Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Changes and opinions

Today the weather has done an almost complete turnaround. The last few days have started in gloomy fashion but have developed into pretty good August sunshine as the day has progressed. Good enough for people to organise barbecues and a dip in the pool, certainly. Today, though, the umbrellas are out, and I don't mean sun umbrellas. 

It's not what you might call proper rain, a steady pouring of water from the skies. No, it's more like being in a thick, low cloud with constant drizzle. And visibility is down to almost zero. However, it is still only a partial turnaround in my books because the temperature hovers at around 20 degrees, not cold even for most of the locals, who are out in t-shirts under their umbrellas. Well, most of them. Some, the most "frioleros", have their big coats on with the hood pulled up! 

So what can you do when the weather turns this way? Drink tea! I confess to growing a little tired of being asked if I have drunk much tea today or to confirm that it is at four o' clock (that's right, isn't it?) that the British drink tea. All of that might change. And the English text books in schools might have to change with it. Statistics show that we are drinking less tea - as a nation that is, not Phil and I. Sales of teabags, research shows, have dropped by 14% between 2013 and 2015. They don't mention loose leaf tea. It's so hard to find that probably only those who do have afternoon tea at four use it. 

Apparently, young people are to blame for the falling sales. Some are afraid tea will stain their teeth (what kind of really strong tea are those young people thinking about?) while others are concerned about the caffeine content (but they don't seem to worry about buckets of coffee from Starbucks and the like). And then, it's not cool to drink tea except when you go to visit your mum! 

There you go! 

Another question people ask, not just here but almost anywhere, is about whether I am a cat person or a dog person. Now this is a question it would never occur to me to ask anyone but for some people it is quite an important indicator of personality. The other day I came across a short article which I might have written myself. Indeed, I quite wish I had. I can't remember which newspaper it was or who wrote it but here it is: 

"As I read through the descriptions of things cat people like – reading The Hobbit alone in a basement, apparently – I was like, “Thank god I’m not a cat person.” And as I read through the things that dog people like – watching Duck Dynasty in a group – I was definitely like, “Dogs are the worst.” I am, as scientifically confirmed by my dislike of all the things cat people and dog people love (including cats and dogs), not a cat or dog person. But try as I might, the cat v dog debate is not one I’ve been able to avoid. 

I’ve always been a little surprised how often it comes up. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be light-hearted fun, but it’s still everywhere. I’ve been asked if I’m a cat or dog person in job orientations, on online dating questionnaires, at cocktail parties. My answer has usually been, “I’m whatever type of person doesn’t ask pointless questions.” 

 I don’t want your dog’s slobber on me, and I don’t want your cat’s hair on me. I can’t tell if that picture you posted on Facebook is of a new cat or an old cat because all cats look like cats to me. I will not attend your pet weddings. I will not celebrate your pet birthdays. And unless your pet has learned how to tell some great jokes, I firmly believe it has no place in dinner party discussion." 

 Enough said! My feelings exactly! 

Later: the sun came out mid afternoon. Suddenly the world was brighter again.

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