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Showing posts from December, 2010

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

It's a bit difficult for me to say how many ships there are in the Spanish Navy. The English language Wikipedia entry has 29 whilst the Spanish Ministry of Defence website lists 105. I suppose it depends how big a boat has to be to be listed and whether sail training ships and similar count.

For decent sized boats I'm going to go with 29.

At any one time it's quite usual to see five or six navy ships berthed in Cartagena, one of the five main naval bases in Spain. Unless the other bases are deserted that must mean there are very few ships at sea at any one time.

Anyway, the other day, I heard on the news that the patrol boat Infanta Cristina had come home after five months at sea. She's been patrolling the seas off Somalia and mainly involved in escort duties though there have been a couple of skirmishes with modern pirates. It occurred to me that whilst I was in town I should take her snap and do a blog entry entitled Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum or maybe something st…

We must have one!

Maggie sent me to the Iceland Supermarket. She wanted me to buy big tin of Quality Street to share with her workmates.

As I wandered the shelves I was tempted by all that pre-packed, pre-cooked food, that is so absent from supermarket shelves here. I resisted but then buckled as I passed the Fray Bentos steak and kidney pies. I plead a single and solitary past.

The next day I bought some veg to go with it and headed home. Oven heating up, water in pans, veg ready to slice and then I started to hunt for a tin opener. No tin opener. Who needs a tin opener nowadays with all the ring pull stuff? I went and rang at the neighbours door to borrow one. No good, they were out, and being lunchtime all the shops were closed. The pie had to wait.

Times tables

I'm often vaguely amused when buying things in Spain. Ten stamps please; the stamps are 32 cents each - out comes the calculator to arrive at the 3.20€ - the basis of a decimal system seems to have escaped the shopkeeper. Two packets of cigars please 2.50€ a go, calculator time again or, this morning, 1.50€+1.20€ at the paper shop - more work for Texas Instruments.

Yesterday the report of the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development released its report on educational performance in 65 countries. Shanghai (China must be a big place to survey) was top in maths, science and reading comprehension whilst Kyrgyzstan was bottom. Spain was below the OECD average in all three areas coming in the mid 30s. I noticed that Castilla y Leon, the authority that Maggie was teaching in at the time of the survey, did much better than Murcia, the region she teaches in now. The Spanish news reports all used words like mediocre.

I suppose that explains it then