Friday, 3 December 2010

Snow and stuff here and there.

We’re rather picturesquely covered in snow here, although we have come off rather lightly compared to some parts of the country by all accounts. Friends in the North East report three feet of snow, which is rather a lot in my opinion. But here in Greater Manchester they have managed to keep the main roads clear and it’s still possible to get out and about.

This hasn’t prevented schools from closing however
and for a good part of the week our daughter has been dealing with the problem of not knowing which of the three schools in her life are open: the one she works at, the one her elder daughter goes to and the primary school the two younger children attend. Even the college I go to on a Thursday evening for Portuguese classes closed early last night in view of the weather conditions.

Looking at reports online I see that some of the same is going on in Galicia. The La Coruña to Santiago de Compostela road has been closed because of snow and ice, there has been snow on the walls of Lugo and in Galicia too schools have been closed. Even Vigo has had chilly weather with minimum temperatures of just below zero. That doesn’t quite compare with -11° reported by a friend in another part of Manchester this morning though.

As regards school closure, I do wonder how they get on in countries wh
ere it regularly snows a lot. Mind you, they are almost certainly equipped for it and have winter tyres on their cars and so on. We’ve got out of the habit of having such extremes of weather and just go into panic mode, especially in this age of litigation where head teachers are afraid of being sued if someone slips on an icy playground.

In the meantime, it’s very nice being a retired lady and not having to go out in the weather unless I choose to do so. It makes it a lot easier to appreciate the Christmas card prettiness of it all.

Reading comments on Facebook this morning from a young friend of mine who has been doing some interpreting on the radio in Spain, I was reminded of the funny things that happen when you go from one language to another.

When we were in Portugal recently – is it really only a few weeks ago? – we were amused to put a notice on the door of our hotel room saying, “Please may clean”. Sun umbrellas became “sun heat” and “espreguiçadeiras” was just not translated but since the notice told us, “It is not allowed to reserve espreguiçadeiras in advance by putting towels on them”, I assume they are sun loungers. Interestingly this little notice was there in French, German and English but not in the Portuguese version of the information for guests. Putting towels on sun loungers must be purely a North European habit.

But who are we to criticise the English of foreigners? This morning I came across a short item in the newspaper written by the wife of a certain well known political figure. Talking about Aung San Suu Kyi, she wrote, “It has been a privilege for my husband and I to have supported her campaign over so many years”. I’m sure it has and I fully agree with all the other comments she made. However I believe that a good number of people will agree with I that this is an incorrect use of the English language.

Even the spelling and grammar check programme on my computer wants to change it!!!

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