Saturday, November 24, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, my lovely neighbour, Ester, told me that she was worried about levels of radon in their basement. Essentially because her husband had set up an office there. So she was going to arrange for tests to be done and analysed by a lab in Santiago. Today she came with the results. Or, rather, she didn't, as her husband wouldn't let her see them. What she could say was that there certainly was radon there and she suggested I carry out tests as well. So I looked on the internet and told her that the question of whether they needed to arrange for the installation of a suction/ventilation system depended on the actual levels in her basement. I suggested she get the data from her husband. But, to be honest, she didn't look less less worried when she left than when she arrived. Possibly because she declined a cup of tea.

To cheer her up, I suggested she and her husband join me and some friends for dinner in town tonight. She said all depended on whether we would be dining early or late. I said these were relative terms in Spain and asked her to be specific. 'Early' would be 9pm, she replied, and 'Late' would be 10pm.

The Spanish government has introduced a measure that limits cash transactions to 2,500 euros. In a letter to one of the papers this week, the writer mocked this development, saying the national sport was getting round rules such as these. Or any rules, for that matter. She quoted the Spanish aphorism:- Hecha la lei, hecha la trampa. Or Come the law, come the loophole. One suspects she's not wrong.

I see the French government opposes the British attempts to reduce the EU budget because this would damage its ability to power-hose money at French farmers. Inevitably, the French President wraps up his views in the cloak of 'solidarity'. As I've said a few times, this usually translates as 'Give us some more of your money'. Or, at worst, 'Let us keep what we've already got.' Of course, the British do the latter as well but I've never heard a British politician use the weasel word 'solidarity'.

Talking of Britain, I read about this consequence of the non-education of kids in grammar and punctuation - Complaints are on the increase about the standard of English in schools. Shaky grammar, erratic spelling, misplaced apostrophes, absent commas, ranDom Capital Letters – and those are just the reports written by teachers. Now a school in Ipswich is tackling the problem. Northgate High School has advertised for a proof reader whose responsibilities will include correcting “spelling, poor or missing punctuation, incorrect capitalisation” and improving “poor grammar”. The part-time worker will have to “check and amend the electronic [teacher] reports to ensure that they are well-written and complete before being released to parents”. You couldn't make it up.

Finally . . . I see the Colón(Columbus) Museum in Poio is hosting an exhibition of 'evidence' that he was born here. I wonder if this means I'll now be able to get into the place. Or will I still have to find another 9 people to form a 'group'.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Yeah, standards are plummeting... I even know lawyers who think that a question does not always need a question mark, depending on the answer... You could not make it up!


Colin said...

You are privileged, Alfie, to know someone who thinks 'out of the box'. Someone not hidebound by petty conventionalities.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Privileged I am indeed. Madmen are my friends, and among them, I am Socrates!