Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ponter Pensées: 28.7.16

Spanish Government: We still don't have one of these, despite 2 rounds of elections since last December. And no one seems at all clear whether we'll have to have a 3rd round in November. Here's a Private Eye cartoon I've modified to turn it into a comment of the approach of Spanish politicians to the challenge of forming an administration:-

The Spanish Economy: Here's how tourism has progressed since Franco finally allowed the country to be opened up - after a fashion - in the 1960s. Annual visitors:-
1951: 1m
1961: 7m
1973: 35m
2002: 52m
2015: 68m
2016: 25m until end May. 11% up on 2015. Brits up 16%. Say 75m for the whole year.
An extra 2.2m are reckoned to be coming here this year because of problems in other places. Tourism now represents 11.5% of Spain's GDP, not much below the construction sector at its (phony) height in 2007/8, as I recall. So, let's hope volcanic activity in, say, Iceland, doesn't block out the sun for a year or more. Or that AGW doesn't turn Spain into the Northern Sahara Desert.

Good Books:

  1. As a sufferer - every 20 years or so - from major depressions, I naturally bought the well-reviewed Reasons to Stay Alive, by Matt Haig. If you're a fellow victim, this won't really tell you very much. But, if not, you'll certainly get a great insight into how cruel the condition is. One day I'll write a book about my own experiences. The problem being it'll be hard to make it funny . . .
  2. Travellers in Spain by David Mitchell is a delightful run-through of comments made by visitors from the 16th century until today, almost. Originally written in 1988, the last edition was published in 2004. I'll be quoting from it soon.

Appoyo?: Imagine my pleasure to see David Mitchell - on his last page - citing Galicia as a region he loved because it still felt like the Spain that had long disappeared from other large tracts of the country, even on its coast:- I remember Galicia with particularly vivid delight. . . . the rías[estuaries] near Pontevedra, where - emerging into mild sunshine from the monastery in Appoyo, I watched a line of brawny, bent-over women in a field, hacking up weeds with short-handled mattocks, singing, chatting ribaldries, hawking and spitting, just as Jardine had seen them 2 centuries ago; a sunken, ferny, fox-gloved lane leading to a warm shallow sea. In the distance 2 bare-footed nuns with dazzlingly white coifs digging for clams. Moored fishing boats set in a delicate cage of canes, as in a Chinese watercolour. Granite horreos at the beach's edge, interspersed with tiny circular ticks[?] topped by a decorative twist of hay and a twig of apples.  In fact, the sea - which is never warm - is some way away from the monastery. As is Combarro, where I believe he saw the horreos.  I can easily forgive Mitchell for some poetic licence but where on earth is Appoyo? I don't think I know a word in either Spanish or Galician with a double P. Did he mean A Poyo? Or - most likely - Poio, which is my barrio and which  has a large monastery? Surely the latter. A strange mistake to make for a writer on Spain. Or even just Galicia, for that matter.

Jewish Spain: The Faro de Vigo recently highlighted this fabulous Jewish Bible written in the late 15th century and, allegedly, finished in the Galician city of A/La Coruña.

Try here for a bit more on this. The Jewish community of Galicia - such as it has been since 1492 - is demanding that Oxford University return this treasure to Spain. Some hope, I'd guess.

Pontevedra Fashions: There was a show on Monday in a local institute. It's good to see that our local kids are up there with the international doyens of this crazy industry.

Finally . . .  Pokemon Go: I saw this new, strange sign on a wall yesterday. Can it be associated with this craze?


  1. No, my car remote control isn't amplified at low tide. BUT: At high tide, the distance is even greater than 200 metres.
  2. I'm trying to exclude Russian hits from my numbers but am finding it hard to follow the instructions on how to do this on the incredibly complicated, for me, Google Analytics site. Not at all sure I've succeeded.
  3. My weight loss campaign: I'm now heavier than I've ever been here in Spain.
  4. The European Commission has announced it won't be levying fines against Spain or Portugal for its failure to meet deficit target for 9-11 years in a row. There may be a freezing of some grants/subventions. What a surprise!

A nice place to stay in Galicia: Belonging to the parents of some friends of mine.

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