Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Summer? Spanish speaking.

Summer appears to have arrived. 

This was Manchester yesterday!!! 

And this was Uppermill this morning!!! 

Everyone is walking around stunned, not daring to say too loudly that the day is beautiful, just in case they upset the weather gods by presuming too much, fearful that the rain might return. 

Our daughter is off to Madrid tomorrow with a bunch of junior school chess players, including our grandson. She is in something of a quandary about what type of clothing to take. With the promise of temperatures rather better than an average English summer’s day they will not want to boil in winter clothes, despite the Madrileños no doubt telling them that this is still quite chilly. Everything is relative. If summer means temperatures approaching 40°C, then a mere 20+° is nothing to shout about. 

Because of this impending trip to Madrid I had to leave my Italian class early yesterday so that I could make a phone call to Spain on behalf of my daughter’s school. They wanted to sort out some queries about the accommodation and were uncertain how much was being understood if they spoke in English. Mind you, in order to get through to the relevant person at the Madrid school end you needed to go through their switchboard so it might have been a problem anyway. 

We got it all sorted and I had a little chat which led to comments on how good my Spanish was (well, I should hope so, although it was a wonder that it didn’t come out in Italian!). When I explained about having been a Spanish teacher before retiring I was told my voice sounded too young for a retired lady. How do you judge the age of a voice? At what point does it become the quavery voice of an older lady? I wonder. 

In between rushing off to visit people and playing secretary to my daughter, I have continued my binge-watching of the TV series “The West Wing”. I am now well into the final series, where Congressman Santos is the Democrat candidate running for president. A Latino candidate!!! Appealing to the Latino voters, but not wanting to be just the Latino candidate. 

In the real world I was reading the newspaper (a proper newspaper not an online version for once) on the train to London when I came across an article about George P. Bush. This is the son of Jeb Bush and nephew of George W. Bush, once President of the United States. You have to be careful with all these Georges to make sure you get the correct initial for the second name. Anyway, George P. is the Republican nominee for the post of Texas Land Commissioner, whatever that involves. A bit of a Bush dynasty thing goingon there, perhaps.

What interested me really was the fact that George P. is also a Spanish speaker. His mother, Columba, was born in Mexico and George P. was brought up to be bilingual. So here we have the Republican appeal to the Latino voters! Who’d have thought it? Of course, I realise that I am doing a little stereotyping here. Just because you belong to a group who have been discriminated against doesn’t make you an automatic left-winger! Just because some members of your community may have had problems getting citizenship of the USA doesn’t stop you voting Republican! There is no guarantee that Latino-Americans will be Democrat supporters. There must be the same range of opinions as anywhere else. It just seems odd (to me anyway) that they might vote for someone who declares, “In Texas, we will show the rest of the country what it means to be conservative.” 

On the same day I also read that it was the birthday of the writer Gabriel García Márquez: 86 years young! Magic realism must be good for you!

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