Friday, 8 March 2019

Recent weather! Education matters! Strong women! Statues!

We battled torrential rain on Tuesday yesterday evening to go down to a local bar for a beer and to check our mail and to post my blog. With our beer we got free food as usual. Tuesday being Shrove Tuesday, we got pancakes - sweet not savoury! Was it a special move to make the English feel at home? I doubt it. I suspect it’s part of all things English being really trendy?

The rain was that special torrential rain they do so well here. All the side roads and alleyways leading down from San Joan do Monte, the hillside behind, onto Calle Aragón were positively gushing water onto the road, which was rapidly becoming a small river. Despite this the bar, when we got there, was full of people getting very distressed as Real Madrid appeared to be losing a match to Ajax.

Every bar comes with an umbrella stand. This was crammed full in Tuesday night’s bar so we kept our soggy brollies with us. In this we were also motivated by the fact that Phil’s was “borrowed” one evening recently and had to be replaced. When it really rains like this I carry a large shocking pink umbrella, which Phil refuses to hold (too embarrassingly pink!) but which is unlikely to be “borrowed” by some random gent leaving the bar.

Back in the UK, there is yet another panic going on about the decline in numbers of students opting to study modern foreign languages. “Schools should teach a language to pupils from age five to 18 to reverse a "disastrous" decline in language skills, say MPs and peers. It follows a BBC investigation showing falls of between 30 and 50% since 2013 in the numbers taking language GCSEs in some areas of England.” Head teachers say it will be difficult to try to meet such an aim because of teacher shortages and funding pressures. Personally I put it down to the ridiculous decision to stop making the study of a modern foreign language compulsory after the age of 14.

Looking at what my teenage grandchildren do by the way of language learning at secondary school, I would say that most of the best teachers have moved into other fields. Teachers seem to find it hard to motivate youngsters to continue beyond 14. Most of all, it seems that much of the fun of learning to speak a other language has disappeared. I used to have my younger pupils play games and sing songs in French and Spanish. According to my grandson, none of that happens in his lessons.

We need more joy! 

The other day my Facebook page popped up an advert for British Airways;-

 “Weather it's golfing, flamingo-spotting or kayaking that floats your boat, Florida has it all.”

Forget teaching foreign languages - teach English properly!

I noticed this morning that the “weather” has been changed to “whether”! Someone must have alerted them to the error.

A friend of mine alerted me to this bit of news about a very old pub in central Manchester, Mr Thomas’s Chop House:-

 “It is one of Manchester’s most iconic pubs – but Mr Thomas’s Chop House, which first opened in 1867, is about to get a radical name change. For the owner of the legendary city centre pub is renaming it Mrs Sarah’s Chop House in honour of the formidable females who ran the Victorian pub at a time when women weren’t generally even allowed INSIDE the Chop Houses of Manchester in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The grand unveiling of Sarah’s Chop House comes on Friday March 8th to celebrate International Women’s Day, less than three months after Manchester’s historic Emmeline Pankhurst statue was installed on St Peter’s Square. Mr Thomas’s owner Roger Ward has become so fascinated with the history of the pub and restaurant, and in particular the mother and daughter both called Sarah who ran it 150 years ago, that he is rebranding the business in celebration of the women of Manchester.”

 Hurray for that, say I!

Elsewhere, another formidable woman is running into difficulties.

 “Plans for a statue of Baroness Thatcher in her home town of Grantham have been approved despite vandalism concerns. South Kesteven District Council planners voted in favour of the £300,000 statue to be erected on St Peter's Hill in the town. It comes after a report stated the sculpture could become "a target for politically-motivated vandals".

Lincolnshire Police said they did not oppose the application, but urged appropriate security measures be used. The 10ft-high statue, which has been privately funded, will be placed on a granite plinth of the same height. During a planning meeting, committee chairman Martin Wilkins attempted to remind fellow councillors the panel was non-political body.

One councillor said: "This is a statue of Margaret Thatcher, how can it not be political?" Another councillor, Charmaine Morgan, said she would not vote on the application and spoke against it: "It is currently being held in an out of sight, secret location.

"Perhaps it should stay there."”

Well said!

No comments:

Post a Comment