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Back in the groove

Britons work 9 to 5. I don't think I actually ever met anyone who worked 9-5 but the idea is straightforward enough. Spaniards on the other hand work split shifts.

Spanish shops, as an example, often open from 10 till 2 and re-open for the 5 to 8 slot whilst offices probably run 9.30 to 1.30 and 4.30 till 7.30. Official offices and banks open a longer morning shift and then close to the public.

Britons don't adapt well to this routine. The long, and by our standards late, lunchtime slot makes lunch the main meal of the day whereas we Brits tend to eat our main meal in the evening. Finding a Spanish restaurant that starts to serve before 8.30 is almost impossible. Why open when everyone is still at work? Meals at 10 or even later are commonplace.

To make the most of a day we need to get out early, otherwise we find things closing down on us. Start out a bit later and the museums, shops and what not have closed down for lunch just as we get there leaving us stranded till the afternoon session or maybe the next day.

Lots of my working life I've done evenings. Evening visits and meetings as a youth worker and evening sessions too for adult education, for evening classes.

In my new job I've been doing morning acclimatisation sessions and then straight on to afternoon work at the offices of a company whose employees are being subjected to my teaching style. Yesterday, for the first time I worked a morning slot and then a 7 to 10 evening. As I strolled home through the pleasant evening warmth I couldn't help but think that it was back to the old routine.

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