Thursday, January 26, 2012

Going through a series of BBC podcasts on my iPod (Xmas present), I was pleasantly surprised to happen on one with a Galician flavour. It was hosted by Michael Portillo, who was talking to a Galician lady who's a professor at the LSE. The subject was the English armada of 1589, the year after the Spanish one had come unstuck in the Channel. This had as its objectives the destruction of the rump of the armada and then the capture of the Azores and the interception of the Spanish bullion fleet. Apart from the sacking of poor Vigo en route to Lisbon, the mission was a multi-level failure, doing nothing for the reputation of Francis Drake. If you want to know how things went, click here and cross your fingers that the link will work.

I did wonder whether Pontevedra had been sacked as well as Vigo but was confusing this expedition with a later one of 1719, during The War of the Quadruple Alliance.

During Spain's property boom, it became clear that it was common for the lead time on construction to be three years or more. Meaning that new properties would continue to come onto the market for some time after the bubble burst. And so it has transpired. In fact, almost five years after the boom peaked in 2007, houses and flats are still coming on the market, to be added to the vast overhang of empty properties. Prices, of course, continue to fall.

I heard the name of (ex)President Gaddafi on the radio today. When this happens I always recall something I read a few months ago - along the lines that "Before he was killed, President Gaddafi was sodomised by a bayonet." Possibly the first and last time 'sodomised' has been used as a euphemism. Checking the spelling of his name just now, I saw there was a video of this. But was not surprised to read that it had been removed as "a violation of YouTube's policy on shocking and disgusting content."

Finally . . . A university lecturer in England has just been jailed for 6 months for contempt of court. Taking just about the most stupid decision possible, she told her fellow jurors that she'd googled the accused's name and found that he'd previously been accused of rape. One of them promptly told a court official. The sentence seems harsh - and career destroying - but the judge said that he wanted to send a clear message. Which I think he managed.


Moscow said...

Hi Colin,
There is an interesting link for you.

Mike the Traditionalist said...

The link for the podcast worked for me. Interesting especially as I live here in La Coruña. At the time of Drake it was known as "The Groyne" by the English. Some of the facts were not quite right as there were only two ships from the Armada of 1588 sitting in the harbour and one escaped and the other was set alight. It took two attempts to breach the wall of the city and after the second one the English rushed in through the breach but the stones overhead of the remaining wall fell on them and killed several hundred and several officers. As they had insufficient provisions they set out into the countryside to find food and almost got as far as Betanzos. In Coruña they found a stash of arms and clothing etc. from the failed Armada but didn´t know it was diseased and hundreds of soldiers died as a result. A book entitled The expedition of Sir John Norris and Sir Francis Drake to Spain and Portugal in 1589 is a good read. It does list the names of the captains and ships and officers of the army. It also gives information on the number of ships and crew that got separated from the original fleet that set sail for Spain. Drake was under strict orders by Queen Elizabeth to go straight to Santander before doing anything else and destroy what was left of the Armada but he claimed bad weather prevented this so he headed for Coruña which was not in the original plan. The book has an ISBN 0 566 05578 3 number but is probably out of print now.

Ferrolano said...

Thanks for the link and it was great sitting here in Ferrol listening to the events. As the tale unfolded, I could imagine somebody standing at any one of the headlands that overlook La Coruña, watching as the English fleet sailed past. Perhaps the person was from Brion which would be the focal point of the expedition to Ferrol, some 200 years later in August 1800.

Colin said...

Thanks, Moscow. It certainly is interesting.

Thanks, Mike for that additional data. And for the corrections. And the book recommendation

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