Archive for April, 2013

Language is a Living Thing!

Isn’t it strange how quickly accent or dialect can change? I remember a particular occasion in my working life in England, when I was on a training course in Newcastle, only twenty five miles from where I lived at that time. It was when all the kids were wearing Donkey jackets and I had managed to get the size for one of my sons but hadn’t been able to get the other.

I popped into one shop and they didn’t have the size I was looking for, so she said “trah pitta stoss”. After asking her to say it for me another two times, I thanked her, even though I still hadn’t a clue what she had said.

Stepping outside the shop, I looked for someone to explain where I should be going and, on seeing a businessman walking towards me, I said, “Excuse me but I wonder if you can help me. I’m looking for a place called trah pitta stoss.”

Without querying what I had said, he replied that “it’s just over there, love.”
And it was.

Peter Stores. “Try Peter Stores.”

Thankfully, they had the size I was looking for.

On another occasion, this time in Sunderland and only fourteen miles from home, a man got out of a Customs and Excise van and said something several times, before we resorted to pointing at what he wanted. As I was in a diesel car, and was parked near a diesel plant, he wanted to check that my diesel wasn’t the ‘pink’ type that should only be used for agricultural vehicles.

Here in Galicia in the north-west corner of Spain, we live in an area which, only after six months into our time here, we realised that the natives spoke a kind of Geordie Spanish. That is to say they are speaking Spanish but it’s not the King’s Castillian brand. The locals understand what they are saying to each other but those in other parts of Spain don’t know what is being said. If I hear a new word, I always check it in my Castillian Spanish dictionary and, if it’s not on there, I bin it (the word, not the dictionary!).

Strange …. But then we must remember that language is a living thing and that it grows and it changes.

Why aye man! (Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) understands it but do you?)

I’ve Cracked It (and I’m not talking about the bottle …)!


I’ve been reading a book about alcoholism.  Not that I needed to.  After all, Hubby and I only drink one bottle of wine a night, so that’s two glasses each.  And it is red wine.  And, as we all know, red wine in small measures is good for your health.  Or so they say … .

 Anyway, after reading the book, I decided not to drink again.  After six weeks, I still haven’t had a drink of wine but am now drinking Greip, a grape juice with no added nasties.  The strange this is that, when I pour the red juice into that lovely (might I add, plastic) stem glass, the drink feels just the same to me  We went to a bar and he served the juice in a half-pint glass and it did nothing for me, so I asked him to change the glass and mmmmm….. .  .  I’ve worked out that it is the elegance of holding that sexy little glass between finger and thumb, rather than its content, that makes me feel satisfied. 

Last week, I had a whisky and lemonade.  Oh, what a treat and I didn’t need to follow it up with another.  So it seems that red wine will now only be a treat, maybe when we’re out in company, or maybe not even then.  Grape juice in a stem glass is the future. 

Still, I’ll keep the tea in a mug ……… .  That’s my number one drink and, somehow, I don’t think it will be the same if swigged from a stemmed glass.


Is Sunday Opening to Blame?

Having now lived in the outback of Spain for seven years has confirmed something that I always suspected.

Sunday opening has had a devastating effect on family life in the UK!

Here in Spain, the law still says that the big shops and supermarkets are not truly allowed to open on a Sunday, unless maybe it is close to Christmas, when large concerns like Carrefour will advertise which Sundays in December they will be open.  The idea behind this is that the smaller shops have a chance to keep themselves in business, by being the only places open on the weekend.

In England, the big shops and supermarkets are often open every day of the week, meaning that if sons and daughters aren’t manning the checkouts, than maybe mam or dad is.  Getting together on a weekend becomes extremely difficult, as ‘everyone’ can’t be there.

In Spain, children bring their own families to their parents’ homes on the Sunday and that day is still valued as the day of rest.  How I wish it was like that in England.  Knowing that it wasn’t made it easier for Hubby and I to emigrate, as we weren’t getting those sought-after visits, as our kids were either at work, or taking on a second job or activity to provide some luxuries.