?

The Way of the World

What would most surprise a time traveller from a hundred years ago about our 21st-century society? . . . The most striking change would be the people themselves. The physical appearance of the average person today is radically different from 1921. We are much fatter now. Fatness, once the exception, is now the norm. The majority of adults in Britain are overweight or obese: 60% of women, 67% of men. In the United States 73% of adults are overweight or obese. That means only slightly more than a quarter of Americans are a healthy weight. See my recent comment re the Edwardians. I wonder if things are as  bad in the non-Anglo world. Speaking as a chap who has the same BMI of 24 as he did in 1995. . . . Just sayin'.

Beyond a joke? . . . Sex education lessons may well become even more awkward. The teacher simply won’t know what to say, as half the words they would normally use will have been banned, for fear of causing offence. . . . In the Handbook of the Gender Institute of Australia's National University, instead of “mother”, the authors suggest “gestational parent” – and instead of “father” - “non-birthing parent”.

Any guesses for the replacement of 'midwife'?


I confess I'd never twigged 'Northumbria' was taken from 'North of (the river) Humber'. And I didn't know there use to be a Southumbria. Actually, Suðanhymbre, as opposed to Norþan-hymbre. Nor did I know just how large Northumbria once was:-

Finally . . .

The nickname for Tchaikovsky's penultimate and perhaps best-known symphony is ‘Symphonie Pathétique’.  It turns out that this is a mistranslation of ‘Pateticheskaya’, Russian  for ‘passionate’ - specifically chosen by Tchaikovsky to convey his pride in the work he put in to create it. After his death, it was borrowed into French as ‘pathétique’.

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