weekend reading

Topka: Bubbles book cover
Topka: Bubbles book cover
The Topka editor has lined up another reading for the T-Tales collection, including Bubbles.

This time we will be reading in Moralzarzal, just north of Madrid. It’s their feria del libro next weekend – following close on the heels of Thursday 23rd, Cervantes’ and Shakespeare’s birthdays, St. George’s Day and el día del libro – and there are cuentacuentos, book signings and other activities.

Sadly, there was a slight scheduling mix up, so Bubbles is to be read in the library rather than the feria precinct, but never mind.
Continue reading “weekend reading”

a purple cow

The Madrid Cow Parade cows were auctioned last night.

"Mi sueño". Artist - C A Gonzalez
...I'd rather see than be one!

I have many pictures of the stampede as they were lined up in the street outside the Westin Palace Hotel, but no time to pick, choose and process, so will settle for this one for the moment:

Mi Sueño (“my dream”) by Carlos A González, sponsored by alimentacion.es.

And a few brief words from Gelett Burgess (1866–1951):

I never saw a purple cow;
I never hope to see one;
but I can tell you anyhow;
I’d rather see than be one!

size matters

When I got to the writers’ group last night I put my mobile on the table. (The bar where we meet is usually noisy and no way would I hear it ringing from inside my bag.) The phone is a chunky old flip-open model, reminiscent of the communicaters in Star Trek, and wouldn’t impress anyone. It joined a couple of other phones on the table, of varying ages, but all fairly standard.

Then José arrived. His phone is much slimmer, with a complete querty keyboard, and I swear I felt a tremor of envy run through the group. Looking around the table at all these phones of differing shapes and sizes, I was reminded of the business card scene from American Psycho.
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Every year around this time, there’s a day when I wake up and do a double take: has there been some kind of chemical attack over night to account for the fine yellow powder covering the whole village?

It lasts for a week or more and the dust gets everywhere. Cars are covered with it and it forms a scum round the edge of any puddle that happens to be around. Continue reading “fall-out”

of branches and bunches

Half the people in the village this morning were carrying bunches of flowers and greenery, which reminds me that it must be Domingo de Ramos – Palm Sunday.

Ramo and rama are words I can never get straight. Checking today in the on-line Diccionario de la Real Academia, I see that rama is a branch emerging from the tunk or main stem of a plant. Ramo, on the other hand, is a secondary level branch that emerges from the rama madre, or, perhaps, a rama cortada del árbol. If branches change sex the further they get from the trunk or once they’ve been cut from the tree, no wonder I’m confused.
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Swallowtail butterfly on lilac
but oh, so far from London!

At this time of year, my garden in the Gredos foothills makes me long for Kew, though I doubt very much that they have the same butterflies there.

(The Barrel Organ by Alfred Noyes can be read here.)


I’ve always found typical Spanish names a problem: who’d call their daughter Dolores, for example, given that it means “pains”? Or Sagrario, which, according to your reading, may be “shrine” or “monstrance”. Or Purificación or Inmaculada Concepción?

Of course these are traditional Catholic names which are also reflected in dedications of churches and church schools around the country.
Continue reading “inconceivable”