British – and, indeed, American - readers may well be worried about the state of education in their country. But here’s a clip which suggests things might just be worse here. This is the swearing-in ceremony for the new Ministress of Education. Or Ministra de educación in Spanish. Or so we thought.
During my recent trip to the UK, my dog and my house were kindly looked after by a Madrileño friend of my daughter’s. Just before he left, he commented on how noisy my neighbours could be. So I felt a little guilty I hadn’t warned him about Toni. Or even hinted he might find it useful to click on the Noise label on this blog. But, then, Toni is still at sea and not back until this weekend. Suffice to say poor Pablo had found the kids noisy enough. I question his true Spanish-ness.
For those who thought I was a bit harsh on Ted Kennedy, here’s why. I was in the USA years ago when he was drumming up support for the IRA hunger-strikers, referring to them as ‘freedom fighters, not terrorists” and seeking to secure Congressional funds for them. I wrote to him to advise I’d just set up the CRA and would be seeking his own financial and moral support for my bombing campaign designed to force the return of California to Mexico. But – surprisingly - he never replied.
Here's another quote from M. Rocca’s account of the French army’s adventures in Spain between 1808 and 1814. This time on the Spanish character. And the ability of both the English and the French to completely misread it:- “There was a momentary misunderstanding between the Spaniards and English which occasioned a want of union in their military operations. The Spaniards, forgetting that the English were only auxiliaries in their quarrel, reproached them, first with the slowness of their marches, and soon after with remaining stationary. The English general, in his turn, accused the Spaniards of having constantly concealed from him their situation, and their defeats, and of exaggerating their strength and means of resistance. He was deceived, like the leader of the French armies, in the Spanish character, and generally mistook for imbecility the enthusiastic belief and representations of a people without military resources, but strong in patriotism, and in their national character, and who are invincible, inasmuch as it is their own determination and spirit which exaggerate their means.”
If you live here in Spain and you’ve been stimulated by my extracts from George Borrow’s The Bible in Spain, you might like to know that the GB Society is holding its Annual Meeting in Salamanca next month. I was intrigued to read in one of the papers supplied that, at the start of the 18th century, the Jesuits of Valladolid found that the Irish students who came to the Irish College there were “unmanageable”, being “not used to regimentation”. Díos mío! A people less rules-inclined than the Spanish . . . Who’d have thought it.
Finally . . . For those of you entranced by the news that the new Miss Universe has Galician grandparents and might just come and visit them, here’s more on this. Not far from here, actually.