Sunday, August 19, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 19.8.18

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. Garish but informative.

Matters Spanish
  • Be warned, especially if you live in Aragon.
  • Renting out a flat in Madrid? Then read this.
  • So, Fart's planned military parade has been 'postponed' because he couldn't do a deal around it. He'll go to Paris for theirs instead. Lucky France.
  • Rather more serious is this development.
  • A counter blast: Those American commentators who wail [not 'whale'] that Trump is a dictator, destined to destroy democracy in their country, have lost their wits. For a start, he is limited to two terms in office. Second and more fundamentally, the US is a country ruled by laws, not by men; the founding fathers had a shrewd understanding of the risks of an imperial presidency. For example, the first amendment to the constitution makes it impossible for him to constrain the press — which is why the decision of 350 US publications last week to bemoan their treatment at his hands is so absurdly self-pitying. Being called “fake news” by a fabulist is not remotely the same as censorship. The robustness of American democracy stands in healthy contrast to personal dictatorships in China, Russia and Turkey.
  • Interesting, from the Carnegie Moscow Centre: A substantial part of Russia’s production capacity — more than 40% by some estimates — is both technologically and functionally obsolete and cannot produce competitive and marketable products. For instance, Russia’s machine stock has shrunk by almost half in the last 10 years . . . Over the next few years we can expect a decline in investment . . . This downward spiral will eventually lead the country to economic collapse. But the Winter Olympics and the World Cup were a huge success. Circuses?
  • By the by . . . Civic leaders in St Petersburg planned to pay tribute to Jean-François Thomas de Thomon, a French architect who designed a number of its neo-classical buildings in the 18th and 19th centuries. Unfortunately, the sculptors confused him with Thomas Thomson, a Perthshire-born scientist with no special ties to Russia who was regius professor of chemistry at Glasgow university from 1818 to 1852. Oh, dear. But who the hell in Russia is ever going to know?
The UK
  • A monsoon today???!!! AGW??
  • Brexit: Richard North this morning: We have come to the point with Brexit where it now seems impossible to have an adult debate – leaving the various protagonists to regress into a series of infantile disputes which have nothing to do with the issues at hand. Part of this (in fact, most of this) is Mrs May's fault. Having failed throughout the process to offer leadership, she is now hanging on by her fingernails to an already discredited Brexit plan which leaves nothing for anyone else to support – or even discuss. In that political vacuum, virtually anything goes – but mostly tedium.
Galicia and Pontevedra
  • Mainly in the provinces of La Coruña and Pontevedra the police recently fined 3,000 drivers for speeding in just one week. Why am I not surprised? Ever more dedicated to acting as an arm of the Tax Office.
  • Talking of driving . . . I wrote recently of my normal cautious progress along the N550, watching the innumerable speed signs attentively. Not everyone does. Yesterday it was reported that a young man was clocked on this highway doing 140 in a 50kph zone. I suspect people like him don't worry too much about having a licence taken away. Or not having insurance.
  • Which reminds me . . . Road deaths in Galicia in July were 3 times higher than last year. No reasons adumbrated.
  • Beach-combing can be very profitable along our 'Cocaine Coast'. A 2.2ko stash of the stuff washed up one of our beaches this week.
  • Here in Pontevedra city, this is the latest 'mom and pop' store to close in the old quarter, after 57 years of family business. Although it's called The House of Umbrellas, it was in fact a rather old-fashioned clothes store. My bet is on yet another tapas bar. If it's not to be our nth 'jewellery outlet':-
  • To be more positive . . Enjoying Galicia, from The Eye on Spain.
Finally . . .
  • I see the father of Eleanor of Aquitaine died on the Camino de Santiago, in 1137. This was apparently quite common back in the 12th century. Seems an odd way for a god to behave, knocking off the faithful. Strange, indeed, are the ways of the Lord.
© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 19.8.18

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