Saturday, August 01, 2020

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 1.8.20

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.


 Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  

- Christopher house:’ A Pilgrim in Spain’*

Living La Vida Loca in Spain 

  • Driving in Spain/Galicia: Yesterday’s stats, on my return from the Netherlands and Madrid:-

- To seeing a driver not trusting my signal that I was turning right - 5 minutes.

- To seeing the crazy overtaking of a learner driver on a blind bend - 10 minutes.

- To seeing an aggressive driver in a yellow car - unique to Spain? - 2 hours. (After tiffin).

  • Here’s how to survive the current very high temperatures.    
  • A pessimistic overview of the Spanish economy going forward, as they say. Irritatingly.  
  • The recently ‘modernised’ O Burgo bridge continues to cause controversy. And not just in my house. It’s reported that a suit's been initiated against the council for covering some of the oldest stone features of the city - the steps down to the river - in ugly concrete. I featured these in a post last year, which I can’t find right now.
  • My daughter in Madrid claims there's an unwritten rule in Spain that - when 2 people on the pavement are heading for a clash - it's the faster who has to give way. I can't say I've noticed this. So will check with Spanish friends.

The UK

  • So, from August 8, the British police are going to get as officious in issuing virus-related fines as the Spanish police . . .  I rather doubt it.  Here in Spain, the 17 regions run their own coronavirus strategies. Some are fining anyone who's tested positive and broken quarantine arrangements, which run for at least 10 days. Their contacts may also be fined. That's the way to do it, Mr Punch.
  • The Spain travel ban has little to do with health, and much to do with Brexit, says the writer of the article below. In which, for some odd reason, Pontevedra features, but not me. Sentidiño, I should add, is Galician, not Spanish. It means ‘a little common-sense’. BTW, I confess to not being convinced about this.


  • At least some lifetime Republicans have finally had enough of Fart, seeing him - surprise, surprise - as being unfit for office. The scales have certainly taken their time to drop from their eyes but his latest madness about postponing the November elections has proved to be la última gota, as they say here. The final straw. Click here for a relevant article.   
  • Maria writes of this development here.   


  • Three more refranes:-

- Six of one and half a dozen of the other: Es igual uno que otro.

- It's a small world: El mundo es un pañuelo.

- Sometimes the remedy is worse than the disease: El remedio puede ser peor que la enfermedad.

Finally . . . 

  • My garden . . . Forgot to say:-

- Of the 3 self-propagating plants I brought from the UK last November, only one has survived the winter. But no flowers, this year at least.

- The hydrangea still only has one (pathetic) bloom

- The lemon tree is again suffering hugely from sticky leaf-curl, seemingly caused by aphids, which I'll now blast with a soap-oil mixture.

- I seem to have killed the 2nd holly tree shoot.


Spain travel ban has little to do with health, and much to do with Brexit: Amancay Tapia, the Telegraph


There are many posters plastered all over the Rías Baixas beaches in Pontevedra, Spain, urging citizens to comply with the Covid-19 regulations. “Sentidiño” (“common sense”) reads one of them. Nonetheless, the “sentidiño” of the British government in suddenly deciding to impose a quarantine on all travellers arriving from Spain has been questioned by many. 

The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez branded the decision “unjust”, claiming that the new Covid-19 surge was specific to a few regions and that those outbreaks are being contained. CEHAT (the Spanish tourism association) has offered to pay for tourists to take tests in Spain and called the decision “illogical”. Those whose travel plans have been affected see themselves as pawns in what appears to be as much a political decision as a health one.

Wearing a face mask at all times is mandatory in Spain, even if you are able to maintain the two-metre social distancing rule. Hand-gel dispensers are everywhere and apart from a few careless youths who were caught partying in now-banned botellones (drinking alcohol in public spaces), the vast majority of Spanish respect the regulations. It is believed that the latest rise in transmission has been mainly due to social gatherings, resulting in health experts repeatedly warning people to take social distancing seriously.

Sue Wilson, the Chair of Bremain in Spain, which aims to protect the rights of Britons living in Spain, sees the UK government’s decision as a blame game. She said: “The Government should focus more time on examining their own backyard rather than blaming their European neighbours. Throughout this pandemic, they have been slow to respond and the one time they act quickly it is without thought for those affected.”

This raises the question: did geopolitics play a part in this decision? 

According to INE (the Spanish Institute for National Statistics), 18 million people from the UK visited Spain in 2019. Britons therefore make up one-fifth of foreign visitors to a country that received 83.7 million tourists last year.

These precious visitors are once again the perfect “bargaining chips” in the ongoing Brexit negotiations. There is no agreement yet on a key issue for the EU and Great Britain: fishing and access to fishing waters. Moreover, the current Spanish government may have dropped its sovereignty claim to Gibraltar, but the Rock is still trying to retain EU ties after the Brexit transition period ends. We shouldn’t forget that the future of this British Overseas Territory depends on both the UK and Spain.  

Furthermore, the British government is well aware that the millions of euros which British visitors usually contribute to the Spanish economy every year would be welcomed by any other nation in the world in a heartbeat. Even if these countries are geographically more than a two-hour flight away from the UK. The U.S. economy has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic in the second quarter of 2020. Just imagine how beneficial those 18 million British visitors could be to the North American nation. Right now, more “sentidiño” from our leaders is required. Alas, they appear intent on playing political games instead, which are seriously disrupting the everyday lives of thousands of people.


* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.   

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