Monday, March 27, 2006
I´d thought that the Spanish have a perfectly good word for the little dump trucks that ferry building materials, furniture and occasionally shopping up the steep streets here. El vertedor seems appropriate, unless it means the guy doing the dumping. Perhaps Spain´s equivalent of the Academie Francaise has something to say on the subject. When I looked it up in the dictionary I found dúmper! Casareños say something like dúpe.
Quite a find this. "Lobo Park" is 170km from us and we had to navigate through Antequera to get there.
The park is run by a German couple and now houses Iberian, Timber, European (Russian) and Polar wolves. They are impressive creatures and clearly very intelligent.
The wolves are not truly wild, having been raised in the park, so they are "socialised" with the keeper. They do seem to have a good life though. They even sing with the keeper!
Well worth a visit if you´re looking for something different.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
BBC NEWS Wales Church recalls 'Prophet' magazine shows why I have little respect for the church. Not only is the cartoon referred to not part of the "cartoon war" images, it was also very even-handed in its lampooning of all religions. For that reason the editor might have resigned, but no, it appears that because one religious community might take offense, then the editor had to go.
Don't these people realise that the cartoons in whatever form are part of the great tradition of caricature, which has always made those in power feel uncomfortable. I still remember Steve Bell's excellent "Animal Farm" series from the 1980's.
Here in Casares, most people don't have respect for religion for much better reasons. Two specific incidents in fact.
During the Civil War, Republican irregulars (mostly local people) took control of Casares. Franco's insurgent forces were sent to take Casares back. After a brief siege of the castle, the republicans took refuge in the church asking for sanctuary. The priest denied them this and kicked them out to face certain death at the hands of the insurgent forces. The 44 Casareños were taken out and shot not far from the town and buried in a shallow grave.
If that were not enough, one of those rounded up by the insurgent forces (Morrocan 'legionaires') was a young girl of just 18. The troops gang-raped her in front of the local people and then were about to take her away to be shot. One of my neighbours, then just 17 asked the priest to intervene to save her life. The priest replied that since she had just been raped, her soul was damned so it would be better for her to be shot - which is what happened.
Small wonder my neighbour has never set foot inside the church since.
A memorial to those Casareños has only in the last six months been put up - the wounds and divisions still go deep. There were huge arguments as to whether a monument should be allowed at all.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The 10th would be my grandma's birthday - she'd be 103. I still miss her, I can still see her face. Always smiling, never angry. Always appreciative of the small help I lent her in the garden or round the house. She always cooked a meal for me when I came to visit. I still remember my accident with her pressure cooker - spraying the ceiling with raspberry jam. That was the closest she came to being angry. She looked disapprovingly at the mess, though seemed more concerned that she'd have to make another batch. I repainted the ceiling of course. That was more than 20 years ago. I don't even have a photo of her.
The 11th, two years ago. I was renting a house in Manilva and came back from work to find our landlady and her husband in shock - I hadn't heard the news. They sat down with me and calmly, matter-of-factly told me about the bombs. Suddenly my memories of the UK came flooding back. An unexpected day off work. A walk in the park with the children, feeding the ducks with them. Coming home to turn on the TV and see the WTC in flames. That 11th of March two years ago overwhelmed me and I wept in front of this Spanish couple. I need to confront this demon.
Two years on and I still find it difficult. I try to concentrate on my eldest daugher's birthday which is this week. She'll be nine and has invited all her friends - we're expecting almost all her class, about 20 kids. She fills me with joy this happy, innocent child.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
After the last incident with our children we went to see the director of the school. He flatly denied there was any problem with violence at the school. Perhaps his tune will change now.
Friday, March 03, 2006
If only there were a filter to exclude the 'red-neck' responses. Me?, I'm a collard, whatever that is.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
My research for the documentary goes well and I've half-a-dozen people lined up to interview, though I'd like more.
I spotted last night on the TV news (La 2) that bird flu has been found in a cat in Germany. You can read the story here. An excellent H5N1 information site can be found here.
Also spotted on the TV were more ads warning against forest fires - in March! Although the winter has been quite wet round our way, I guess it must still be very dry. Read this (rather dated) article here. and for background here.