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.