Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What day is it?

According to some people yesterday was the first day of Spring. Others would have it that it is today and still others that it was Monday. In my family we always said it was today, 22nd of March, which we could all remember without too much difficulty as it is also my elder sister's birthday. Birthdays were always occasions to be remembered. I am not so sure that she feels the same now. Such are the consequences of the passing of time.

I have been fairly reliably informed that yesterday was also International Poetry Day. I have this from English and Italian sources so it has every chance of being true. Here are a few selections offered by poetry enthusiasts yesterday:

they speak whatever’s on their mind / they do whatever’s in their pants / the boys i mean are not refined / they shake the mountains when they dance 
the boys i mean are not refined',
E. E. Cummings

Tree you are, / Moss you are, / You are violets with wind above them. / A child - so high - you are, / And all this is folly to the world
'A Girl',
Ezra Pound

(So even poets see boys and girls differently - a bit of gender stereotyping there.)

This is the way the world ends / not with a bang but a whimper

'The Hollow Men',
T.S Eliot

Reflecting that last quotation, here is something a friend of mine posted regarding the end of the UK's EU membership:

UK: We want a rebate on the fees.
UK: We don't want to be in the Euro.
UK: We don't want to be in Shengen.
UK: We want a restriction on benefits until people have worked here for some time.
UK: We want to stop child benefit being paid for children who aren't in the UK.
UK: We want to kick out people who come here and don't work and can't afford to support themselves.
EU: That's fine, you already can.
UK: We want loads of preferential treatment that other countries don't get.
EU. Err, can't really give that without everyone agreeing.
UK: Don't give us what we want and we'll leave.
EU: That's a bit of an over reaction, but your choice.
UK: OK, we're leaving.
EU: Bye then.
UK: Now we're leaving, we want all the things we had before.
EU: Err, it doesn't work like that.
UK: Don't give us what we want and we'll leave with nothing.
EU: (Scratches head) OK, umm, well, yeah.
UK. We're serious, we'll walk away with nothing, to teach you a lesson.
EU: Bye (again).

That seems to be the way negotiations are set to go. We shall see.

Last night we popped out for a drink and to check our email in the Mid Century café bar where the music (mid 20th century music) is always good. Last night it was very hard to hear it. I know some people complain about ambient music in bars and restaurants and I understand their complaints, especially when the music is bland. However, if I don't want background music to prevent me from hearing the conversation around the table where I am sitting, neither do I want the conversation from the next table to prevent me from hearing my own conversation AND the perfectly decent background music.

This was a tableful of young women - anywhere from there mid twenties to mid to late thirties. Now, if a table of young women gets as noisy as that one in a bar in the UK the women concerned have usually had a lot to drink and are getting loud and giggly. This was a bunch of serious young Spanish women, drinking coffee, infusions, and soft drinks, and taking seriously about the state of the world, the state of Spain, and the state of Galicia. At the top of their voices! A kind of statement about being young women with opinions!?

As often happens with such groups, there was a dominant female: this time with a mass of shoulder-length tightly curled hair (one of today's statement hairstyles that says "Look at me! I am an independent female and I don't need to spend time making my hair sleek and smooth!") and the loudest voice of the group. She spent a good deal of time pontificating to the rest of the group who sometimes found it difficult to get a word in edgewise.

It was quite a relief when they finally gathered their stuff together and left.

At which point María, who runs the bar, came and had a chat about how sad she was to hear of the demise of Chuck Berry, although it did take a minute or so for us to decipher the Spanish pronunciation of his name. She can probably sing along to any number of English-language songs but still has difficulty pronouncing names of performers.

Rather like a friend of ours long ago who greatly admired the writing -in translation - of the Frenchman Albert Camus, or as he called him Albert (English pronunciation) Came -Uss.

We can't all be perfect!

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