a Quick Look At The Papers

As you may be aware, I recently spent six weeks on the other side of the world in New Zealand, a trip that both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed, although the flights involved were tedious and tiring in about equal measure. But it’s interesting to get back and see what is making the news here and in the UK. The difference is really quite striking; whether it has any deeper significance or not, I cannot say. In Spain the general consensus in the media and among people talking generally, is that all politicians are corrupt, along with a large proportion of top-level executives in industry and commerce. Every day the papers publish the latest twists and turns in one scandal or another. These matters are not easy for a foreigner to follow, since each of them is know by a name, usually the name of one of those implicated, and this gives the Spanish reader more than enough background to allow them to follow the story without detailed explanations. Names like Nóos, Bankia, Malaya, Bárcenas, among others. The British press on the other hand, appears obsessed with sex abuse, Rochdale, Oxford Jimmy Saville, Cyril Smith, Bryn Estin Children’s Homes, primarily but not exclusively concerning the abuse of children below the age of consent. As a psychologist I am deeply suspicious of racial stereotypes, and as an old cynic I’m inclined to think that we are looking here not so much at a difference in behaviour by those in positions of power, as at a different preoccupation on the part of the media readership.


Carnaval in Frigiliana

Only a few days late, we celebrate Carnaval tomorrow at five o'clock. I'll be out with my camera to see if I can get some shots to match this one I took last year.


Nearly There.

We landed back in London on Tuesday morning and came over to the Guildford area to spend a few days with family before making the final hop to Spain early next week. The contrast between high summer in NZ and deepest winter in England is quite alarming. Obviously, the temperature difference is enormous, but it's surprising how quickly you forget how short the days are in the UK in February, once you move overseas; for the increased daylight alone, it will be good to get back to Frigiliana. Other things to look forward to? Living out of a wardrobe again, instead of out of a suitcase, seeing friends again, picking up my Spanish classes and speaking the language on a daily basis - it's strange how rusty I feel after only five weeks of speaking exclusively English, and, of course, another big fiesta, Carnaval, is just around the corner, when the village will be a riot of colour with the procession. In the meantime, however, it's great to spend time with the family, especially our two granddaughters who, of course, are the most gifted, the most intelligent and the most beautiful granddaughters the world has ever seen; as their grandad I know these things!


The Carnival Is Over (Nearly)

Well, we are at our penultimate stop, Waitangi, with yet another fantastic view from our window. Sadly, my iPad doesn't have the facility (or I have yet to discover it) to upload photos to the blog. When I get back to my laptop, I'll upload a selection.
Anyway, why Waitangi? Firstly because it is situated on the Bay of Islands - 147 apparently - which is one of the "must not miss" destinations, and secondly because just down the road, literally, is the Waitangi Treaty House, where said treaty was signed on 6th February, 1840, between the chiefs of the various iwi (Maori tribes, and a very useful word in Scrabble) and a certain Captain Hobson, the official representative of Queen Victoria. Although there had been European settlers here for many years, this effectively marked the birth of New Zealand as we know it today. February 6th is celebrated as a national holiday, Waitangi Day, not least here in Waitangi. With my flair for timing, we land back at Heathrow on the 5th.
Waitangi is a popular cruise ship stop, though passengers have to be ferried in on a flotilla of small boats. There is a large boat anchored out at the edge of the Bay this morning with its attendant shuttle service; something else interesting to watch!