The Spanish Inquisition is alive and well

With sincere apologies to all those normal, civilised Spanish people who abhor the sadism of their fellow countrymen and the shame it brings to their country.

The Spanish Inquisition started in the late 15th Century. In Spain, of course.

It lasted for nearly four hundred years.

Probably the name best known in respect of the Inquisition is that kindly old monk, Torquemada.

Probably the two words most synonymous with the Spanish Inquisition are persecution and torture.

Victims were “questioned” in ingenious ways. Crushed, squashed, stretched, boiled, roasted, flayed, scraped, ripped, twisted, dangled …. there were many ways to make the last days of their life as excruciating, and their death as protracted, as possible.

You could say, I suppose, that the Spanish elevated torture to an art form.

Well, guess what? It’s still going on! Yes! Flourishing in the 21st century.

But the victims of this unspeakable barbarism are no longer Jews or those regarded as heretics. Now they are dogs.

Not vicious, powerful, aggressive dogs, but dogs with the gentle nature of Bambi, trusting, limpid eyed, obedient, wanting only to please.

These are the Spanish greyhounds, also known as Galgos, used by Spanish hunters known as galguerros. Abused by them. Ritually tortured by them in ways equally as inhumane as those once used upon people.


This is what a healthy Galgo should look like:

I am not going to go into graphic detail here. Many people would rather not know, and I hate having vile, sickening images popping up unexpectedly, unavoidably. For those interested in knowing more about the treatment of the Galgos, and their smaller companions the Podencos, you could visit and learn about the fate of the dogs, and the efforts of those fighting to defend them in the face of a Spanish government who seem to be doing fuck-very-little to stop the practices of their hunters.

One of the organisations working in the front line, in Spain, rescuing, caring for and rehoming the dogs is called Scooby Medina. They are currently caring for more than 500. Like most of us they are feeling the effects of the economic climate, and their situation is critical. Without financial assistance, without people adopting the dogs, they will fold by the end of the year.

We can’t all help financially, we can’t all offer a home, but we can, all of us, spread the word amongst our friends, worldwide to raise support and assistance for Scooby Medina, fighting the battle of good versus evil. And to let people know what happens in that country of sangria, sunshine, sombreros, the Alhambra.  All those glorious tourist attractions.

Killing in the name of God

The Spanish Spider

The Spanish Tickler – no, it is not a condom wearing a sombrero.

A deadly mistake

Yesterday I noticed a poster advertising a new paintball site quite local to us

We used to be great paintball enthusiasts, so I took a closer look and whoa!

What’s this? On the right hand side are suggestions for suitable events to celebrate.

Anniversaires – birthdays.

Enterrements – burials. Burials? Burials? Yikes, when did we start celebrating burials? Just buried poor old Auntie Philodendron – I know, let’s go and play paintball to cheer ourselves up. Shock horror!

I regard my knowledge of French as moderate to good; certainly far from fluent, though. Which explains the misconception, due partly to my ignorance, and partly to a possible flaw in the poster design.

Enterrements belongs to the line below – “vie de garçon“. Literally “burying of boyhood,” the slightly ominous French phrase for a stag do, or bachelor party.  🙂



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Thinking in tongues

This is very weird.

Since last night, when I was harvesting peaches for my neighbour, I have been thinking in Swahili.

Since I left Kenya in 1972, I haven’t had the need to speak its national language.

Suddenly my head is filled with obscure words, words that more than likely I never actually spoke, but knew by some kind of subliminal process.

Why are they surfacing now?

And more worrying still – how long before I begin talking out loud?


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Operation Cup of Tea

Who else attended yesterday’s Facebook tea party?


Amazing sights on the streets of London, so sad for all those people who have lost everything.

And I don’t believe there is any place for police dogs and horses in the front line against the rioters.  How frightened they must be, particularly the horses, and how vulnerable they are – they make very large targets. Surely in those conditions the police are better off having both hands free, rather than holding on to an animal.


Bloody massacre of unarmed men

On 10th August, 1792, a rampaging Parisian mob stormed the Tuileries, where Louis XVI, his wife and children were lodged.

The king and his family took refuge in the neighbouring National Assembly.

The Swiss Guards, the king’s loyal bodyguards, tried to defend the Tuileries against the mob. After fierce fighting, they were ordered by the king to lay down their arms to avoid further bloodshed.

The king’s order was effectively the death sentence for the Swiss Guards, as most of the 950 were slaughtered at the Tuileries.

You can read more about the horror of the French Revolution and the lives and deaths of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, in The Valley of Heaven and Hell – cycling in the shadow of Marie-Antoinette, available in paperback and Kindle.


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I’m a snippet!

A mention of my latest book in the current edition of beautiful glossy new regional magazine, Living Poitou-Charentes.

Of course, I lied about my age. 🙂

I know it’s nearly impossible to read the article on the computer, as it’s printed in faded grey, but if you’re sufficiently interested, you can click on the picture to get a slightly larger picture, which is equally difficult to read, but larger. 😀  😀

My thanks to Living Poitou-Charentes for featuring the book.