Monday, April 27, 2015

Emigration; Things (not)English; Scotch v Scottish; God works?; & Internet intrusion.

Spain increased its population by an astonishing 10% during the boom years - from 40m to 44m. But some of these newcomers have been leaving for a while and last year 305,000 'foreigners' left the country. My guess is that most of these will be South Americans and North Africans who can no longer work in a hyper-booming construction industry; I rather doubt that many Romanians (the most populous group) have gone back to Romania. Then there's the educated young who have no chance of a job here. And the expats. Rumour has it that many Brits have fled back to Blighty, either finding life too expensive or fearing new 'stealth taxes' on foreigners. "Otherwise why are they asking us to tell them what we own in the UK?". No one really knows how many Brits live here or how many have left. They're all supposed to register with the town hall after a few months' residence but many don't. Likewise, those who leave don't tell the town hall. Making a nonsense of official figures. But anyway, this article provides more info on this subject.

Hat-tip to The Local for this list of 5 things which are regarded as quintessentially English and which ain't:
Fish & chips: These, it's said, were introduced into Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain.
Polo: Although brought to the UK from India by English plantation owners, its origins lie in an Afghan sport in which riders throw a dead goat around.
Tea: This comes from china, via india, of course but the teabag was accidentally invented by a New York tea merchant who shipped the product in silken bags.
The pub (Spanish paf): Inns only began to appear alongside roads laid by the Romans.
Saint George: Born in Syria. Probably.

I heard a young woman yesterday say she was studying Scotch History. This rather threw me, as I've always gone by the rule that scotch is a drink, while the people are Scots and the adjective Scottish. Since she was Scottish herself and studying in Glasgow, I concluded things must have changed. But a quick internet search suggested otherwise. Odd. Perhaps she was really saying "Scottish", rather than Scotch, and I was thrown by her accent.

Watching the London Marathon yesterday, I noted one winner thanked Allah and another made the sign of the cross. So, whose god had been at work? Perhaps both. Perhaps neither. Perhaps it was all down to human ability and effort. And perhaps the person who crawled in last prayed to every god he or she could think of, to no avail.

Finally . . . Don't you just love it when your screen suddenly shows a program you've never heard of - Pixir Express in this case - and then you're asked to give them access to various sets of personal data?

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