Monday, December 03, 2018

Thoughts from Leamington Spa, England: 3.12.18

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 English
  • Yesterday morning I drove for more than 4 hours through Germany, Holland, Belgium and France to Calais, without more than a few seconds deceleration because of roadworks or traffic jams. But within minutes(seconds even) of leaving the Eurotunnel station at Folkestone, I came up against lane closures and a restricted speed of 50mph/80kph for mile after long mile on the M20. Followed by a 40-60mph speed restriction on the M25, and then by a massive jam which brought us to a complete halt for 10-15 minutes. Is there any motorway in the UK where these are not serious risks? 
  • This morning I'll be driving north from the Midlands to Manchester and fearing the worst for the M6 between Stafford and my destination. But, meanwhile, I have to admit that the M40, though very busy, was pretty smooth sailing last night.
  • I've just looked at my route on Google Maps. There are 5 sets of roadworks for me to get through in 2 hours. I rest my case.
  • When I do get to south Manchester, I look forward to trying out A555 from East Cheshire to Manchester airport. This road reminds me of the AVE high speed train in Galicia, in that it was first planned in the 1940s and saw its initial stretch open in 1995, eventually followed by the completion of the whole thing last October, 23 years later. That said, it's not a true comparison, in that no one really knows when the AVE train from Madrid will finally reach Galicia. The initial promise was 1993. Currently it's 202?
  • As expected/feared - but actually far worse as regards the number of seats gained - The far right last night secured its first seats in a Spanish assembly since the 1970s, bringing a nationalist surge to the country long seen as immune because of the recent memory of military dictatorship under Franco. Vox, a hardline anti-immigration party, was on the brink of power after gaining a foothold in the Andalusian regional parliament, winning 12 of its 109 seats. It could potentially end up as a kingmaker of a right-of-centre coalition forged by the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Citizens party. For the socialist PSOE party to lose power to a right-wing coalition in Andalucia really would be game-changing. We await the numerous analyses of what it means nationwide – ahead of a possible general election next year, aimed at making the PSOE's grip on national power far more secure than it is now, as a minority government. Possibly less of a prospect today than it was on Saturday.
  • A comment from the triumphant secretary general of Vox. Trump is to the US what Vox would like to be for Spain. Díos mio. Things can only get worse.
  • There were competent astronomers in Spain 40,000 years ago, it's alleged.
  • For Spanish speakers, this is a Youtube video examining Spanish names that came originally from Arabic.
Social Media
  • The age of the internet, with the massive outgrowth of information available to us all, has not led to a new blossoming of the age of enlightenment. Rather, the control afforded by the internet enables individuals to select their sources from increasingly narrow spectra. They then need only refer to opinion that pleases them and reports of events presented in ways which support their prejudices. But enough of real world events pass through the filters that the recipients can still claim to be well-informed. 
  • One is once again reminded of Gresham's Law – that the bad drives out the good. Originally applied to money but now seen as a general truism.
Finally . . .
  • It's good to know that Pope Francis is 'worried' about the number of gay men joining the priesthood. And (almost) amusing to know that he fears that homosexuality is becoming “fashionable” in society. Resident in the exclusively-male snake-pit of the Vatican, he's not exactly a man who lives in the real world, is he? I wonder whether God agrees with him. Sometimes you really do wish The Latter would be me more fulsome with His signs. For example of His very existence.
© [David] Colin Davies


Maria said...

Vox scares me. Just in case, I'll be looking into rentals and jobs in nearby Portugal. We never do learn, do we?

Perry said...

The Age of Reason in France led to the French revolution. England rejected the collectivism of the continent & emphasised the improvement of individuals as the main goal of enlightenment. Most of the populations of Europe were unaware of enlightenment as they were illiterate & impoverished.

A list of English enlightenment intellectuals includes Isaac Newton, John Locke, Jonathan Swift, Joseph Addison, Edward Gibbon, Alexander Pope, Joshua Reynolds & Jonathan Swift. Not a long list!

As for the Age of the Internet, universal education guarantees neither discernment nor wisdom & I fear that dysgenic factors are now far more prevalent in the British population.

James Atkinson said...

From observation it seems to me that many if not most of the physical and mental ills, experienced by large numbers of the British population can be attributed to general over indulgence in fast foods,biscuits, sweets etc, and very little exercise. Resulting in perfect physical and mental storm. This has been exacerbated by a preponderance of sedentry occupations. Mens sana in corpore sano and vice versa of course.

James Atkinson said...

Sedentary, bother.

Perry said...


I would not argue with your comment. Cutting calories results in further weight gain, however water fasting (thus no calories) doesn't, because our bodies respond differently to the two situations. I followed the advice of Dr. Jason Fung & I fasted for 21 days during last July, whilst I built a garden railway. I lost 3 stones of fat & I have not regained any of that fat. Watch the videos.