Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in SpainSpanish Politics
- I saw that the new Ministra of Culture had both a degree and a Masters and 3 children but was only 31. I wondered how she could achieve this status so young and so 'hampered' by 3 kids. Until a friend pointed out she was the wife of the new principal Vice President, the head of the 'far left' Podemos party in coalition with the socialist PSOE party. Last week I noted that this apparent nepotism had not even been mentioned in the Spanish press. I don't know about other media.
- Brexit and what it means now for Brits travelling here, courtesy of the The ever-informative Local.
- A warning from the Guardia Civil.
- Which reminds me . . . I was told last night that thieves - at least in The Netherlands - have a sort of radar with which they can tell if your laptop's is in your boot/trunk.
- Visitors to Pontevedra city rose 17% last year, assisted by the tirón (pull) of the camino.
- My street is named after a local island. A central heating engineer from Vigo - apparently unable to use his satnav/GPS - this morning went to the coast near the island and having been told he'd have to get a boat to reach me, called me for directions. He finally got here and, though I was by this time I was not over-confident of his intelligence, he did manage to stop my boiler whistling perpetually. Eventually.
The UK and the EU
- A sceptic's view: The apparent rejection of the EU’s student exchange programme, Erasmus+, in parliamentary votes last week, has triggered predictable howls of fury. But don’t be fooled by the missives lamenting this “catastrophic” loss to UK academia. The aims of Erasmus+ were always more imperial than educational. . . . Yet the reaction betrays the Europhiles’ self-absorption. Since its inception in 1987, Erasmus+ has gained iconic status among euro-fanatics, whose use of the term “Erasmus generation” betrays a hope that young Europeans will prove more eager integrationists than their parents or grandparents. . . But universities are not dating services or travel agents. . . While the real Erasmus lauded overseas study, I suspect he would be appalled by the lack of rigour and the less-than-scholarly aims.
The UK alone
- A realist's view: Avoiding global irrelevance is Britain's daunting challenge post Brexit.
The Way of the World
- A teaspoon of the date-rape drug “G” can knock a person out. A few drops more can be lethal. But the solvent is sold openly on the internet for a few pennies per millilitre because of a loophole that allows it to be sold as an industrial cleaner. For as little as £25 it is possible to buy enough of the drug to render 100 people unconscious.
- Words of the Day:-
- Chapuza: Bodge
- Albacea: Executor. From Arabic, I'm certain.
- Becerra: Calf. These are being robbed up in our hills.
- Can the word razor possibly come from the Arabic word which might be the origin of the Spanish word featured yesterday - Rajar - To cut/slash. Probably not, as the Spanish for a razor is maquinita de afeitar, at least for a safety-razor. Old fashioned things are/were afeitadoras (from afeitar, to shave). Or cuchilla (little knife/blade) or navaja (knife/penknife).
- Stadsfries doesn't mean 'city chips/French fries', but 'city Frisian'. Someone needs to tell Mr Google.
Finally . . .
- Peter Skellern is a song-writer and piano player I admire greatly. A real troubador and wordsmith, as someone has said. This is one of his best-known songs. Perhaps one of the most romantic ever written. That said, this one probably merits that accolade even more. Skellern died a couple of years ago, aged only 69 and nowhere near as famous as he deserved to be. His music lives on.