Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain’*- after exists -
Life in Spain: What has changed this century?
- English teaching/speaking: When I came in 2000, I was frequently told how poor both of these were in Spain, or at least Galicia - thanks, in large part, to a traditional emphasis on grammar and an almost complete avoidance of conversation practice. Though there were unos listenings. Or ‘dictations’ as we actually call them. (I recall visiting a new School of Languages in Vilagarcia around 2005 and being told the up-to-date language lab wasn’t in use). The first thing I seem to have written on this theme was in January 2004: Elections Nonsense: The socialist opposition party, the PSOE, have said that they will ensure bi-lingual teaching [Spanish and English] in all state schools if they are elected. Thirty per cent of lessons will be given in English, with the local teachers backed up by a phalanx of native speakers from the UK and USA. In order to achieve this, the school day will be extended. Thus, in one fell swoop, the PSOE has lost the support of one of its most reliable constituencies, the less-than-taxed teaching profession. Brilliant. Especially as no one normally believes electoral promises here.
- I seem to recall President Zapatero promising that schools would be swamped with 200,000 native-speakers as teaching assistants. This never happened, of course, but - judging by the volume of American, Australian and Irish accents around me these days - mostly young females - I conclude that a fair few did come in the end. And, in the process, enormously increased the supply of private English teachers on the market. Which has had the result of keeping the cost at the same level - max €15 an hour - which it was 19 years ago. Or about half in real terms. Useful for beer money but - unless you can find a profitable niche - not enough to keep you in much else.
Current Life in Spain: Living La Vida Loca . .
- As promised, taxes and handouts will be rising. The Local: Spain is to hike taxes to offset the impact of the coronavirus crisis. President Sánchez also pledged €9 billion for Spain's regions to reinforce the public health system, which was stretched to the maximum by the epidemic.
- Our officious traffic police are about to become even more zealous, it says here.
- María’s chronicle of our Adjusted Normal Day 19.
- The Movistar/O2 saga: An irony and an oddity: 1. When I called Movistar re the fault last Saturday morning, I had to give my fixed line number 3 or 4 times. Because - said the woman at the other end - the line was bad. . . . 2. Yesterday I received the inevitable machine call asking me to rate Movistar’s performance. As I was trying to switch to loudspeaker, I heard the computer thank me for my feedback. Which can only have been the wind and/or my (unintended) heavy breathing.
The Way of the World
- Another interesting view from the Scottish iconoclast, Effie Deans.
- Another 3 refranes:-
- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: El major halago es que le imiten a uno.
- In for a penny, in for a pound: Ya que estamos en el baile, bailemos.
- It just makes things worse: Es peor el remedio que la enfermedad.
- Caitlin Moran: Daisy May Cooper has said that her daughter had told her ‘I’ve got a present for you’ and took her to the garden shed. Where her daughter had done a poo on the floor and put a tiny Union Jack flag in it. Cooper’s daughter is 2. It’s good to see she’ll be winning the Turner prize by 2025 at the latest.
- I might be ‘a bit nervous in the Fanny way’ turned out to be a rendering of ‘a bit nervous in a funny way’.
* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.