Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Elephants of the colour white; Spain v. Gib.; UK exams; The Blood Donor; & Bloody salad.

During her easy-cheap-money-bum years of 2000-2007, Spain got very good at commissioning vast and, of course, expensive vanity projects. Some of these actually got finished and now lie empty but some were only part-completed. One of the latter was the scheme for the centralisation of all judicial activities in Madrid in a Palace of Justice. This cost €106m and operated for a few years before being closed recently, unfinished. Another scheme was the famous Castellon airport, for which there's never been any obvious rationale. This has lain empty - but manned - for a few years but now it's rumoured Ryanair might start using it - attracted by the appeal to Brits of its alleged proximity to idyllic beaches, numerous spa resorts and golf courses, plus vast, mountainous countryside, remote hideaways, mediaeval castles and other historic monuments. All seen as contributors to the 'very Spanish feel' of Castellón province. But which are possibly already accessible via other, commercially viable, airports.

Well, I asked what next. Here's the latest escalation in the transparent campaign of the PP government to enrage its far-right supporters over the Gib issue. So, what next? Who knows but, meanwhile, there'll be a completely different take on the story in Spain's media today. And these are EU partners, for God's sake. Not Russia and the Ukraine.

Here's an odd story, about a French kid who failed his French AS level exam. It seems to bear out concerns that education in Britain has become over-regimented and too oriented towards box-ticking exam assessment.

Tony Hancock was a brilliant comedian of my earlier years. Perhaps his best - or at least best-known - sketch was The Blood Donor. You can see it here(Part 1) and here(Part 2). What you might not know is that Hancock's drinking was causing problems by this stage of his career. He was drunk when he performed this sketch and he'd also failed to learn his words. He was helped by large cue-cards held behind the camera or the other performers. This explains why he's so often seen looking to the side or into the middle distance. In fact, I think you can see the shadow of the corner of a card when he and the doctor are discussing blood groups. Isn't it odd how, even though you know the exact words that are coming, you still find them funny. Down to the performance, I guess. BTW - the lovely nurse is June Whitfield, who's still going strong, I believe.

Finally . . . I never eat salad - possibly because my mother's idea of this dish was a lettuce leaf and half a raw tomato. To be joined by a dollop of Heinz salad cream, once we were a bit better off. Over the last few years I've enjoyed 2 articles on this subject:- 1. There's a basic principle that salad offends: Food is nicer when it's been cooked; and Why salad is so overrated. You can enjoy them here and here. BTW: I still love salad cream. Stuff mayonaise. Especially Alfie Whittington's.

3 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Salad Cream is to Mayonnaise what alcohol-free beer is to a Grand Cru. From time to time you can't escape it, but it only reminds you of what you're missing…

Al Cohol.

Sierra said...

Did it state how many English students failed their English AS exam?

Anthea said...

OK. I think I know a bit about AS language exams. Having had a fair number of native speakers in AS and A level French and Spanish classes, I can say for a fact that being able to speak the language well does not mean you can write it well or that you know all the stuff you need to know to get a good grade. Native speakers can score well on GCSE but for the AS and A level exams they need to be able to argue well, to reason, to demonstrate knowledge of culture and a sophisticated use of language. It's not just a case of rote-learning topics and expressions to get good grades. Examiners are trained to recognise that. Think of the number of Englsh teenagers who can't put together a coherent, well organised essay in their native language. OK, rant over!

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