Saturday, August 25, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 25.8.18

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
  • It really does seem that Franco's remains will soon be taken from the Valley of the Fallen.
  • Here's the estimable Giles Tremlett on this subject.
  • And here's someone's list of the books on Spain you really should read. Quite a lot. But nothing on Galicia, I note.
  • The Local has re-issued this list of things that guiris do which the locals look askance at.
The EU
  • That refugees/migrants problem . . . The EU has been near silent about Turkey’s transgressions – not least as Ankara has massive leverage. One peep out of Brussels and Erdogan could renege on his deal to use Turkish border forces to stop an influx of Syrian refugees into Europe, fuelling the flames of the EU’s populist fire. Real politique, then.
  • Says Jonathan Freedland in this article: The picture of Trump as president is now crystal clear. His instincts and methods are those of the autocrat. He respects no separation of powers, no zones of authority from which the constitution very deliberately excludes him and his office. He may be called Donald, but he wants to rule like a don. Seems about right to me. Freedland says that the surest way to defeat a would-be strongman is to make him look weak. I've always recommended laughing at Fart as an alternative. Or at least as a parallel strategy.
The UK
  • Here's a BBC article which answers the main questions asked by Spaniards about life in the UK. For example: Why are there nearly always separate hot and cold taps(fawcets)?
  • It never rains but it pours for poor TSB. It's still suffering the consequences of the IT fiasco of a few months ago. Or, rather, its customers are. And now it's had to apologise after leaving thousands of the latter in doubt over whether they will have a useable debit card after next Friday. I'm a tad surprised they've still got some customers.
  • Brexit: Says one of the many commentators: Is it any wonder, then, that European officials don’t believe Britain is serious? We are too fractured, too uninspired and too fearful to persuade ourselves, let alone the continent. The irony is, of course, that the less our European neighbours believe “no deal” is possible, the more Brussels digs in and the likelier it becomes. This is how historical accidents happen.
Galicia and Pontevedra
  • Galicia's biggest export item to the UK is . . . tractors. Followed by clothes (Zara?), 'mineral oils', 'shoe bits', gypsum and timber. The balance of trade is very much in favour of Galicia, whose main imports are 'mineral oils', followed – astonishingly – by fish and shellfish. With iron and steel being 3rd on the list.
  • A recent drive to PadrĂ³n on the AP9 cost €3.60 for 36km. So, I was right about toll costs being around 10c a km here. Not the most expensive in the country but not the cheapest either, despite this being a poor region. That said, the coastal strip – for reasons oft spelt out – is far from indigent.
Finally . . .
  • There's at least one family in history which was probably worse than the Farts. Listening to a podcast on Agrippina the Younger, I learnt that this Roman empress was the younger sister of Caligula and the niece and fourth wife of Claudius. As if that weren't bad enough, her son was the infamous emperor Nero. Agrippina was accused by some of murdering Claudius but I'm not sure if it was for this that Nero had her - his mother - executed. As it says on Wiki: All surviving stories of Agrippina's death contradict themselves and each other, and are generally fantastical. I wonder what it'll say in 50 years time about the egregious Farts. One thing's for sure - there's more to come yet.
© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 25.8.18


Perry said...

Light reading?


Soon, my precious, soon.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Are you absolutely sure you did not mistake imports for exports in that list of trade? Just as you mistook the 24th for the 25th in the date?? (You really shouldn't be drinking this early in the morning...)


Colin Davies said...

See this table and then write to the Vd G:-

Colin Davies said...

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Ok. I see. Still, a little weird. The statistic speaks of Tractors, but the article only mentions cars. Which makes more sense, as I am unaware of a great tractor industry here in Galicia. The other strange thing is that Galicia would be importing a considerable amount of fish and shellfish, which is what the place is exceptionally good at at producing. But I suppose we'll have to take the Word of the Voz for it...