Wednesday, August 01, 2012


I started to watch The Naked Pilgrim tonight, the film of art critic Brian Sewell's journey from Paris to Santiago de Compostela a few years ago. Great stuff. If only because he's so opinionated. And because I usually agree with him.

I also began The Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish today. And finished it, to be honest. Well, it's not very long. Like Sewell, it's pretty darn accurate. I'll probably loot it for a few quotes tomorrow.

I've mentioned that I'm looking after the dog of my Dutch friend, Peter. Turns out he's scared of my owl. Which counts as a victory, I believe. Of sorts.

Which reminds me . . . A pair of robins has been seen on the Feeding Station. Which is good news, even if the arrival of robins is usually an augury of winter. In the UK at least.

From time to time I rail – vainly - against the modern British pronunciation of hospital as hospitul. So imagine how I felt listening to a 40 minute BBC podcast yesterday when both participants kept talking of moduls(models) and meduls(medals). Other examples are casul(castle) and padul(paddle). I blame a mixture of Australian soap operas and Estuary English but fear it's too late to mount a rearguard action against this abuse.

The other good thing about the Carrefour hypermarket the other day was a stack of woks on sail at 5 euros each. Having checked them out for obvious defects, I decided they were a bargain because hardly any Spaniards are going to buy one. So today I went back and bought the lot and am happy to sell them at 15 euros each. Honest.

If you're thinking of taking advantage of the pound's strength to buy a property in Spain, this article on a leading bank's fire-sale is for you. My advice – Make an offer at least 30% below the asking price and don't raise it.

If you're thinking of buying a new property, be aware that the government is raising the VAT from 4% to 10%, which doesn't immediately strike one as a move designed to stimulate the market.

Another nice Spanish quote on the Olympics Opening Ceremony, from El País:- These are the bits which remind the world that this country would not be the same without a sense of humour.

Still on the ceremony, hat tip to David Jackson for this interesting gobbet of news.

Finally . . . Having pilfered Ben Machell's article on the reasons to celebrate Grey and Silver Foxes yesterday, I shall add insult to injury today by giving you his quiz designed to find out whether you're a Grey Fox, or just grey?

1. You need some new threads: where is your first port of call?
a) Topman, tagging along with your son.
b) Wherever your wife takes you.
c) A little place you know that sells Harris Tweed jackets and vintage military watches.

2. You are most likely to take style inspiration from whom?
a) One Direction.
b) The Top Gear presenters.
c) Scott of the Antarctic.

3. When you walk past, women tend to do what?
a) Snigger.
b) Literally, absolutely nothing.
c) Follow you.

4. In your spare time you like to…
a) Skateboard (badly).
b) Buy tins of Ronseal.
c) Play drums for the Rolling Stones/Manage Real Madrid.

5. “Fashion” is…
a) Whatever Urban Outfitters tells you it is. Always.
b) A hazy, distant memory.
c) The sworn enemy of style.

6. Empty your pockets. What do we find?
a) A Sony PSP games console.
b) Werther’s Originals.
c) A first-edition Ian Fleming paperback.

7. Your favourite hat is…
a) A House of Holland baseball cap.
b) A York City bobble hat.
c) A rabbit-fur trilby.

8. You are mostly likely to compliment another man on…
a) His luminous hi-top trainers.
b) His elasticated-waist trousers, purchased after seeing an ad in a Sunday paper.
c) His pocket square.

9. Most of your time online is spent…
a) On Facebook, blathering about new bands.
b) On the Auto Trader website, fantasising about hatchbacks.
c) On the Sartorialist, admiring the cut of pensionable Italian men’s jackets.

RESULTS

Mostly A: Take a good, long look at yourself. You are stuck in adultescence. Tight trousers and silly hats do not make you Peter Pan. Buy some decent brogues and work upwards from there.

Mostly B: You know you’re middle-aged, fine, but you’ve become lazy: think of all the fun you could have with a public-school scarf and a moustache. Embrace it.

Mostly C: Congratulations. You are a Grey Fox. Please stay away from my girlfriend.

4 comments:

Ferrolano said...

Have to agree that the increase from 4% to 10% sales tax on house purchases does seem somewhat absurd but, goes along with some of the other methods being used to cut the deficit. Political knee jerk reaction, act first, think second, but can’t retract as you would lose face……

James Atkinson said...

Colin, I have noticed that most if not all presenter's even on radio 4 say t' rather than to these days. Perhaps they believe it saves time, but it irriates me.
I noticed a week or so ago you used the americanism "snack on" Was that ironic on your part?

Colin said...

No, not ironic. Can'r recall what I said. Do you have a problem with 'to snack on'?

James Atkinson said...

For me Snack has always been a noun only. But in the last 10 to 20 years it has increasingly been used in the british media to serve as noun or a verb. I am sure that I hadn't heard "snack on" before the 1980's.
The reference to "Snacking on" was 23rd July, where the Iron Duke was snacking on a chicken leg. It surprised me that you used the term because I had never known anyone over 50 use it before. I believe the change originated in the USA, but haven't been able to substantiate that. I notice that one on-line dictionary now alleges its as a noun is archaic. By the way, do you still have the kitten?

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