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Showing posts from January, 2011

Ready when you are Mr DeMille!

Alex de la Iglesia is a well known Spanish film director and also the current president of the Spanish equivalent of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. His new film La Chispa de la Vida or Spark of Life, or at least a part of it, is going to be shot in Cartagena and the recruitment of extras has been going on in the city for the last couple of days.

We'd heard about the queues of people waiting patiently to be one of the 1,000 people chosen so we went to have a look and there they were standing patiently outside the Palacio Molina.

Something I'd not really noticed before

When I was a lad living in Elland there was a bit of a furore when the local council decided to introduce parking restrictions outside one of the town's busiest newsagents. People would park outside as they popped in for 10 Woodbine and a copy of the Daily Express. Peak hours were from around 7.00 till 8.30 as people went off to work. The Police delighted in using up their stock of parking tickets in early morning raids.

Newsagents, like milkmen and bakers have always worked ungodly hours. I suppose that milkwomen do too.

At the moment El País newspaper has a promotion for a notebook computer for under 70€. The method to get hold of the computer is similar to another boyhood memory where picture cards - Great Locomotives of the World or European Butterflies - came inside packets of tea. In fact it's a bit less sophisticated than the cards as I have to clip a little token from the newspaper and stick it onto a card that came in the Sunday edition a couple orf weeks ago. If I mi…

Telegraph pole out yer ead

I was talking with some students about Spanish wedding traditions. Amongst other things they told me that it's usual for the photographer to take the bride and groom off to some local beauty spot to take a couple of romantic snaps.

This morning I'd stopped by the little cove of Cala Cortina on my way back from a bit of in house teaching for a crafty fag. An old Peugeot drew up and a bloke got out who seemed to be having trouble with the waistband and flies of his trousers. Next was a plumpish young woman dressed in her finery. It took a while for the bride to emerge from the back of the car. She complained about the comfort of the stockings she was apparently wearing beneath her meringue like wedding dress. Her husband wore a very creased long tailed two tone beige suit.

The trouser trouble bloke was the photographer. He carefully arranged the Happy Couple in front of the handrail just beside the litter bin with the sea in the background. The groom was scratching his balls. I …

Popping out to Spain

You may have noticed that I live in Spain. Most Spaniards who are studying English firmly believe that a longish stay in the UK will turn them into fluent English speakers. I'm not so sure.

At home Maggie and I speak to each other in English and we live an English sort of life. At work my job is to talk in English. At home. on TV, the majority of series, dramas and films are American and they are broadcast in their original language version as well as the dubbed Spanish versions. We watch in English.

At work I must be doing something either wrong or right as they keep upping my hours. My contract was originally just 15 hours per week but from next Monday I will be teaching 34 hours. This doesn't leave me a lot of time for those little adventures that took us out to Spain - going to the pictures, roaming the area, doing the exhibitions and what not.

Most weekends we retire to Culebrón which is great in the relaxing sense but a disaster as regards our Hispanicisation. All of our…

Doing as they're told

In general I find that women are much more concerned about the cleanliness of toilets, the public variety, than men. A more intimate experience I suppose. One of the less savoury aspects of Spanish toilets is that there is often a notice that says please don't throw the toilet paper down the toilet - use the waste basket. Presumably older drains tended to block up. The other day I saw a different notice - please do not throw the paper in the basket - throw it down the toilet!

Meanwhile the anti smoking laws are still a big talking point. Apparently the number of applications for licences for pavement tables outside bars has shot up and those big, mushroom shaped, gas heaters - to keep the drinking smokers warm - have sold out all over Spain.

At work I heard a discussion about how the smoking laws have generally been accepted without too much fuss - occasional stories about assaults and other problems but no overwhelming backlash. If the notice says "No Smoking" then peop…

Make way for the roscón

I bought a roscón this afternoon. After all the Three Kings will be delivering Christmas presents all over Spain tonight and it seemed churlish not to join in by chomping my way through one of these large, doughnut shaped cakes that are part of the traditional fare for the celebration.

The Three Kings were on the news - arriving by boat in Cartagena, Barcelona and Alicante, by helicopter in Ceuta, on the AVE train in Albacete, cruising in stretch limos and riding elephants and camels in Cantabria.

I was at work till eight and the parade of the Kings through Cartagena began at six but, on the off chance, I joined the throng of last minute Christmas shoppers and the people milling around simply because that's what you do before and after the parade. It was hard walking, fighting the prams and strolling, chatting, snack eating pedestrians but down near the port it was obvious that the crowd was still awaiting the arrival of their Majesties the Magician Kings.

I watched the parade pa…