Wednesday, 18 May 2022

A trip down memory lane in Italian! Mobile rain storms!

 We sat in our Zoom Italian conversation class on Monday afternoon, valiantly explaining why none of us had watched the Eurovision Song Contest at the weekend. Our Italian teacher was the only who had watched it. She gets together with a group of international friends - Italian, of course, Spanish, French, mostly mediterranean - and they have a glass or two of wine and some nibbles and laugh their way through the whole business. That’s what she says anyway, but I have a sneaky feeling that they all take it a bit more seriously than they admit. 

We went on to one of those activities intended to make everyone speak as much as possible - which is, of course, the purpose of the whole thing! So we went through a range of questions, all about the UK:

Which singers/groups/etc are also famous abroad? Additional question - why? Why are English language singers more internationally known than those who sing in, for example, Spanish or Italian or German? Personally I think that extra question is more revealing about the English speaking nations of the world. Other language speakers strive to understand the English language songs - the number of Spaniards who turned out to hear Leonard Cohen in Vigo’s Castrelos Park back in the summer of 2009 was impressive and they clearly knew the words - but the majority of British and Americans can’t be bothered to even try to comprehend songs in a foreign language. That’s my view, for what it’s worth? 

What is the most watched TV programme? Some of our number thought this meant which do you personally prefer so the discussion got a little strange. In the end the consensus was reality TV, competitive cookery shows and makeovers! None of which I ever watch, by the way!

Which religions are practised? A delicate question! Nominally Church of England, how many people actually practice their religion in this country? In many parts of the UK Islam might be the one most actually practised on a regular basis! We branched out into religion in schools, reminiscing about those old school assemblies we all sat through, some remembering how the Catholic pupils went to a separate room, only joining the main assembly for “notices”. In my girls’ grammar school it was mainly the Jewish girls who trooped in at the end to hear news about the hockey team and to see presentations of awards for writing brilliant essays! I think school assemblies have changed since then!

What is the national dish? This was probably the best question for provoking answers without any kind of bias. The consensus had to be fish ‘n’ chips, knocking into touch roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, shepherd’s pie and hotpot! Such a lot of memory lane stuff as we talked of eating chips from the newspaper wrappings as we walked home from wherever we had been as our younger selves. It also led to memories of silly school rules about not eating in the street, especially in school uniform, not to mention the general taboo about eating in the street. One of our number says she still feels guilty if she eats in the street. Fish ‘n’ chips, back in the 1960s was just about the only acceptable street food, and really only late in the evening at that! Or at lunchtime at the seaside! How times have changed!

In the midst of all this, our Italian teacher suddenly let out a very southern mediterranean wail of ‘Oddio!’. It transpired that torrential rain had just started to fall on her house in Alderley Edge. The rest of us still had mostly blue sky and sunshine, a big improvement on the rain that had soaked me earlier in the day! But the storm must have been  moving north. Some fifteen minutes after the cry ‘Oddio!’ my granddaughter sent a message, from Mossley, about fifteen minutes from here, asking if we were having thunder and lightning and heavy rain. (That’s we as in Phil and me, not the whole Italian conversation class.) I replied to her after my class was over, by which time I had had my own ‘Oddio!’ moment as the rain eventually arrived! And it went on until late in the evening when we had a fine sunset! 

Today dawned fine and sunny here in Delph. My running shoes were still wet from yesterday so I had to hunt out an older alternative pair. Outside, despite the amount of rain that had fallen at various times yesterday, most places had dried up nicely. Even along the path through the trees in the valley behind the village most of the mud-puddles were rapidly disappearing, probably an indication of how dry everything has become over the last few weeks. However, my garden has now been nicely watered and I would like some more sunshine, please!  

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone! 

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