You couldn't make it up – A chap who stole a stack of chilli peppers in a UK supermarket stuffed them into his mouth to conceal them. Seems he was unaware Scotch Bonnet peppers are among the hottest in the world. And that it's not a good idea to swallow them. The clarinet down his trousers was the least of his problems at the hospital.
In Spain, virtually all middle class families have a chica, or maid. Most of these work at least a few hours a day and some eight. As does the chica of my lovely neighbour, Ester. The latter – the maid, not Ester - also does a little work for me and clearly finds it difficult to understand my instruction not do the ironing or make the beds. This week, I told her to leave the unmade beds of my daughters as they'd been brought up to do this themselves. But she clearly found this impossible to obey. Against orders, she also changed Ian's bedsheets on the day before he was leaving. It's a cultural thing, I guess. Naturally, Spanish families find it hard to believe how different things are in the UK and elsewhere.
The circus centring on Julian Assange is producing some fine male statements. Figuring large among these are the comments of President Correa of Ecuador. The acts of which Assange is accused in Sweden – non-consensual, unprotected sex - he's described as things which wouldn't be a crime in South America. Which is not altogether surprising, given the number of immigrants from there who are prosecuted in Spain for acts of violence against their wives.
My internal battle over purchase of a Kindle continues. And now this comment has further muddied the waters. Part of my holiday planning has been to load up my Kindle: so slick and lightweight. But I am recently back from the Edinburgh Book Festival, and I have to declare that as a user of both hardback and e-books, I prefer the older format. A book is so much friendlier to handle. You can more easily mark pages, add notes, turn back and check the plot. Of course a Kindle is great for holidays: it saves so much space. I'd be more persuaded by these thoughts if I didn't take all my holidays in Spain, and in a car which will take as many books as I like.
Having cited it the other day, I sat and watched this afternoon – The Pride and the Passion. A slowish film and an odd experience if you know Spain. The English captain(Cary Grant) meets the Spanish leader(a bewigged Frank Sinatra!) in what is now the most expensive hotel in Europe, having strode across the large square in front of Santiago cathedral. Nearing their target of Ávila, the Spanish forces and their huge cannon take refuge in the church of small 'village', actually the huge Escorial near Madrid. And this having just marched, as Holy Week penitents, under the arches of Seville's Roman aqueduct. Some village!
Finally . . . I have a favourite joke. Well, I have several. But the one I mean has the odd quality of appealing to few of the people to whom I tell it. Anyway, here it is:-
Napoleon and his tired army are approaching Moscow in 1812.
At the top of a hill overlooking the city, Napoleon stops, shouts 'Halt' and sits motionless, contemplating the horizon.
Way behind him, one of his men leaves the line and rides slowly up to the front. He comes to a halt just behind the contemplative Napoleon.
Hearing him arrive, Napoleon turns round and barks “What the hell do you want?”.
The soldier looks a little confused and replies “You called me”.
“I said 'Halt'”, says the little Corsican.
“Oh, sorry”, says the soldier, “I thought you said 'Walt'.”
See what I mean? Any votes?