Skip to main content

Old whatsit

I'm not good at names. I never have been.

Some forty years ago home from University unexpectedly I spotted my dad looking in a shop window. I went over and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned on his heel, scrutinised me carefully and asked me who I was. It's a skill he passed on to me.

Good Lord, it's just struck me that there's another possibility, but no, I'm pretty sure he was my father.

This inability to recognise people is a bit of a problem where I work. I have some fixed classes and I generally remember the names of my regular students with only the occasional lapse. I have lots of classes though where I have no idea who will be in the class till moments before it starts and sometimes not till after it has started. It can be quite embarrassing to be greeted effusively by someone who I recognise but whose name has just escaped me for the moment. I have turned it into a bit of a joke, a gift reserved for age and suchlike.

The National Statistical Office published a list today of the most popular, or that may be common, names in Spain.

So far in the 21st Century the preferred name for a boy is Alejandro and for a girl it's María. I should point out that although María has been popular in Spain for ages it was usually in some compound form like María Dolores or María Inmaculada so María per se is quite a new name. Daniel, Pablo, David y Adrián are the next up for the lads and Lucía, Paula, Laura and Marta for the lasses.

The most common names in the general population though are Antonio and Mari Carmen. Next up we have José, Manuel, Francisco, Juan and David. On the female line there are any number of Marias, Carmen, Josefa and Isabel.

García, González and Rodriguez are the most frequent surnames.

So now I have the formula. "It's Antonio isn't it?" for anyone male over say 20 and Carmen/Mari Carmen for the women. Foolproof.


Popular posts from this blog

Looking for a flat

Finding a house to rent in Spain is usually a pretty straightforward process. When I say house I really mean flat because, although it's not impossible to find houses in the middle of a town or city, by far the most usual style of dwelling for urban Spaniards is the flat.
I need to qualify this a bit further. It's easy to find a place if you are willing to pay an estate agent. The other options involve walking around random streets looking for to rent signs with your mobile phone to hand. We've only ever done it a couple of times and it has not produced good results.
The internet has made it a slightly less fraught process to find an individual renter and the place that Maggie rented in Ciudad Rodrigo came that way. Even then it takes ages to sift through the various websites usually to find that nobody answers your email or phone call except for the estate agents.
The estate agent method is the most straightforward but also the most costly. The standard charging process…

Where am I?

When I wrote the last post on this blog - Looking for a flat - I should really have written it on the Life in Culebrón blog because that's where I am at the moment.

In fact, apart from working in Cartagena it looks as though my links with the place are about to be cut. I am in the process of signing up for a flat in La Unión and the logic of naming the blogs must mean that the active ones are the places where I have a kettle. La Unión and El Culebrón.

There is a tab at the top of the page to navigate there or this is the link

La vuelta al curro

Certain Spanish soft news stories do the rounds each year. Spanish summer ends on 1 September and as people return to work the news always includes little filler pieces about how difficult it is to go back. In a couple of weeks time the story will be the cost of text books as the youngsters return to school. Back to school is la vuelta al cole, la vuelta al curro is what I've just done, back to work.

In fact we both started work today. We intended to leave Culebrón yesterday evening so we could unpack but the cat sensed something and scarpered so we had to put it off till this morning. Horrid, up at 5.30 - long before dawn. It was bad enough for Maggie after two months off but pity me - eighteen months since I last had a proper job. The strain! - polished shoes, shirt with collar, new people to meet, new routines to learn.

I'm working at the Wall Street Institute in Cartagena and everyone was welcoming and friendly. The centre has a good positive feel to it and the teaching me…