Friday, April 03, 2015

Semana Santa; The perfidious French; Eye-contact; Kiddish activities; Healthcare; & Liverpool

Easter Week is, of course, Holy Week or Semana Santa in Spain. Click here for a taste of what this means on the streets of her major cities.

It seems that the responsibility for last week's dreadful air incident really lies with the French. For it was the very tight German laws on privacy which prevented the airline knowing anything about the mental state of the co-pilot. And these were a reaction to the intrusions into privacy of the Nazis. Which were due to the rise of an Adolf Hitler aggrieved by the harsh conditions of the Treaty of Versailles. Which were imposed by the merciless French. Nonetheless, it's the airline which is laying aside hundreds of millions of dollars as compensation.

As I've said more than once, eye-contact is essential in Spain but pretty rare in the UK. Even when you try it here, there's usually no reciprocity. I find it hard to see how things could be worse but someone has suggested that kids who spend many hours a day looking down on screens will find it increasingly difficult to raise their eyes for anything.

Talking of children . . . A UK study finds that kids there are "missing out on traditional childhood activities". Whether British kids are aware - or regretful - about this isn't said but here they are, for the record:-
1. Splashing in puddles and getting wet
2. Building a snowman
3. Walking through squelchy mud
4. Playing in a forest/woodland
5. Having a snowball fight
6. Playing in a local park or playing field
7. Building a sandcastle
8. Having a picnic somewhere other than your own garden
9. Going on bike rides
10. Playing in the rain
11. Planting their own seeds
12. Climbing a tree
13. Paddling in the sea/stream/river
14. Skimming stones across a river/lake
15. Going plant/animal spotting
16. Searching for bugs and insects
17. Helping to grow fruit and vegetables
18. Flying a kite
19. Making a daisy chain
20. Looking for birds
21. Knocking conkers off a tree
22. Going blackberry picking
23. Having a conker fight
24. Camping outside
25. Pond dipping
26. Playing with 'pooh sticks'
27. Hunting for animals in rock pools
28. Building a den from sticks and branches
29. Going crabbing
30. Finding frogspawn

Back to Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage . . . A reference to the section on the pronunciation of the letter H at the beginning of words, reminded me of the old story about F. E. Smith's response to someone who complained about having and 'ell of an 'eadache': "You just need a couple of aspirates', said the great man.

And back to the NHS . . . A European study confirms what I wrote recently, viz. that all other European healthcare systems are financed by a mix of public money and private insurance. The study criticised the UK for its "insular and inward-looking attitude to healthcare" and added "Britain is not the only country that has achieved universal access to healthcare but it is probably the only country where this is celebrated as a unique achievement." The net result is that c.9,000 Brits die needlessly each year because the NHS is not as good as other European health systems.

Finally . . . Heswall is a posh part of the Wirral, which is the posh part of Merseyside. Loading my daughter's stuff into my car there yesterday, to take back to Spain, I was putting it on the back seat. "Shouldn't we be putting it into the boot(trunk)", said my daughter. "Why?" I asked. "Well, it is Liverpool" she replied. I suggested she keep her voice down, if she ever wanted to see Madrid again.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Well, yes… But French vengefulness in 1919 was a direct - and justified - result of Bismarck's bullying and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. So sorry, but the fault for the Lufthansa crash really lies with the Germans!


Colin Davies said...

How did I know you were not going to stop at 1919? And you weren't going to go as far back as that bloody tyrant Napoleon.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Now it's all the Emperor's fault?? What about Trafalgar, eh? What about Trafalgar??


Colin Davies said...

His fault, too. Poor communication and no delegation to his admirals and captains.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

So… If a butterfly flutters its wings in Ajaccio, Corsica, a German airplane comes crushing down in the Alps 250 years later??

Yours historical determinism is truly impressive…


Colin Davies said...

If you take it all the way back, everything's God's fault.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

As He can take care very well of Himself, I will leave it to the Lord to discuss this blasphemous concept with you in the future…


Anthea said...

Our children never played WITH pooh sticks. They played Pooh sticks, based on the game Winnie the Pooh played with Piglet!