Thursday, October 18, 2012

It was cold last night so I lit a wood fire. Nice smell and comforting flames but I paid the price this evening, when I got down to cleaning the glass front of my caset. My sister claimed last year that one of those micro-something cloths would be best and, indeed, she did a good job of proving this. But it was no good at all for a cold glass today. So I tried ammonia, Cilit Bang and even vinegar. But, in the end, I resorted to the trusted remedy of quitagrasa, metal pan scourer and elbow grease. A lot of elbow grease. Next time I'll clean the bloody glass before I go to bed. Maybe. Before that, I should just point out, perhaps, that I almost used olive oil instead of vinegar, the bottle being very similar. If anyone can vouch for it, I might well do next time.

Given the rising temperature of independence demands in both Cataluña and the Basque Country, Madrid is not at all happy about developments in the UK. Where the Scots will hold a referendum on this issue in 2014. The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, is regularly referred to in Britain as the canniest politician on the block but he's going to need all his vaunted intelligence and wiles to convince his fellow Scots to leave the Union. The latest survey puts the percentage in favour at only 30%, which is down from 39% at the end of January and 35% at the end ofJune. Mr Salmond must be hoping that, for one thing, the 'Olympics effect' will have ceased to operate well before 2014. Madrid, though, will be hoping (and probably praying) that it won't.

Against my better judgment, I watched the England-Poland football match last night. Well, for 25 minutes at least. During this short period England gave the ball away more than 30 times. Which was enough for me and I switched over to something less irritating, reflecting that during the entire game they were destined to give the ball to Poland on more than 100 occasions. Despite this, Poland only managed a 1-1 draw. And that because of a goal-keeping error. As one commentator wrote this morning - A theme was developing here and this was a failure to keep the ball. The Spanish must laugh when they watch England. Not me, though. I cry. Thank-God I can transfer my loyalty to the Spanish team at will. Not that they did much better, drawing 1-1 with France.

An odd group of people have been arrested for large-scale money laundering in Spain – dozens of Chinese, a Spanish ex-porn star and, almost inevitably, a civil servant from the Foreigners Section of the government of Zamora. I wouldn't have thought there were that many foreigners in Zamora. Perhaps she got bored. Or saw a gap in the market.

Which sort of reminds me that the EU Commissioner for Health is being investigated for fraud.

Riveting historical fact of the day – En route to his winter stop-over in Moscow, Napoleon took 442,000 men with him as he crossed the river Niemen. On his way back to Paris, he had only 10,000 with when they reacquainted themselves with the river.

Should you wish to read a lighter take on Boney's Russian experience, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the post.

Finally . . . When I was a teenager in the last year of secondary school, I was reading my part in a play-reading when I came to the word 'misled'. Which I pronounced 'myzled'. I did so because I believed, back then, that there were two ways of writing the past participle of the word 'mislead' - missled and misled. Pronounced 'miss-led' and 'myzled'. The teacher laughed and my classmates laughed. But I had no idea why. So, I re-read the sentence again. In the same way. And everyone laughed again. But this time the teacher put me out of my consternation and we proceeded apace. I didn't feel too good, of course. But I would have felt a lot worse if I'd known I'd soon be reading aloud the name of the German philosopher, Goethe. Which I'll leave to your imagination.


Bill said...

Based on opinion polls, I think it unlikely that Scotland will vote for separation/independence in 2014 and I certainly hope that this is the outcome, but it is also true that Salmond is a wily tactician so it's probably too early to forecast accurately what might happen. Also, whilst the 'Olympic' effect may have faded a little, those who feel 'British' as well as 'Scottish' now will probably still do so then, even if the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 (where the 4 'home nations' will as usual compete as separate teams, I remind) may have worked to bolster SNP support somewhat, not to mention the 700th anniversary of a certain event. In any case, one of the best arguments for continuation of the Union (of the parliaments as well of course as the monarchy, which is not at issue) is that Scotland is already 'independent' as an equal (albeit because of its much smaller population a junior) partner in the UK and if there was any truth in the 'gripe' of the SNP then the UK government would never, ever have allowed a referendum on such an issue. As someone who has [southern] Irish as well as Scottish blood in his veins I have absolutely no desire to see Scotland make the same historic mistake that Ireland did in the 1920s, but that is their affair, not mine - as for Scotland and its place in the UK I will certainly be foregoing my Autumn stay in Spain in 2014 to make sure I can vote the correct way in the referendum. To end with a slogan "Better Together" ;)

Ferrolano said...

Colin, try using ases from the fireplace to clean the glass door. Take a slightly wet cloth or balled-up newspaper and dip in the ashes. Rub in small circles on the glass and off it comes.

Colin said...

Will do. Ta.Am now looking forward to my next fire and further experiments. BTW - When I bought the caset, the shop sold me a special cleaner for 10 euros. When it was finished, I checked the label to find the chemical make-up. But there were no details. Happily my cleaner told me bog-standard quitagrasa would work, for less than 2 euros.

James Atkinson said...

Salmond says he wants to keep the pound. Not sure how that would work, sounds a bit like leaving the eu but staying in the euro, is that credible?

Colin said...

Saw Salmond on the TV this morning. Slippery chap. Wants to keep the pound and the queen, and open borders. Wants to ditch the Trident submarine base.

I think he wants to stay in the EU but not the eurozone.

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