Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Out and about dealing with problems of the modern world.

Earlier in the week they were promising us snow for today. Later the forecast changed to rain. Now it suggests rain later this afternoon. So this morning I got up and ran to Uppermill in fairly mild, dry but cloudy weather. It’s a while since I ran to Uppermill on a Wednesday. I have either been away or travelling. It was good to get back on the Delph Donkey Line, surprisingly dry despite all the recent snow and rain, apart from the approach to the bridle path, a veritable quagmire!

I felt quite efficient: a run to Uppermill, a quick visit to the Co-op, the baker’s and three stalls on the market, all in time to catch the 9.40 bus home. Which is just as well as I had picked up a huge pot of spring flowers to stand outside the front door: not the kind of thing you want to carry while you walk the three miles back home.

I also got the fishman to chop up a variety of fresh fish for me to make what he calls “fish pie mix” but which I use to make a fish chowder. It’s good to see what is going into your fish pie mix; I sometimes suspect that the ore-packaged stuff you can buy at the supermarket is often the scrappy ends of fish, not the best stuff.

And I found cooking apples and rhubarb. In Spain I have often complained about the lack of cooking apples. I have been offered a variety of alternatives with which to make apple pie, usually apples such as the rather insipid, in my opinion, Pink Lady. When I visited my Spanish sister (she has, after all, lived in Spain longer than she ever lived in England!) I mentioned this to her. She told me that in her greengrocer’s she buys some “manzanas ├ícidas” which they regularly sell there, very tart green apples. These she uses for her apple pies.

The next time she went to her greengrocer’s I accompanied her and spoke to the shopkeeper. She showed me her “manzanas ├ícidas” and confided, “Estas se llaman Granny Smith”. I explained that these are regarded as eating apples rather than cooking apples in the UK. The concept of special apple for baking was completely new to her, just as I expected. My sister has clearly assimilated to Spanish life and has forgotten that she knew these apples in her youth.

Weather update: it is now raining and hailstones are mixed in with the rain. I must have put some kind of hex on it!

Some Spanish friends of ours are currently in the Azraq refugee camp, organising chess activities with child refugees from Syria. Here is a link to their webpage with pictures and reports of their activities. They travelled out there with 216 kilos of chess equipment and books translated specially into Arabic. Some of the material - chess sets, boards, puzzles, games - was made by schoolchildren in Pontevedra, children the same age as the young refugees. What a great way to introduce youngsters to this problem of the modern world, another step to prevent prejudice.

Here in the UK, the Labour Party continues to be stuck in the mess of accusations of antisemitism. A spokesperson for the organisation Jewish Voice commented:

"I have been in the Labour party nearly 50 years, I am a Jew. I have not met antisemitism. I cannot think of a single incident in my political career that I have met it. There is NOT rampant antisemitism in the Labour party and Mr Corbyn himself has done an enormous amount actually to deal with the cases of antisemitism"

More and more we have to watch what we say in case yet another thing is misinterpreted and used against us. The modern world is an odd place.

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