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De toda la vida

A beef stew I thought, nice and warming. After all I'd had to scrape ice off the car windscreen this morning.

I'm in Mercadona, I've got the meat and one of those veg packs with carrots and leeks. In front of me the woman in the queue asks the till operator where the batteries are. "Which ones?" "The usual ones" or in Spanish de toda la vida, of all the life. The till operator pointed and the woman retrieved her batteries. Apparently the traditional size is AA. I felt old. I still tend to think of standard battery sizes as being the torch sizes I bought from Robertshaw's as a lad; either the big fat U2s or the slightly smaller U11s.

But how traditional is anything? What is the shared experience of "All the lfe?" At work, to teach English, there is a standard manual that I work from. One of the exercises uses pictures of the Beatles and Elvis Presley to teach comparisons. Lots of the students don't know either the Fab Four or The King and we end up comparing Lady GaGa and Beyoncé.

It was 20ºC outside as we ate the stew.


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