Dawn

Dawn

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Notice

Dear reader,

Please note that I no longer post this blog here. 


You can find it on Wordpress here.


My apologies for any inconvenience to you.


Colin Davies

Pontevedra


15 July 2020

    



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain' Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 14.7.21

 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.  


Please note. This is the last post which will appear here on Blogger. You can find it on Wordpress. You can find it here, plus other stuff on Galicia and Pontevedra. Maybe sign up for receipt by email. Which helps me know my readership.


Cosas de España/Galiza  


Not good news: Spain now has the highest rate of Covid infections in Europe - 436 per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days. Both France and Germany have advised their citizens against taking holidays here this summer.


In Pontevedra's main square last night, we were treated to a Beatles tribute band. Not only was the singer female but so were all other members except the drummer. Although  they performed all their songs in English, they made an exception with ‘I Feel Fine’, which was rendered in Gallego, as Síntome ben. I think. As the volume was - as ever - excessive, I had trouble making out anything.


The nearby town of Moraña will this year have its annual lamb spit-roasting fiesta. This is one of my favourites and I've attended it several times but usually eating in a bar or restaurant, a little away form the main marquee/tent. This is because you need 15 people to enter the lottery for a table there. And getting 15 Spanish people to really commit to the event would be like herding sheep. Sure, I could get 14 friends to say they'll come but, in Spain, that amounts to sweet FA. Each of their positive responses would have the unstated rider, unless I have something better to do on the day. Which might well end up with me paying for several no-shows. Or becoming a ticket tout in the town an hour before the event. A confession . . . Years ago, I ordered roast lamb in a restaurant and enjoyed it so much I had it again. . . .


Talking of no shows - there are reports of only 30% of people turning up at one vaccination spot earlier this week. Who knows why. Too young to care? Anti-vaxxer mentality? Still in bed? Or something else? But, whatever, it's not helping to stop the current massive surge in cases.


María's (newish) Not So Fast: Day 9


The UK


A play on the WW2 government exhortation to Stay Calm and Carry Oncourtesy of an old friend:-


The EU

There are increasing concerns and differing tactics being adopted across Europe to address the on-going impact of Covid, as it continues to wreak havoc, with the Delta variant taking a dominant role in escalating case numbers. The lifting of restrictions and increasing the rate of vaccinations, particularly among the younger age demographic, are challenges that all countries are facing. There is no easy answer, but the repercussions of getting it drastically wrong could be catastrophic. See here.


France


Wow . . . The discovery of a hoard of 9th-century Frankish silver in a Polish field has prompted speculation that it may be part of a vast ransom -  2 tonnes of gold and silver - paid to save Paris from the Norse Vikings who'd besieged the city in 845AD. Not everyone accepts this theory, of course.


The Way of the World


SUVs:  Why is urban Britain, a country once home to ingenious small-car engineering (think of the original Mini), turning to elephantine lumps of gas-guzzling steel and glass at precisely the point in our planet’s history when we realise that weight and size are bad things?


Spanish


Having heard David Rose's ‘The Stripper yesterday’, I checked on the Spanish translation. There are 2 words, in fact - La Desnudista and, inevitably, La Estríper. 


Finally  . . .

 

One of my neighbours has had to go into quarantine because 2 kids in her son's playgroup class had tested positive. This has disrupted both her personal and business plans and, in frustration, she wrote last night. Jesús! Estoy harta de este fuck*** virus/año. After I'd stopped laughing, I advised her of the correct use of the asterisks . . 



Note: If you’ve arrived here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try this.  


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 13.7.21

 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'

  

Please note. This blog appears on both Google's Blogger and on Wordpress. I'm not happy with Blogger, so I'll be leaving it very soon. If you want to switch, this is the link. Maybe sign up for receipt by email. Which helps me know my readership.


Cosas de España/Galiza  


The government is said to be considering making the Covid-driven ban on smoking on café and restaurant terraces permanent. While naturally happy to support this initiative in principle, I fear this will lead to even greater gatherings of smokers standing not far from the tables. Leading to even larger clouds of smoke blowing down the narrow streets of our tapas quarter. Why not ban smoking altogether? Or just allow the shooting of all smokers on sight? Or smell.


Mark Stücklin report on burglary trends here, possibly with a personal interest in seeing the sale of certain alarm systems.


This is an article on the 'top-rated attractions in every Spanish province'. Actually, I think they mean region, as only 1 of Galicia's 4 provinces rates a (justifiable) mention.


Here's Lenox of Spanish Shilling on his early driving experiences. And here's my comment to his amusing post:- The 'permanent' UK driving licence I got c. 1966 didn't have a foto. When I came to Spain in 2000, I lacked an ID card and didn't want to carry my passport around with me, to present to supermarket cashiers when using a bank card. So, I pasted a foto into my flimsy pink-paper UK licence, before swapping it a few months for a Spanish one. At which time, Tráfico minions mis-read my old UK licence and gave me permission to drive a huge truck and trailer. Albeit for only 5 years.


María's (new) Not So Fast: Days 6, 7 & 8  Where's the beef?


María has confirmed my belief that, while the UK is talking about a 3rd Covid wave, Spain is well into its 5th. Actually, it's arguable it's a 6th wave:-



 The EU: The Euros Final


The consensus is that the Italian team which (justifiably) beat England on Sunday wasn't the Italy team of old but a newer, more positive and creative one, not dependent on stellar defence and rapid breakouts. These stats suggest it really was 'old Italy' in one respect:-                    

Possession: Italy 65% England 35%

Fouls committed: Italy 21  England 13

Yellow cards: Italy 5   England 1

Red cards: Italy: None but should have had 1  England: None


So, despite have the vast majority of possession, Italy was, shall we say, more robust than England when they didn't have the ball and wanted to get it back. 


France

 

The government has long had a problem - in part created by itself - of large scale vaccine resistance among the (bolshy) French. As a first step in a campaign against this, the president has said vaccination will be compulsory for health workers, and that folk will be banned from trains, shopping centres and restaurants if they don't have a Covid passport. Stand by for fireworks. Especially as M Macron has warned that the country might have to move towards mandatory vaccinations for all, if resistance to inoculations continues.


Spanish


Topical words from the root barro, ‘mud’:-

Embarrar: To make dirty

Embarrado: A dirty player

Embarraron el partido. They played dirty


English


It seems I maligned the folk who did the translations at the Museum of the History of Madrid, when early this month I questioned their translation of Jornadas Reales as 'Royal Progresses'. I've since come across references to Royal Progresses such as this one and have seen them defined as ‘Tours of their kingdom by a monarch and his or her retinue and entourage.'


Finally  . . .


Maria has advised that what I termed 'baseball boots' are not called this in the USA, where they're 'Converse hi-tops', or just 'hi-tops.' I'm sure, of course, that this is true but, if you put 'baseball boots' in Google Images, you aren't denied pictures such as this one. For completion, these are the Converse boots I saw on the street, which looked very much like the ones I saw/had as a kid, quite a few years ago.


This woman is quite a catch



Note: If you’ve arrived here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try this.  

Monday, July 12, 2021

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 12.7.21

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' 



Please note. This blog appears on both Google's Blogger and on Wordpress. I'm not happy with Blogger, so I'll be leaving it soon. If you want to switch, this is the link. Maybe sign up for receipt by email. Which helps me know my readership.


Cosas de España/Galiza


Some Eurostat figures here, showing where Spain comes as regards the cost of living . . . Just below the EU average overall, but one of the most expensive for telecoms. I guess this data doesn’t reflect the recent increase in electricity prices.


A Covid cartoon with a few Spanglish slang terms for you:-


Faced with a rapidly increasing number of Covid cases - though not deaths - the president of the Galician Xunta is reported to be preparing the re-imposition of some restrictions. Very probably selectively, to specific cities/towns/villages or barrios.


Pontevedra’s dog pound has seen a large rise in the number of guest there. Maybe because folk have discovered the benefit of having a dog to walk with during lockdowns.


Pontevedra’s university - a branch of Vigo’s, I think - doesn’t offer the full range of courses but, for those it does, these are the required mark in the entrance exam. These are always given as out of 14 - to 3 decimal places! - but I’ve changed them to percentages. As ever, the top ones are a bit of a surprise:-

Nursing: 82%

Physiotherapy:82%

The Sciences of Physical Activity and Sport:[?]76%

AV Communication: 74%

Primary teaching: 71%

Publicity/Advertising and PR: 68%

Infant education: 66%

Fine Arts: 60%

Forestry: 37%

Public sector Direction and Management: 36%


The UK


I wonder how many Brits still consider Gareth Southgate a strategic genius. A Spanish friend, knowledgable in these things, has just told me that GS is a cagón. I’ll have to look that up, though I have an inkling as to its meaning,

 

The USA


As the Delta variant spreads rapidly - especially in areas of low vaccination - daily Covid cases have been above the 20,000 level for 3 days in a row - a level not seen since May. The 7-day average of daily new cases is up by 47% from 2 weeks ago and hospital cases have risen by 11%.


At 1,870, the USA’s deaths per million number is about to overtake the UK’s total of 1,882


Spanish


1. 'Swag': Una palabra del inglés que hace referencia a un estilo o moda particular del ámbito del rap y del hip-hop. En este sentido, alude a una manera de vestir y de comportarse, con un énfasis especial en el modo de caminar.

2.' Flow': Tener flow se empezó a usar para decir que alguien tenía estilo; que tenía rollo, en la jerga de los 80. Ese algo indescriptible que hace a alguien distinguido, único, original. A ese tener flow pronto le salió una expresión hermana. Una locución con más flow, con más garra: tener swag.

3. Una Kelly: A person - usually female - who cleans hotel rooms or your house

4. Cagón: A wimp; pussy; chicken; nappy/diaper fouler. From the verb cagar.


Quote of the week


Camilla Long: It turns out that when women get in power, we’re just as lusty and aggressive as men. The question is: Is that, really, a bad thing? Perhaps we should just stop claiming moral superiority.


Finally  . . .


It would be very nice to have this said about one’s book . . . The Four Continents [Osbert Sitwell, 1955] . . . Subtitled 'Discursions on Travel, Art, and Life', this is much more than an account of journeys undertaken or places seen, for these are merely the starting points for reflections, digressions, and discussions which encompass not only the present but also the past and the future, and penetrate, too, into the timeless realms of value and beauty.


The word ‘discursion’ isn’t recognised by my spellcheck. But it means: 'A running or rambling about: Rambling or desultory talk; expatiation. The act of discoursing or reasoning'. And Google’s Ngram shows that, although its use peaked in 1840, it’s been on the rise in the last few decades.


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 11.7.21

 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'

   

Please note. This blog appears on both Google's Blogger and on Wordpress. I'm not happy with Blogger, so I'll be leaving it soon. If you want to switch, this is the link. Maybe sign up for receipt by email. Which helps me know my readership.


Cosas de España/Galiza  


Here's the latest advice on travelling to and from Spain. How long this will remain accurate is anyone's guess.


Only in Galicia? Three headlines in yesterday's Diario de Pontevedra:-

- An alleged drug dealer had more than a million euros in his house.

- Meis reinvents its traditional fiesta to make tripe more tasty.

- Octopus supplies are now higher than before the pandemic 


When I brought my border collie to Pontevedra in late 2000, he was the only example of that wonderful breed in the city. Now, they're almost 2 a penny. Though long-haired dogs that need a great deal of exercise aren't the ideal dog in a city centre flat, I wouldn't have thought. Much more sensible to have an ugly creature no bigger than the average cat. Of which there are, sadly, many in the city. And even more of the even uglier French bulldogs and pugs. Thanks to the dictates of canine fashion among citizens who like to show off.


After a near crash involving a driver who mis-read my signal, I've decided - after years of resistance - to conform to Spanish norms and make no signal on entering, navigating or exiting a roundabout. In this way, oncoming drivers will be forced to stop, as they'll have no idea what I'm going to do next. But, of course, I won't ever assume they they will actually stop. It’s a percentages game and I’m just trying to decrease the probability of being killed on my bête noire.

 

And now a heart-warming tale, to set agains my gripe that lost items are never returned to me or handed in . . . Yesterday, as I was about to enter my car, I got a phone call and put my kindle on top of my car while I answered it. And then drove off with it still there. Halfway home, I heard a horn blown behind me and saw in my mirror a guy on a scooter 50 meters down the hill, whom I ignored. Once home, I realised what I'd done with the kindle and headed back down the hill to where I'd seen the chap on the scooter, hoping I'd find the kindle on the road there. But what I actually found was the kind soul waiting for me with kindle in hand. Since he must have been there 5-10 minutes against the possibility I'd return, I naturally thanked him profusely but later wondered if I should have offered a reward. Next time I certainly will. Though I might die before then.


P. S. I also put a magazine on the roof of the car but later found this at the side of the road near my the parking lot.


María's (new) Not So Fast: Day 5  


The UK


I hear that the government’s 'world beating' app for advising people they've been near someone infected with Covid is so troublesome folk are deleting it in droves. The Law of Unintended Consequences at work again.

 

Quote of the Day


Keeping one’s dignity on dating apps is all one has left in this modern age of courtship.

 

The Way of the World


The classic economic definition of money is 3-fold: It's:-

- a “unit of account” in which to quote everyday prices, 

- a “medium of exchange” that everyone accepts for payment, and 

- a “store of value” you can preserve your wealth in. 

Bitcoin doesn’t perform the first 2 functions. True - thanks to explosive price gains - it’s been a wonderful store of value, if you bought some 2 years ago. Yet the same was true of tulips when a mania for them gripped 17th-century Holland - until suddenly it wasn’t.

 

Finally  . . .


Aren't sudden flashbacks wonderful? Last night, I saw a young woman wearing baseball boots - a current fashion item, I'm told - and was transported back many years, to when I found some among my father's WW2 paraphernalia. An RAF pilot, he'd been based for a while in Alabama. Or maybe it was when my aunt brought me some from Canada. Flashbacks can be rather vague on details . . .


I hear there’s a big football match tonight . . .



Note: If you’ve arrived here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try this.  

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 10.7.21

 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'



Please note. This blog appears on both Google's Blogger and on Wordpress. I'm not happy with Blogger, so I'll be leaving it soon. If you want to switch, this is the link. Maybe sign up for receipt by email. Which helps me know my readership.


Cosas de España/Galiza  


Spain's judges might be right-wing but the current government certainly isn't. Its latest achievement - not before time - is to radically change Spain's 19th century laws on sexual aggression.


Spain's overall Covid incidence rate is now well above the ‘extreme risk’ level. The highest and lowest rates are now:-

12-19 – 891 per 100,000

20-29 – 1,047

70-79 – 38


Yesterday, I wondered how great the risk is of Spain moving to Red under the UK's traffic-light system. Right on cue, the relevant UK minister has warned that increasing contagion rates in Green or Amber nations can lead to their being bumped up a colour. And Germany is tightening its restrictions on folk coming from Spain.


Characterising yourself as 'different' is said to be a common/overused trope in UK ads. The latest exponent is the British government, with: See Things Differently. Other examples are the Guardian's 1986 Points of View spot, and Foot Locker's 2019 ad We See Things Differently. Plus . . . Apple has also made it a cornerstone of its brand, from the famous 1997 "Think Different" spot to a 2014 film called Perspective that played on reordering the words "Seen Things Differently". OK, but possibly the earliest and most famous example is Spain is Different, said to be the brainwave of Galicia's ex PP 'baron' Manuel Fraga, when he was Franco's Minister of Tourism way back in 60s .


Modelo 720 is a frightful law on overseas assets, originally intended to reduce tax evasion by Spaniards but with a real impact on foreigners resident here. The EU has declared certain elements of it illegal but Spain has yet to formally challenge this ruling, I believe. So we are now in the 7th year of what someone forecast 6 years ago would be a 10 year process of resolution. But since then we've had Covid. So 10 years now looks optimistic. Anyway, I mention Modelo 720 today because of this inevitable development.


A Day in the Life of Lenox Lenoxovitch.


The UK


If you watch UK TV ads, you'll be aware that: It's a rare commercial for breakfast cereal, building societies or furniture that doesn'tt feature a beaming family of colour or gay couple. That this is inaccurate doesn't stop major companies indulging in the distortion. This is a problem for the new right-of-centre GB News, which is critical of 'wokeish nonsense' but wants the advertising revenue from right-on companies such as IKEA, Vodafone, Specsavers and Bosch. (Putting that another way . .  Companies which are at the vanguard of the new cultural inclusivity).

 

Spanish


I've been down the rabbit hole of alunizaje, which is given in one dictionary as ‘smash and grab’ but which in the article I was reading seemed to mean breaking into cars by smashing a window. The RAE's dictionary has as its main definition as ‘a moon landing’. But the 2nd, slang, meaning is: Acción de dirigir un vehículo contra la luna de un escaparate con la finalidad de romperla y perpetrar un robo. Called ram-raiding in British English. Luna here effectively means a (shop)window. But the luna of your car is the windscreen, also called el parabrisas (Lit. breeze-stopper). I think.


Spanglish


Another non-existent English gerund - El tumbing: Lying down, especially on a sunbed on the beach, apparently. From the words tumbar: to overthrow/knockdown/tumble, and tumbarse: to lie down. Not to mention una tumba: tomb, grave, tombstone. In the latter case, el tumbing is not a recreational choice, of course. Like el spinning, el tumbing hasn't made it to the RAE's dictionary yet. Unlike el puenting, el lifting and the ridiculous el footing.


Finally  . . .


Did you know that straws, cotton buds and plates made of plastic are now banned in Spain?

 


Note: If you’ve arrived here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try this.  


Friday, July 09, 2021

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 9.7.21

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'


Please note. This blog appears on both Google's Blogger and on Wordpress. I'm not happy with Blogger, so I'll be leaving it very soon. If you want to switch, this is the link. Maybe sign up for receipt by email. Which helps me know my readership.


Cosas de España/Galiza  

There's a painting in the Prado which used to be by Goya, then wasn’t, but now possibly is again. It’s this one - The Colossus:- 

Officially: There's no consensus and disagreement continues. But there is growing support for it to be returned to Goya.

Sunday's football match: Everyone here in Spain will be supporting Italy on Sunday, says a Spanish football journalist. Because England - being fracasados - always choke in the big games. As England have played most of their matches at Wembley, this wouldn't be Spain if there weren't quite a few conspiracy theories doing the rounds here. And Raheem Sterling’s dubious penalty didn't help things on that front. Said journalist claims most people here will be supporting the Italians, even if though it was they who knocked out Spain in the semi-finals. Most but not all, of course. Not sure what this says about Anglo-Spanish relationships.


Given there are said to be more than 100 (150?) different genders on offer, is there a risk they'll eventually run out of letters? Or window space? 


María's (new) Not So Fast: Days 2,3 & 4. Shocking judicial bias.


The UK


The devil in the details . . . Just as I’d concluded I could travel to the UK in August without being quarantined, I see that: The UK government has said it won't accept any proof of vaccination apart from the NHS app or certificate. Terrific. Bloody Brexit!


With the incidence of Delta cases rapidly rising in Spain - as elsewhere - the question might be: Having gone from Amber to Green, is there a risk of the country going backwards to Red in the relatively near future?

 

Quote of the Day


Even in the 17th century, the nascent popular press could sow confusion in people’s mind. The advent of the internet has greatly magnified the potential for misinformation and disinformation to spread, to the extent that we may speak of twin plagues in 2020: one caused by a biological virus, the other by even more contagious viral misconceptions and falsehoods.


Spanish


HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for these examples of Spanish-influenced English terms:-

The cowboy term for prison, hoosgow, from juzgado

canyon, from cañon

vamoose, from vamos

mustang, from mesteño

alligator, from el lagarto, and 

stampede, from estampida


Plus these


Finally  . . .


Another HT to Lenox for this article displaying terrific coloured versions of famous fotos from the Civil War.