Monday, 21 October 2019

Brexit. Travel (mis)adventures. Language. And back to Brexit.

Brexit-wise I have no idea what is really going on. Some reports say Mr Johnson has sent an unsigned letter requesting an extension and another letter explaining his personal reasons for not wanting an extension. Can this be true? And do his personal reasons have anything to do with tax?

Another thing I have read talks about a possible extension until the end of 2020 to allow time for another referendum. Will it be sorted in our lifetime? Goodness knows!

Yesterday my son and his wife arrived safely back from Paris, where the weather was kind to them. My granddaughter and I walked down onto town to meet them at the station, whereupon it started to rain!

Phil arrived safely back in Manchester yesterday after some adventures:

  • our misreading the time of his train to Manchester and his consequently arriving at Euston a good hour and a half before his train’s actual departure time; 
  •  his accidentally getting on a train bound for Edinburg abut realising in the nick of time and managing to get on the Manchester train after all.
I must be careful to avoid both these things as I travel today.

I thought I was travelling home lighter than I arrived - luggage-wise not personally having lost weight - as I arrived with stuff to leave here in Chesham. However, I have now been given a stack of stuff to carry in the other direction: hand-me-down clothes from one small granddaughter to another slightly smaller one and gifts for the new grandson. But at least I am not carrying a weighty sewing machine. That will wait for my brother-in-law to visit here by car. We have yet to tell him that he will have this task but he is usually quite amenable.

A friend of mine posted this odd statistic on social media:

 “Here’s a mad stat for you. In 1834 when the UK abolished slavery, they paid the equivalent of £16.5bn as to slave owners compensation. It was so large an amount that they had to take out a loan from the treasury that they only paid back in 2015. Which means that all of us, through tax, have been paying back slave owners for the freeing of their slaves until 2015 ...”

The world is crazy!

I read that Duolingo, the online language learning programme, plans to add Gaelic to its syllabus. Something like 60,000 people speak Gaelic, now regarded by Unesco as an “endangered language. There are hopes that adding it to the Duolingo list will increase the number of speakers. Apparently this has worked for Welsh and Irish. Some academics, however, believe that promoting Gaelic to new speakers does not help the existing core of speakers on whom the language’s wellbeing depends.

It’s an odd dilemma. Can we, indeed should we, interfere with the natural progression of a language? Every time I complain about the way the English language changes with modern usage, someone will inevitably tell me that we cannot artificially prevent this progression, which I refuse to call progress! 

And I am taken back to my schooldays when my Spanish teacher used to try to persuade us to sign up for Esperanto lessons, which she regarded as the future of communication and a way of ensuring world peace, or at least peace in Europe, before the Common Market came along!

Oops, there we are, back at the EU and Brexit!

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