Shopping. I hate it. With an absolute passion. I have shopophobia or whatever it is called. Alternatively perhaps I am the archetypal Yorkshire person and just don’t like spending money. More likely both.

Along with hating shopping, I am also useless at washing clothes. I can just about manage to handwash a few scarves and delicate pullovers, but otherwise everything gets chucked in the machine on a 40 wash.

The problem of course, is that dirty stains never get treated, so stay in the clothes. Whereupon my ‘clean’ ie washed clothes don’t look spotless.

Being the lucky companion to two dogs, my clothes also get covered in dogs’ hairs. On top of that, when Little Snowy decides I am a better toy than his dog toys, he rips holes in my pullovers. Luckily my arms are still intact to date.

Podencos have the most bizarre teeth. He has two evil incisors on the top, but underneath, the same two are set horizontally. And once these eight teeth clamp down, neatly interlocking with each other, there is no way to retrieve articles of clothing without ending up with a hole.

I have four sets of leggings (yes, I know they are so 80s and such a terrible fashion statement, but not being short or fat, they aren’t that bad on me) and they are all in holes. Every single pair. I can’t blame them all on the Podenco as they were in holes before we got him, but he certainly hasn’t improved the situation. And I have a pair of grey faded jeans and a pair of black cords for funerals or interviews. That’s as smart as I get. They were the last pair of trousers that I bought some three years ago maybe? Can’t remember.

The finish is wearing off my synthetic boots. Good style but poor quality which is a nuisance. I would pay more for better quality that lasts longer. Penny wise pound foolish and all that.

A pair of boots in a shop window caught my eye. I could buy new boots and stop looking like the local tramp or bagwoman. In I boldly went. Flat heels, good. Synthetic, very good. Where were they made? No label of origin in the boot on display. I looked at some of the other products. China. Ethical dilemma.

Did madam want to sit down and try them on? No madam didn’t have any money, well not enough money (ie £20 I’d only gone to the post office to buy a stamp). Madam could use a card. Madam didn’t have her card with her either.

I decided to go home and get the twenty quid. On the way home I looked in a couple of clothes shops for leggings or decent trousers. So long as they weren’t made in China. I found some. Cambodia, Egypt and Bangladesh. Not much better than China in terms of régimes, but China is the one that annoys me at the moment, so I’ll accept the others as less worse.

I bought THREE pairs of trousers. I hope I don’t have to go through that excruciating experience for years.

And the boots? I mentioned them to Partner. ‘China,’ he said with a quizzical look on his face. I didn’t buy the boots.

Meanwhile poor little piggy wigs seem to be making it on the blog circuit.

A vegan blogger posted up a vid where a piglet is fed into a machine and comes out as sausage. It’s a spoof because the piglet just drops through a hole in the machine and is produced alive at the end. So no-one needs to worry about the fact that their sausages are made out of pigs.

Piggy vid

Um. Double standards or what? People want to eat sausages without knowing they come from pigs?

And – what are you really eating?

Here is an extract from another blog. Link to full post here.

Today, The Humane Society of the United States released horrifying hidden-camera video footage of pigs being fed diarrhea and the ground up intestines of their own piglets at a factory farm in Kentucky – Iron Maiden Hog Farm.
Although the practice of feeding pig guts and shit to other pigs is common on industrial farms across the country, it is illegal under state law. 

Seriously, that is so sick. And you could be too. Remember BSE anyone?

And nearer to home, a Spanish resident blogged about the annual pig killing in her part of Spain. Also illegal in the way the pigs were killed. The post included photos which apparently weren’t the worst ones.

The only thing I can say is that at least she isn’t a hypocrite and was willing to go and watch the happy slaughter of lots of pigs and then partake in the blood and guts afterwards before then getting her share of said dead pig/s.

Why make this into a spectacle? A village event? What is so glorious about killing defenceless pigs in front of a village full of people. I can’t imagine the fear those animals faced before they were killed. And to revel in it??

I’ve lived in Spain for more than twelve years. I live in a campo village and all my neighbours are Spanish. We don’t have quaint customs like that. Or more to the point, we don’t have illegal customs like that, because as the blogger pointed out, killing a pig with a knife is now illegal, but hey let’s all trot along to the latest village festival because it’s such fun yes?

This was, without a doubt the most disgusting, offensive and revolting post I have read this year. OK, it’s only two months in, but I doubt it can be capped. Utterly vile. Glorification of killing defenceless animals in an illegal manner? Join the Michael Vick club.

The idea that this sort of event is ‘real Spain’ and they are ‘real people’ is just outdated. My Spain is no more or no less real than anyone else’s. Pink’s Sotogrande mansion is just as real as my small finca in La Axarquía. But we all need to move with the times and bull-fighting and pig-slaughtering in an illegal fashion because of ‘tradition’ and as a spectacle are an anachronism.

Years ago, I worked in the Lake District in the UK. People who moved there complained about the nuclear power station at Sellafield (previously Windscale but renamed because of yes! a bit of a problem). Locals didn’t like the protests against Sellafield as it provided jobs. Incomers were told if they moved to the Lakes, they should accept the status quo.

Well, I don’t. Accepting the status quo is the most ridiculous reason for justifying extremely poor behaviour whether against animals or people.

Since living in Spain, I’ve noticed three types of expats.

1) There are the ones who congregate in the ex-pat communities and don’t want to learn Spanish, ‘Why should we? they’re all wogs anyway’ – or words to that effect.

2) There are the ones who embrace everything Spanish, ignore anyone of their own nationality and proclaim that everything appalling about Spain is just cultural and historical. Wonderful frozen tapas reheated in the microwave. The relaxed mañana syndrome when you wait days to get anything done. Such fresh veg (covered in Agent Orange) etc etc. These people clamour to be part of the local life and to be so accepted immediately.

3) And then there’s me. Yeah, it’s a nice place, that’s why I’m here. I’m in the middle. I don’t rush to be part of every village event, I don’t need to. My neighbours aren’t just the ones in the street. They are all around the village and in the campo. We don’t do the bar. We don’t need to do it to meet people. It’s not an exciting life so I can never tell you about killing animals in my village, just boring old religious pilgrimages. Although I would rather see that than dead pigs.

Cute (alive) pigs. For now.





The virgin goes off to sea.


Real life.

Boring as hell. Just repairing the wall with the advice of José.

Day to day life in Andalucía is doing up your house
Day to day life in Andalucía is doing up your house

Rescue dogs thrown out in Spain. A little respect for life wouldn’t go amiss.

No use.  Chuck 'em out on the street or in the bin
No use. Chuck ’em out on the street or in the bin

92 comments on “Consumerism

  1. Moving to another country often makes financial sense and accepting some of the customs in order to integrate also. But you cannot accept a policy of cruelty either to animals or people just because your adopted country finds it cultural fun. Cruelty is cruelty everywhere.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


    • I was a financial/cultural emigrée, Partner was a sunshine one. OK, maybe I was just an escapist.

      I love a lot of the Spanish life. But I can’t accept cruelty to animals in any country. You read the post, I thought it was barbaric. I didn’t comment because I couldn’t add any value. I can write about that and other issues on my own blog.


  2. I can’t say I like shopping either, especially for food. Clothing less so, but always during the sales, that’s where the Yorkie comes out.

    I read the pig massacre blog post you mentioned. I was horrified, I know old customs die hard etc. but that was totally barbaric in this day and age.

    What a gorgeous photo of your two beautiful ‘Spanish rejects’ I wonder what the folk responsible for dumping them would think if they could see them now.


    • I missed out on the sales :( sad Tyke here. I don’t know why people think women like shopping. I like walking dogs and cycling and messing with Land Rovers NOT shopping. Oh mega news today, Td5 Def passed MoT :)

      I truly found that post disgusting. It seemed odd that within days I have read three vile posts about pigs used for food and treated despicably.

      Thanks. I love my boys. It’s playtime yet again at Gibflat with Little One!! They are both beautiful animals who deserved a life. As do all animals.


  3. You wantee boots or not wantee?
    The dilemma is between the exploited on the one hand, and the underproductive overpaid on the other.
    I should be happy that disgusting behaviour in the name of ‘culture’ is not confined to Africa – but the knowledge tends to make me even more depressed.
    If people can’t find ways to have employment without wrecking the environment, they truly deserve to starve.


    • No wantee supportee Chinese exploitation culture.

      Wantee nice good kwailty bootees.

      One supplier I use for walking and work boots is great, just don’t do brown, flat heeled, long boots. :( Ethical, good quality, and long-lasting.

      ‘Culture’ and ‘tradition’ are no excuse for barbarism.

      I think we all wreck the environment in one way or another. We just don’t accept that.


  4. I think there are growing Spanish voices against bullfighting, chucking donkeys from church towers. I couldn’t find a phobia name for shopping phobia, but someone posted “Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words.” Hypengyophobia or Hypegiaphobia- Fear of responsibility. Hypsiphobia- Fear of height- that’s an odd one, considering how familiar a word claustrophobia is, and how common fear of heights, you would think there would be a common word for it.

    Am I wittering? I would not like to be wittering…


    • There are some good anti-animal cruelty groups in Spain and some fine vegan/vegetarian food. But it’s going against the mainstream culture and hard to change. They still hang podencos and galgos once they have outlived their usefulness as hunting dogs after a couple of years.

      I thought heights was acrophobia and often confused with vertigo which isn’t the same. Except the two, plus claustro, often co-exist. Better than homophobia? For other people, yes, for the individual no. Fear of heights, fear of closed-in spaces, and loss of balance are very difficult.


  5. I despise cruelty to animals and cannot understand a culture that would intentionally harm them for any reason, especially for pleasure.


    • Fox hunting? Badger baiting? Dog fighting? Cock fighting? The Grand National (UK where a horse always end up dead at something Brook or whatever it is called). I’m sure I could think of more but that was just off the top of the head. Obviously, African game safaris. Angling, fishing, the list is pretty endless.

      Our cultures are all the same. The only difference between bullfighting in Spain and Portugal is in technique and tradition. It’s still killing animals for spectacle. Feed them to the lions is far more to my liking.


  6. I have similar shopping issues but thankfully haven’t got to the stage of banning the countries that make the clothes I can afford from my list. I say ‘thankfully’ guiltily. I’ve found one style of Berghaus trainer that doesn’t have dead animal parts in it, although I suspect if I looked more closely there’d be something dead in the glue. They last at least two years of constant wear though, so puts of the next shopping trip for a considerable time (pass on my tips and all that). All the animal stuff is too depressing to comment on .. I’m feeling a Friday night sense of hopelessness for the world …


    • I remember the days when I could buy clothes made in the country where I was living, or at least the one next door. I do have huge ethical issues about cheap goods. So mostly I don’t buy unless desperate.

      I read a blog recently that depressed me no end. Dead animal bits in bicycle tyres :(

      The world is full of people. Some of them are shit.


  7. Nothing wrong with disliking shopping. It’s a chore like any other and tolerable in small doses, just like any other bothersome task that gets in the way if things we love. Interestingly enough I recently read on a list (of questionable origin I must admit) that “retail therapy” is one of the habits of people who are fundamentally unhappy–searching aimlessly for something to bring meaning to an otherwise pointless existence. Sad.
    As for bull fighting and such–and my country has its share of similar activities–I agree, it’s time we put it all to an end. We probably have no choice-at least in my country-people can still act on their ancient hunter’s instincts if they must but we can bring an air of civility and, above all, respect for those affected creatures to the whole thing. If you must kill something: (1) it needs to be regulated at the state level by a competent board (yes, I am smirking, but not in a nice way,and, yes, we are both thinking the same thing: “what government cares enough to do that?”) (2) it must be done in a way that can be judged by any competent professional–say a vet for example–as humane (3) you must make use of the whole carcass and not as a trophy. Where I grew up those rules were more or less understood by all and those who broke them faced the worst sanctions of all–public shame. To waste was, perhaps the greatest sin. As it should be. Oh and I don’t hunt and never will. I am also reasonably proud of the fact that I’ve cut back my meat consumption to roughly one-third what it used to be, and am healthier as a result.
    As as fro “boring,” perhaps that’s not exactly the right word. Partner seemed to be just fine with what he was doing, at least it seemed that way to me. I can relate. Some call it “flow” – the feeling one gets when doing something they’ve become accustomed to. I think it’s alright. To hell with excitement.


    • Too right. I have other things I need/want to do. It interests me not at all. it is not a pleasure. Just why would anyone want to spend free time wandering around shops aimlessly? Uh? And spending money?!!

      Banning hunting with dogs in the UK took some time, and there are still grey areas. I’ll write a cloudy post about that one.

      The bottom line is, there is no justification for killing animals at all. People can live without eating meat, but choose not to. I appreciate that is an extreme view but it is technically correct. You can argue that some areas of the world can’t live without eating animals. I always worried about travelling to South America and having to eat guinea pigs, but to be honest they eat beans anyway. But Spaiin? UK? America? Canada? India? Thailand? When we have globalisation it is a farcical excuse. Even without that, it’s not a good reason.

      However, ha tee ha. Competent. Of course. Who is to define competent? More to the point, when you have idiots working in government who have no understanding of the issues, the idea is a mockey. Smirking back at you.

      Individual hunting is very different to commercial use and breeding of animals for profit. I would ban all hunting. Why do it unless you have no other way to eat? Are you seriously saying that people in your part of the world can’t eat without hunting? There is, as I wrote on Clouds, a very macho element about the whole idea.

      And in terms of commercial killing, sure the whole carcass is used. That’s why people get leather shoes and BSE. This isn’t about things going to waste, it’s about maximum profit.

      He was putting off that job because he wanted a break, and when he did it, he really enjoyed it. Or maybe he enjoyed the compliments from the neighbours who all said ‘buen trabajo’.


  8. I could weigh in and write about the hog slaughtering, etc but I’d get too over the top crazy. People that are meat eaters – well they are that and will not change no matter my ethics and moral beliefs about eating animals and what is considered illegal.

    It is disgusting to me and most individuals that I’ve spoken with about eating birds and animals do not give a fig about how the animal has been raised or slaughtered. I’ve told individuals that I worked with how meat is produced for their enjoyment. It always fell on deaf ears for people choose to ignore the facts because their excuse is, “I could not live without meat and please stop, I don’t want to hear anymore.”

    So with that I do not condone how or why animals are treated in ways that are barbaric to us. I don’t live there. And I thank God for that.

    But on to the dogs now. Ms Gib, the pics are so good and so cute. Snowy’s teeth are something else. Sounds like the teeth are sharp as a needle.

    I’m not a shopper either. I have standard sets of clothes. Every day jeans, every day shirts, good jeans for when I have to be in the public, and a suit for funerals, etc. These are clothes that I’ve had a long time and all of it was bought on sale or at a thrift shop. I have not bought anything to wear in years. I have no need for fancy clothes. Just basic wear. I bought clothes that would not go out of style.I had work slacks but those are now too big for me. I lost one size when I stopped eating gluten.


    • Doubt you would, nor would you go more over the top than me.

      I know I can’t change the views of meat eaters either. But I think at the very least if you wish to kill and eat animals, the killing should be clean and painless. Secondly, it should not be a glorification of an animal’s death Thirdly, you should acknowledge you are eating dead animals, and if that troubles your conscience, maybe you should consider not eating them.

      It is perfectly possibly to live without meat, poultry and fish. And eggs. And dairy products. Plenty of people do it and live to a ripe old age.

      Doesn’t matter where you live, whether in your head or geographically. There is always abuse of animals.

      I’ve taken some pix of little one’s teeth, but would like to get some clearer ones. Bit difficult to get sharp teeth showing with one hand, and take a pic with the other :D It’s gone past the sharp stage, his jaws lock and those teeth dig in. No harm done to any of us, but that’s his nature as a hunting dog. I’ve found some good sites about galgos (Spanish greyhounds) and Podencos, and how they are abused and killed after their owners are sick of them. Podencos, more than galgos are a handful. Attention seeking, full of energy, demanding – and as one woman said today – adorable.

      That is so my clothes philosophy too. If I ever got another job I dread the thought of ‘dressing up’ to look like the correct office worker. Yuk.

      I’m not sure I could manage gluten free. I like wheat-based breads. Any recommends of good flours though?


  9. Cruelty is unacceptable wherever it is and wherever you happen to live.

    Your expats living in Spain sound just like their counterparts in France and, in France as in Costa Rica, I think we fit into the third category, just mooching around with friends and doing local stuff as it comes along.

    I used to wonder whether the ‘more French than the French’ brigade were terrified to question anything about their new life in case they had to admit that it was not quite as wonderful as they had hoped.


    • Apparently it is not. It is acceptable because it is a traditional custom. Let alone the other link about feeding pigs on shit and their piglets? :( What is with that?

      I accept people eat animals (even though I would prefer they didn’t) but if you are going to kill them, please do it nicely and painlessly and feed them decent food during their short life.

      Yes, ex-pats must be the same the world over. ‘Oh, this country is so glorious, these people are so friendly, the food is so wonderful …. zzzzzz’

      I like Spain. The coffee is good, the beer is cheap, the cheap wine is poor, my veg are good, my neighbours are good, the weather is nice, and I can pick up dogs from the street. No more no less. I like the music too, forgot that one. Rajoy is shite which is a different matter.


      • I’ve gathered that the big cattle raising businesses here fatten them for slaughter on pineapple skins – and chicken shit to get at the hormones they are forbidden to feed directly to bulk up the steers.
        And no…I’m not doing that. I take my pigs up the road to be slaughtered at a farm where they are clean, efficient and not cruel.
        As for the cattle, while commercial cattle are all supposed to go the the big abattoir near San Jose as these are not for commercial consumption they will be going to a small outfit on the other side of town where iI’ve seen how they conduct things.
        I saw what happened with pig killing in rural France….using sledgehammers….not my idea of the rural idyll but it apparently passed the Britpack by…just another quaint local custom.


        • Indeed, that’s ‘how they do things here’, so therefore it’s OK.

          Breeding, rearing, killing and eating animals just isn’t my thing any more. But if people choose to do it, please do it nicely.

          With which I am off to bed as the rescue Podenco is already asleep with Partner :D


      • Those skills have sure fallen by the wayside lately, haven’t they? We are more likely to throw something out than to fix it. The irony, the irony – a world begging to reduce, reuse, recycle, lacking basic hemming skills…


        • Not here. I regularly repair hems and patch up trousers for him. I’ll find the link if you didn’t get an older post. Pullover darning called for soon :( He can do the sewing when I’m not around, put on buttons etc. What is wrong with our world?


          • We are the ‘microwave’ generation. Everything should come fast and easy. When it doesn’t, all hell breaks loose. Here’s to darning and mending and braising food nice and slow! ;)


          • I suppose we are, although I never think of myself like that because I don’t use one. Must remember to sell my mother’s that I inherited. People are willing to pay for cheap microwaves :)

            Actually I can’t darn although I do have a darning thing, and could probably do it if I tried. I can’t crochet either. But everything else with a needle I can pretty much handle.

            I’ve had a bad week on the cooking front! One take-away pizza last night, and one take-away Indian earlier in the week. But sometimes when you have other things at the top of your mind, cooking inspiration flags. I have made bread though, but that’s easy and automatic. Plus it tastes much better than buying it and is much cheaper.

            Perhaps we are the relics, or the ones stuck in a generation gap between pre and post microwave. MY mother’s was used for making cocoa! I don’t think she cooked anything in it. The X, Y, Z lot are def the consumer generation. Mind you, so were my parents and they were born in the 20s :D


  10. I feel physically ill when I read about the barbaric cruelty. When I read about what happened in Copenhagen, I felt ill for several days, and tried to force myself not to think about it, but it was not to be avoided … it was all over!
    In the 60’s lots of Swedes started going to Spain on charter flights. It became so popular so I’m probably one of the very few who hasn’t been there. Most of them were drunk all the time, misbehaved and demanded Swedish meatballs or pickled herring … Ugh.
    Many Canadians go to Florida in the winter. They’re referred to as ‘snowbirds’. I don’t know if they mix in with the Floridians, but most of them live in mobile home parks. The Quebeckers have their places … they even have their own bank in a couple of places there.
    I don’t mind grocery shopping, but clothes … not my thing! Sometimes it’s a must …


    • Well, I don’t like posting pix like that, but people shouldn’t stick their heads in the sand. It is out there and it is happening, if we don’t like it we have to try and change it.

      haha, your description sounds like the description of the typical Brit lager lout.

      Oh, the clothes drive me up the wall. Pair of new brown trousers already covered in white dog fur. Maybe I should have worn the cream ones :D


      • I don’t [stick my head in the sand], and it wasn’t about you … this was on every news page I saw, and rightly so. What I meant was that I don’t know what to do with all the grief and frustration building up … This particular story was so beyond comprehension, and in a civilized country! I have no words.


        • Equally, I was speaking generally too, rather than about me or you. People do have an attitude of ‘I’ll ignore that and therefore it will go away’ though. Well, it does go away I suppose. But don’t we have a responsibility to change things? As an advocate of animal rights I think I do, and that includes reading horrible and graphic stories and occasionally, very occasionally, writing about them on here without causing too much distress to other people because I know how horrible the stories are. But it is happening, all the time, every day.

          In a week or two’s time, who will remember Marius?


          • Well, I will, but it’s a one day sensation isn’t it? :( The next day there will be something more interesting to take people’s interest. I don’t mind some stories capturing people’s attention, but I would prefer them to have enough impact for people to get off their idle backsides and do something about it, whatever that is.


  11. Do you have M&S in Gib? Easy shopping, no trying on (something I just don’t do) and sometimes you can find a bargain. Like the three pairs of cord trousers I purchased recently in their ‘outstanding value’ range. At £15 a pair I expected the quality to be less than brilliant but have been proved wrong – they go through the washer, look absolutely fine and are a good fit (long). Made in Bangladesh – any good?
    I can’t bear cruelty to anything even though I’m not a pet person. I used to have a real thing for pigs – collected all sorts. They are still my one of my favourites. By the way, (and this is not meant to be facetious although it might look that way in print) – what do your dogs eat? is there such a thing as a vegetarian dog?


    • We do. Two of my pairs of trousers were M&S, the other was from Next. we have limited shopping here in Gib though, and the UK chain stores eg M&S, Next, bhs, are actually franchises so operate differential pricing :( ie more expensive. I couldn’t believe the difference in fit between long and medium. ‘Long’ is a bit of a misnomer. My legs aren’t actually proportionately long to my body, but I am tall, hence they are probably longer than someone who is 5’4″ for example. Short, medium and tall would be better – but have to describe the legs not the person maybe?. Anyway, yes they do fit well :D

      As I’ve said elsewhere, I accept people choose to eat meat and therefore animals will be bred for that purpose and be killed. But does it really need to be a display of savage brutality to make the animals’ last moments so horrific? Should we glorify the killing of animals? Do they need to eat their own faeces and offspring? How disgusting are we as people.

      Yes is the short answer. The longer one is that of my five dogs, two have been totally vegetarian/vegan ever since we homed them. They lived into their teens and had no illness.The first one wasn’t because neither were we at the time. In Spain our local supplier stopped buying in the veg dog food that we were buying. I can’t source any other locally. In Gib, I got a health food shop to order some in, but she stopped getting that now. The best UK one was by a company called Green Ark (?) which I can no longer find on the internet. My dogs would leap around the kitchen for it. I’m limited to getting something that suits their digestion and with minimal additives. Dogs, like people, can live a perfectly long and healthy vegetarian life. Wafcol was a popular brand that we also used at one point.

      Cats are more controversial because of their need for taurin. Back in the 90s there was a company called Catz go Vegan (I think) who would provide a vegan cat food with the right nutrients. There’s prob up-to-date info on the vegan/veg websites.

      If I could get vegan dog food in either Gib or Spain without paying a queen’s ransom in delivery or actual cost, would buy it. None of my dogs have been happy with a protein rich diet, I keep away from meat ones, and only go for chicken and rice (dried) food, but even that can be too much for them.

      Pix of my dogs (Ben, Paddy, Prince, Pippa) on this previous post here:

      TMI for a non-pet person!


      • Not at all – it’s interesting – and something that only occurred to me while I was reading this post. Don’t know why.
        And yes, totally agree that there is no need for glorification or savage brutality. The human race has many failings.
        A farming friend of mine describes himself as a ‘farmitarian’ – he breeds animals for food but eats nothing that does not ‘grow’ on his farm. I kind of like that.


        • Vegetarians do actually spend a lot of time researching what they eat and where everything comes from blah blah blah. And I’ve been doing it for a lot of years.

          I think people are generally pretty horrible. I prefer my dogs and chickens and cockerel. They live their own life and don’t molest anyone.

          There is an excellent self-sufficiency book by John Seymour. While I don’t agree with eating animals, he does lay out the classic way to survive on your own assuming you can afford to buy a shed load of land.


  12. I remarked to the G.O. the other day about the state of my holey clothes… Must do something about it… soon. Some of his clothes are no better, and he likes it that way, but at least he’s supplied with work shirts.
    I too, because I am an omnivore, make a lot of effort to research and purchase food, and apparel, ethically. Custom is no excuse for cruelty. Nor is ignorance and in all but exceptional cases lack of information. Surely commonsense would kick in if not deliberately overridden.
    Thanks to Michael Pollen I have mental pictures of CAFO’s that guide me in my meat choices. And still I know that I choose deliberately, and eat less accordingly.
    There has been call in the US for ‘meat processing facilities’ to be made of glass and open for public inspection so consumers do understand the provenance of their food. Not as a spectator sport…


    • I’m going to repair the holey leggings and take them back to the finca, rather than throw them out. Or maybe cut some off to the knees for summer, and hem them up. The necks on his go, and I draw the line at cutting of the bottom of the shirt to sort the collar although I could probably do it, mainly because he wears the grotty ones for work and gets paint on them anyway.

      Sadly, – most – people are not interested in ethical shopping. Living in a must-have society as we do, people are not willing to go without to spend a little more on something when they can afford to buy something of better quality that hasn’t contributed to some sweatshop somewhere. Sure those people need jobs but getting paid a pittance for endless hours isn’t helping them. Nor does it help in terms of the environment when many of these firms pollute the atmosphere, plus we ship items all over the world, plus there is little regard for H&S or workers rights etc etc etc

      When I ate meat/fish/fowl, I tried to shop as ethically as I could with organic choices where possible, the same with dairy/eggs. Now my dilemma is buying locally in Spain means buying veg full of pesticides (I know, I see them doing it and very unsafely too, with regards to their own health). The customer is definitely not king or queen. Buying what you want is impossible unless you have a decent income and live in a big city.

      The US is also talking about sending to chickens to china for processing, and bringing them back, which you prob read about on phil hedgemouse’s blog. Perhaps they could introduce live video links to see what happens in the factory?


  13. “I think you are missing the fact that ex-pats in little England actually do enjoy their view and their way of life in Spain. What’s wrong with sunshine and cheap booze – and cheap fags if you smoke?”

    Staying one time in an ex-pat village community at the apartment of a friend of my brother we met someone who introduced us to the hierarchy of Spanish property ownership; first of all there are the owners and they are top of the pile, and then below them are the guests, these are the people who are using the apartments as friends of the owners and this is where we fitted in, and right at the bottom (actually some way at the bottom) are the renters, who are common people who can’t afford overseas property investments and don’t have friends who can either.

    I agree with you on shopping – such a waste of time. There is an out of town shopping outlet centre near where I live and before I go I like to be certain about what I will be buying – so certain in fact that I can get parked, shopped and back out again in under 20 minutes so that I can avoid the car parking charge!

    I agree with you absolutely on pointless animal cruelty. Bull fighting will probably take some time to deal with because of its cultural shackles but must surely be destined to go the same way as bear baiting, cock fighting and fox hunting, although there is a strong lobby in the UK right now to get the ban overturned – my farmer friend tells me it is largely ignored and flouted in the country anyway.

    Nothing whatsoever to do with your post but an interesting football article on the BBC website today –


    • I probably have more respect for little englanders than the ones who embrace the new country whole-heartedly and refuse to find any faults. Or think they shouldn’t criticise the place they move to.

      It’s all about choice. I take it that is one of my comments that you are throwing back at me that I can’t remember? :D Sounds like something I would write.

      You missed out the ones who rent from the property owners. We let some friends use our small house for free. Never again. Anything else would be rented out. Peak holiday season and they get it for nothing? Cheap holiday for them and they bought us a couple of pizzas. Um, decided to engage brain after that. The next time they visited (stayed in Málaga) and hinted at another holiday they were told the small house wasn’t available.

      ‘Common people’!!! I’ll say no more about that one.

      I loathe shopping. I will do any deal to avoid it. Sadly I can’t send him to buy my clothes :( He went tonight and left from work and was back in less than an hour – includes parking in communal car park not outside house so therefore walking down to the flat.

      Bull fighting had been banned in Catalunya, but was overthrown by Rajoy’s fascist government as far as I know. Don’t take that for gospel, but that was the last I read about it. I understood the hunting issue is still very ambiguous, hence hunt sabs are still active. A post to come on that one.

      The football one was interesting. So Gib had a one in six chance of ending up with Spain and did, so got moved. Also, a couple of inaccuracies – are you trying to feed me blog posts? I am a busy woman! I have other things to do. Sleeping, walking dogs, baking bread, writing board papers. Stop tempting me!!


    • Neither do I. It’s a bit like hanging Podencos and Galgos from trees in Spain once their couple of good hunting years are up :( Compared with that, Snowy was lucky to be thrown in a rubbish bin – at least he had a chance of being saved. Galgos probably have a more placid temperament than Pods. Snowy is one feisty little monkey who is absolutely hyper when he is awake. I’ve just rescued a roll of kitchen paper from him. Now I need to go see what else he has found. He likes a lot of attention and affection. That isn’t how a lot of Spaniards treat their dogs – once they are past their sell-by date ….

      I’ve worn non-leather shoes for years. There was a good company in the UK that produced shoes smart enough for work, and for everything else, eg walking, boots, steel toe-cap boots, I used vegetarian shoes or ethical wares in ye olde days of mail order. I still use ethical wares now. While they aren’t cheap, the quality is excellent and they rescue animals too so why would I not use them? :)

      The boots I bought from a different firm a few years ago were very smart fashion boots, but the finish isn’t in the same league as the boots I’ve bought from the two specialist vegetarian firms. Shame. I would have paid more for better quality finish, but I guess not everyone would for synthetic boots.


    • I don’t know where this myth that women enjoy shopping comes from. I don’t know any women who want to waste their time trudging around, looking, and not even buying.
      I’d rather clean my flat!!
      You summed up my blog post in one paragraph :D


  14. It was finding out that pigs are as intelligent as my dog that helped push through my reluctance to give up meat two years ago…..that and some terrible footage of Australian reared cattle being inhumanely slaughtered in Indonesia (the live cattle trade was halted, but only temporarily). I do a bit of lazy shopping via tinternet now that I can get Marks & Sparks knick knacks posted here (they really do last FOREVER!!) and I order a fair bit from NEXT…..I have to admit I rarely look at where any of it’s made though, most stuff here is Bangladesh or China. Unless I improve dramatically in my skills with the sewing machine I got for Xmas I’m not going to be making much better ethical choices with my clothing for a while yet. I admire your dedication, and leggings and tunics are my winter staple so I’ll think of you when I’m patching any holes up :)


    • I’ve always been interested in animals, but I consciously blocked out the fact that what I was eating used to be alive. I started thinking that as a kid, and I’d never heard of vegetarians, so knew that I *had* to eat meat. I normally write about veg issues on Clouds blog, but after reading about the Spanish village pig-killing on another blog, it fitted on here so I could write about ex-pats, attitudes, and *traditional* customs. And of course I read about feeding faeces and piglets to pigs. It is just disgusting. I feel sick :(

      Our decision was based on health issues back in the 80s. Radio 4 kept banging on about people eating too much meat, and we certainly were, so we stopped. But it became ethical after a couple of years. Much easier not eating meat thinking of animals being badly treated, than thinking of my health.

      The treadle on my sewing machine is stuffed :( It’s a long time since I made clothes, I became more interested in curtains and upholstery.

      Not dedication, so much as I’ve been doing it all for so long that it’s a way of life. Years of reading labels whether food or clothes!


      • Did you wear the treadle out?! Meat eating is still very topical in Oz because of it being so water intensive to rear in a drought ridden country…..doesn’t make a lot of sense. I feel for the farmers who do treat their animals well and produce a quality product and I don’t have a problem with people who are willing to pay more for that and eat it less often, but the whole horsemeat scandal in Europe/UK should really have made more consumers wake up to the market they’ve created for….well, literally cheap shit like you’ve said in your post. Even fish eating became an ethical/unappetising issue for me when I learnt that a lot of supermarkets here import fish reared in dirty rivers in Asia but weren’t labelling it as imported. My son-in-law fishes in the bay and ocean where we live for us all, and we’ve got wise to which fishmongers we can trust. As for the organic veggies, me and my daughter grow a little bit of fruit (mangos, figs, oranges, limes, lemons) and some salad stuffs like capsicum and salad leaves, lemon grass, ginger and chillies, and micro greens like peasprouts…..we’re on a mission to to ‘grow food not lawns’ in our back yards!! :)


        • Prob lack of use and too much Spanish dust. Last things I made were some new seat covers and backs for directors’ chairs and I decided to do some repair work on the machine whereupon it fired into life before I’d even plugged it in!

          I always found it odd in Aus that the meat was so cheap and the veg were so dear, but from my vague schoolie memories that’s because it is largely based on an extensive farming (meat, large tracts of land) rather than an intensive veg-based, market-garden style economy.

          The whole BSE scandal might possibly have alerted people to a potential issue in the meat industry. I’d been veg for years by then, so was quite pleased I was. Fish has been a problem for some time, and not just in Asia.

          We grow what we can in limited space. I harvested all of 11 or 12 olives for the first time last year :D At the moment I’ve got potatoes in, cabbage, carrots, onions, herbs, lettuces. Next crop after the roots will be peas I think :)


  15. Snow has the strangest teeth – adaptation for function. Very cool, pup..but hard on clothes. Molly must have been taken too soon from her mom – when she’s feeling insecure/unsettled/sleepy she wants to suck on my sleeve – to I have to shove sleeves up or wear shorter ones. But she got me the other day while I was reading – suddenly I realized she was sort of grinding her teeth – and too late, there was a hole. There is a whole wardrobe of dog clothes – ones that can stand the muddy paws and tugging. It’s getting better…I keep telling myself…
    Hey – leggings are still popular here, but not for me. I’ve got jeans(winter cords and regular ones). Found a US manufacturer that fits and isn’t insanely priced. And some new striped T-shirts made here (I buy multiples – so much easier to not have to sort through store racks any sooner than I have to – stuff that seem growing more and more inferior in quality…and from China
    Still mourning a pair of non-leather platform (but not clunky) mule-type shoes that looked like boots under pants – and were so comfortable they could be worn all day during conferences and in convention booths. I think they were from the UK actually. Still searching for them.
    Pig slaughter. UGH. Not eating that.
    Oh, dog alert at the door. There German is visiting for a couple of days, so not much uninterrupted time right now. Paw waves to the pups!


    • Absolutely. His teeth are made for locking on and not letting go and then ripping to shreds. As Partner found out yesterday when he pulled his finger away too quickly when they were playing.

      We know Snows was taken away too soon, ie chucked away because he was only a few days old when he was taken in. I had the same thing, still do, but at least he’s leaving my breasts alone these days. The holes are more him grabbing hold and wanting to play tugs. Any gnawing is usually the furniture :D No mud here, but yes, I tend to look pretty scruffy when I take him out as you don’t dress up with dogs. Trouble is, we live within the city walls so I probably look like the local eccentric dogwoman.

      Leggings are ok if you have the right body for them. I like jeans but not blue denim ones any more. Shopping is such a pain it makes much more sense to buy multiples.

      Got an email update from one of the UK firms I use, so might buy a couple of things from them. Some summer pumps and maybe a pair of short boots (end of line).

      Morning playtime here, so some supervision is called for. Snows likes to tease Pippa and then run away and hide under furniture or behind the wardrobe where Pippa can’t get him. I’ll swap you Snowy for the German.


  16. We get groups of abandoned dogs roaming the countryside, particularly in the summer. I guess in the winter they stick around the towns. Mostly the dogs around us are kept as guard dogs, rather than pets. SD


    • It often coincides with the breeding seasons though. So if young pups have survived in the first few weeks (or days in Snowy’s case) you’ll later see them wandering around – and that was July when he was born. Bit late as I’ve seen pups born in May too thrown out.

      We’re town, well large village, and campo combined, but we actually are seeing less strays – touch wood – at the moment in the village. Probably because the bars can’t afford to throw out the jamón bones with plenty of meat still attached.

      Again, a mix around us, some big guard dogs on chains :( and some house dogs as pets. I say house dogs, natch they sleep outside in most cases.


    • I’d never heard of it so I’ve lucked it up. Didn’t find donkeys but I did find goats to celebrate the start of a patron Saint’s Day. Ironic when they also have a saint’s day where everyone takes their animals to church to be blessed.

      We know more of Snowy’s history than we do Pippa’s. Actually we know nothing of Pippa’s except that he had been wandering around the village for a while but oddly we hadn’t seen him. So when we did, we took him in. Chucked out because he was too big maybe? Or because he doesn’t bark much – no use as a guard dog? And Snowy – chucked out because he is albino?


        • ‘Twas interesting similarity in words. Sort of like a venn diagram where you are in overlapping circles but not the same ones. Hence both ally and alley worked.
          In a way.

          I thought the link was easier than boring for Britain about how animal testing produces false results.

          I think Dr H said four million animals killed in Britain alone in animal testing.


          • No time to post at the moment. Trying to do a bit of a catch-up with comments and other blogs and get on with some work. Putting up an I’m not here post is easier than responding to a load of where are you comments on the previous post. If that makes any sense.

            In fact I tried to put up my last – I’m not here – post on roughseas last week but it never worked, as I was offline for a week (hence the catching up) and I may be offline again.

            Plus the clocks have gone forward and I hate that.


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