Tuesday, November 20, 2012


First the clampdown on the taking fotos of the police and now the creation of a new police force of 380 men to 'support the anti-riot police'. Señor Rajoy must be getting worried. Perhaps he realises that no one – not even he – believes his assurance that the worst is over and that hereonin things can only get better.

I'm a fan of regional British accents, while being at one with 99% of the population in not liking the Brummie variant. And I'm relaxed about the BBC using 'regional' announcers. But I draw the line at folk on the BBC's 'yoof' channel (BBC3) pronouncing 'three' as 'free'. With concomitant monstrosities elsewhere. Shakespeare, by the way, probably had something of a Brummie accent. Thank God it doesn't come across on the page! We might never have heard of him otherwise.

So scientists have used stem cells to alleviate canine paralysis. If things carry on at this rate, Lourdes, Fatima and Knock will be out of business within 50 years. 25, even.

The relevant EU Commissioner has told the Spanish government to quit spending so much of the funds he send its way on construction projects and to start spending them on measures which will increase employment. I suppose it's cynical to see more scope for kickbacks with the former than the latter. Scurrilous, even.

On my visits to the USA, I've occasionally recoiled at the sudden sight of a department store gun counter, displaying everything from small hand guns to Uzi machine guns. Something similar happened when I chanced today on a shop in town I'd never seen before. It specialises in knives, machetes and Japanese swords. This would be unthinkable in the UK, where – thanks to the combination of knife crime in parts of London and a 'we must do something' attitude – it's now hard to buy so much as a nail file. By the way, I may have exaggerated about the Uzi. But not by much.

My younger daughter has a keen sense of humour. Of which I am a frequent target. She's just sent me a birthday card with the picture of a bearded old man on the front. He's looking pensive and seems to be manacled to his chair. Underneath is written – Stripped of his youth, his energy and his money, Dad quietly reflected on the blessings of having children. As if!

Something else which caught my funny bone this week was Private Eye's cartoon about the EU. They have one in every issue and they're headed EU-phemisms. This one has a bureaucrat reading a headline saying “Auditors refuse to sign off on EU accounts again." His response to this is - “We are maintaining EU traditions of fiscal responsibility.” Which Private Eye translates as “We've had dodgy accounts for 18 years.”

There were reports yesterday of Britain being the country in the world with the most 'soft power'. No one knows what this really means, of course, but it can't be bad. One possible aspect is the use of the national flag – the 'union jack' – on a vast array of accessories. I saw it yesterday on a pair of riding boots, of all things.

Safety and Risk in Spain: 1. There's a store in town which has had a massive amount of scaffolding erected around it. No one yet know why but that's by the by. Today I saw a couple of guys on it fixing large clamps to it and passing heavy tools between them. Ten metres directly below them a couple of women were chatting away. 2. Yesterday in La Coruña a 70 year old woman was killed on a zebra crossing. This was the 30th such death in Galicia this year.

Finally . . . I mentioned a couple of weeks ago it wasn't very elegant to rick your back while trying to get your wallet out of your pocket at a toll booth. I like to think this is not true of doing it again when you're chasing a moth around the room.

9 comments:

sp said...

It's the German h that the BBC now inserts into any word containing the "st" sound that gets me hopping mad.
Shtudent, shtrong, ekshtra....
AAARRGH! If I had a licence I'd tear it into little shtrips!

Azra said...

Haha, chasing a moth? Now that would be funny. As for the Union Jack, such is the soft power of the UK that we have an array of products (from shoes to piggy banks) with the Union Jack imprinted on it. Don't even know why.

Sierra said...

Wow! - a Scouser not liking a Brummie accent - the very definition of a pot-kettle interface

Lenox said...

The worst accent is from Manchester (my opinion!).
A Spanish neighbour is married to an Englishman from London. She asks me how to say 'tres' in English 'ees eet tree, free or sree?'

Colin said...

@Sierra.

Could be worse. I could be from the West Country. Or Manchester.

List of Cool Accents 2008/9

1. Queen's English 20%
2. Scottish 12%
3. Geordie 9%
4. Yorkshire 7%
=. Cockney 7%
6. Northern Irish 6%
7. Welsh 5%
8. Scouse 4%
= Mancunian 4%
10. West Country 3%
11. Brummie 2%
Other/Don't Know 21%

Colin said...

@sp. Can't say I've noticed that. Will have to keep my ears open!

Colin said...

@Sierra again. What's so dispiriting about that list is that cockney is so high on it. The Only Way is Essex? East Enders??

Anthea said...

Accents: Liverpool and Manchester have a range of different ones. I imagine Birmingham does too. Yes, the "yoof" accent, Estuary English" is worse than nay of them.
Arms in shops: I remember my horror several years ago seeing a shop in Madrid with a window display full of Toledo steel knives. I was even more horrified to find one of my studnets had managed ot purchase a Samurai sword. Did Toledo have long standing links with Japan?

James Atkinson said...

Whatever happened to the hard G in recognise? Even some of the presenters on the radio 4 Today programme now pronounce it as reconise. Regarding national flags, for a country with a low population the norwegian's also seems to be ubiquitous, when it comes to product placement.

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