Sunday, 18 June 2017

A little more escapism!

Back in my escapist bubble for the moment, I am ignoring any stuff about the Queen's speech and Theresa May's machinations to stay in power. I shall only say that perhaps she and her handholding friend across the ocean could perhaps retire into the sunset together at some point.

This morning, as is my wont, I was up bright and early, running along the paseo marítimo and then along to the lighthouse and back along the beach, dabbling my feet in the sea. Other early risers were also up and about, doing the sensible thing and getting some exercise before it got too hot. At least two groups of younger people were also up and about, in their case still up and about rather than already up and about.

Revellers extending Saturday night into Sunday morning, one group of young men seemed to be debating whether they could go into a cafe for breakfast while still holding half-full bottles of beer. Another group were mostly young women, dressed in matching outfits of black top and long shorts, topped with bright yellow net skirts of the kind that our three year old granddaughter would love to possess for dressing up purposes. These young women's fancy dress was finished off with black pussy cat ears. So they were not after all dressed as bees in sympathy with Manchester. One possibility is that they were a hen party, despite the fact that they seemed to have collected a few men en route. They all sat on the sea wall, chatting happily and finishing off glasses of wine and beer.

In Spanish there is a verb, "madrugar", which has different possible meanings, depending on the angle from which you approach it. Those of us who were out and about for exercise were "madrugando" in its sense of "getting up early". Those young people who were still socialising were "madrugando" in its sense of "staying up unreasonably late". We could do with such a verb in English but all we have is the expression about burning the candle at both ends when we try to "madrugar" in both senses at once.

On the subject of words, I have been noting odd uses of English once again. There is a shop here that sells sailing gear which persists, even after several years, in having the slogan "At anytime and to any weather". Surely someone must have told them by now. As my students used to tell me, it's the little words (prepositions, as any primary school child in the UK could now tell you) that make life difficult. A company called ServiNauta, hedges its bets by advertising "Yatch service" on one bit of their van and "Yachting service" on another! And in Porto Novo I spotted a boutique that calls itself "Woman Chic" - possible considered a very trendy name but not really English!

Some things just don't translate, of course, as my friend Colin has been saying about the menu item "huevos rotos", literally broken eggs. Impossible to translate because eggs with their yolks broken and then fried would just not appear on any menu in the UK, even if the Spanish appreciate them. I wonder how the Spanish translate the American "sunny side up" fried eggs!

I had a chat this morning with a small girl on the next door terrace in our hotel. She spotted me through the dividing greenery and told me she was going to pool later. When I replied that I too would be there but that I had not yet had breakfast, she told me "Ni yo tampoco" - neither have I. Then, at the tender age of no more than four, she demonstrated perfect mastery of the subjunctive mood, telling me, "Mi madre me dice que vaya adentro ahora", more or less "mum is telling me to go inside now". Aren't children amazing?

Of course, she had to do as she was told, for as I heard a young mother telling her daughter that she HAD to rinse the pool water out of her hair, "las cosas que dicen las mamás, hay que hacerlas". The things that mums tell you to do, you have to do them!

But of course!

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