Saturday, June 23, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 23.6.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page  here.

Life in Spain
  • Aspiring teachers again . . . Nationwide this week, there have been 300,000 young people taking the relevant maestro oposicion exam in pursuit of only 23,000 posts, some of which will only go to internal candidates. So, more than 13:1.
  • How Spain celebrates the summer, occasionally bizarrely, of course.
  • Advice from The Local on how to avoid sunstroke here.
  • I detect rather large differences between football match commentaries in Spain and the UK:-
  1. British commentators occasionally stop talking.
  2. British commentators never shout.
  3. Spanish commentators major on telling you little beyond what's happening on the screen. A passes to B, who lays it off to C, who kicks it back to A. It's gone out for a throw-in/corner/goal kick. Rather pointless and ad nauseam.
  4. There's little analysis of the strategy and tactics of the teams by Spanish commentators.
  5. British commentators not only do this but, American style, provide lots of statistics and data on the players. Going almost as far at times as to tell us what brand of toilet paper they use. Similarly excessive.
  • If you're planning to join the throngs on one of the 33 caminos de Santiago, the (machine-translated) advice re blisters at the end of this post might be of help.
The EU
  • The EU needs to under-promise and over-deliver, says the Dutch PM, Mark Rutte. Clearly a man of intelligence, and common sense even. In contrast, the (besieged) Mrs Merkel and Napoleon Macron continue to dream their dreams of an 'ever-closer union'. While the one they have tears itself apart over issues to which they seem to have no practical solutions.
  • The French political philosopher, Montesquieu, writing in the 1730s, feared that the American form of democracy contained the innate risk of an unscrupulous populist coming to power and then despotically abusing it. Obviously ahead of his time. Unlike us, he didn't live to see it.
  • On this, I've arrived at the point – probably very belated – at which I think it's pointless to say anything more about Fart. If the US electorate can't see what he is and what he's doing to their country and to the world, then god help them. So, I leave this subject with the table below, which I've been compiling for the last few weeks. I started it after reading that a profile of Fart would read like that of a mafia mob boss. But, like Topsy, it just grew and grew. Any reader who admires Fart is free to provide some compensating positive adjectives. I couldn't think of any. (P. S. I know the Y section is a tad weak . .)
The UK
  • Here's a rather enjoyable video, particularly for any Scousers out there. Or Beatle lovers.
  • In my day, in my Laws faculty, 1-2% of undergraduates achieved a First. Now, the national average is more than 25% and at the University of Surrey - formerly the Battersea College of Technology and, before that, the Battersea Polytechnic Institute – they dish them out to more than 40% of the students. Which is not to say they don't all deserve this honour. Though this is at least a possibility.
  • A new English word for me . . . A bodycon dress is a tight form-fitting dress, often made from stretchy material. The name derives from "body conscious".
  • And a new Spanish word: Tiznar: To blacken. Tiznarse: To cork up. Not very PC these days, of course.
  • The prosecution in the case of El Mulo might well have demanded relatively short jail sentences but, against that, they're also seeking fines amounting to €7.2bn. Yes, billion. As a local paper has pointed out, this is more than the GDPs of the Congo(7.1bn), Monaco(5.3bn) and Andorra(2.6bn).
  • Bizarre things are taking place in a convent up in Valdeflores. Six 'old' nuns have decamped to another convent in Asturias because they can't get on with three 'younger' nuns. And there are allegations of illegal sale of precious old books. I await more reports with interest.
  • And, up in La Coruña, 23 people have been arrested in another large drugs-bust. I didn't know our clans operated that far north along our coast.
  • It must be summer. The bloody accordionists have arrived to add to the year-round plague of beggars. And always with the same limited repertoire, played in exactly the same sequence. Might as well be robots.
The World Cup
  • Inexplicably, VAR wan't used in Serbia's favour when Mitrovic was sandwiched between 2 defenders and wrestled to the ground in the Swiss penalty area. Reportedly, this 'Swiss squeeze' sparked another video technology row. Hardly surprising. One wonders what the official response will be. Meanwhile, here's a relevant video.
  • I wonder if we'll ever see a situation in which, as in rugby, football players never question the decisions of the referee. And merely politely ask for the VAR to be used.
Finally . . .
  • Reading a Times obit of a rather liberal British 'literary socialite' I'd never heard of - Janetta ParladĂ© (b. 1921) - I came across the sentence: If tales of impetuous serial liaisons and neglected children baffle the modern reader, they were nothing new in this family. Well, I might well have been baffled if I hadn't read the diaries of Duff Cooper (b. 1890). Of whom it must be said that, notwithstanding his uncountable dalliances, he was devoted to his only child.
© David Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 22.6.18


Blisters on the Camino de Santiago: how to prevent and cure them

Why do blisters appear when walking?

Blisters are one of the most frequent evils that the walker will encounter, both expert and first-time, while walking the Camino de Santiago. Blisters may appear on the pilgrim's feet for several reasons listed below:

Excessive moisture inside the boot caused by sweating. Especially in summer, it is normal for the temperature to rise inside our shoes, causing the foot to sweat much more. This perspiration causes moisture, which causes the skin to wrinkle and increases the likelihood of blistering with rubbing.

Continuous rubbing between the pilgrim's socks, foot and boot. In addition to the excessive perspiration of our feet, we may not have chosen our footwear correctly, we may not have tied it correctly or we may have wrinkled our socks when we put them on. These factors can cause a continuous rubbing while walking, a perfect breeding ground for blisters.

What can we do to prevent their appearance?

Here are just a few tips to help you get ahead of the blisters and prevent them from appearing. If you have already had blisters along the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago, it may be more useful to go directly to the next section.
  1. Avoid wearing new shoes on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. It is very important that you choose the footwear that best suits you, in addition to taking into account the season of the year in which you travel the Jacobean route. Above all, however, it is essential that you break them in at least weeks before you start walking. Walking the Camino de Santiago with new shoes is the most common mistake among inexperienced pilgrims, Don't stumble on the same stone.
  2. Use products such as creams, cooling gel or petroleum jelly on the feet before each stage. This will reduce friction between the foot and the sock as well as make the foot less overheated while walking with some products. The product should be placed on the soles of the feet and between the toes. In our experience, it is one of the most effective ways to prevent blisters.
  3. Choose suitable socks. It is important that you buy cotton socks, preferably seamless models and above all you should remember to avoid wrinkles when putting them on before each stage to avoid blisters.
What should I do if I have already had a blister?

Here are some tips for getting out of the way, whether the blister has already appeared or is about to. The aim is that by following them you can continue to follow the Camino de Santiago without any major complications.
  1. If we are going through a stage and we notice that a blister is forming (but it is still in progress), the best thing is to stop and apply petroleum jelly to the area, so that it stops rubbing against the sock and footwear. We can also put a Compeed patch on the area (be careful not everyone works the same way) or a gauze fixed with plaster, but the first option is more recommendable to avoid wrinkles and rubbing that worsen the blister.
  2. If the blister has already appeared: Never cut or tear the skin off the blister. It would only make things worse, leaving your area unprotected and at the expense of possible infections. It always waits for the skin to break off on its own after a few days.
  3. Sew the blister with thread to drain the liquid that will appear. But always do it in the right conditions, sterilizing the needle with a lighter and using betadine to disinfect the area. With the needle sterilized, you must prick the blister to make the liquid come out. Next, the needle is used to insert the betadine-impregnated thread into the blister to drain the liquid. 
  4. Remember to repeat the same operation after each stage until the blister is cured.


Arrogant, Autocratic, Alienating, Anti-intellectual, Angry
Bullying, Boastful, Braggart, Belligerent, Bigoted, Blowhard, Bad-tempered
Chaos-creating, Clueless, Cheating, Combative, Child-like, Childish
Disruptive, Dishonest, Deluded, Divisive, Destructive, Disorganised, Devious
Exaggerator, Egotistical, Egocentric
Fox News-Obsessed, Follicly challenged, Fraudulent, Fantasist, Fast-food-Guzzler
Garrulous, Global-warming-denying, Gaffe-prone
Hyperbolic, Hateful, Heartless, Humourless, Hollow
Idiotic, Insulting, Insensitive, Irreligious, Incompetent, Inconsistent, Ignorant, Islamophobic, Inattentive, Insecure, Inimical, Incoherent, Illogical, Irrational, Intemperate, Inept, Impatient, Intimidatory, Insane?
Kinglike, Kinky, Know-all
Liar, Lazy, Low esteemed,
Misogynistic, Media-obsessed, Menacing, Mad?
Nauseating, Narcissist
Obsessive, Orange-hued, Obnoxious
Paranoid, Putin-admiring, Petty, Pussy-grabbing, Populist, Posturing, Pugnacious, Poseur, Philandering, Phony, Politically inexperienced, Psychologically suspect.
Quixotic, Querulous
Russia-dependent, Rabble-rousing, Reckless, Racist, Resentful
Short-attention-spanned, Self-centred, Self-obsessed, Stupid, Self-vaunting, Susceptible to flattery, Swaggering, Small-minded, Self-interested
Twitter-obsessed, TV-obsessed, Tyrannical, Trade-disrupting, Threatening, Triumphalist, Thin-skinned
Unfriendly, Unfaithful, Unintelligible, Unreliable, Unwilling to listen, Unaware, Untrustworthy, Unpredictable, Undisciplined, Un-self-aware,
Vocabulary-deficient, Vengeful, Victim, Vain. Vulgar, Vindictive
Wearisome, Weird, Whoring, Worrying, Wrathful, Wrong-headed, War-mongering
Yankee . . .

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