reflections on inflections

A Spanish friend was telling me about an email he’d received from his ex.

What I heard – Dijo que intente perdonar lo que pasó – was a lot different from what he actually said – Dijo que intenta perdonar…

I (mis)understood that she was asking him to try to forgive her, and thereby apparently taking responsibility for what happened, whereas in fact she was saying she was trying to forgive him, but laying the blame squarely at his door.
Continue reading “reflections on inflections”

dubbing down

Following on from the subject of subtitles, which I talked about in Words on a screen, must surely come the topic of dubbing.

Here in Spain, almost everything on TV is dubbed. One or two channels used to use “dual” where, if you had a stereo TV, you could listen to the original on one channel and to the Spanish version on the other. This was fun – with a stereo TV and headphones I could watch in English while my partner watched in Spanish – Continue reading “dubbing down”

words on a screen

Last week, Kristin Scott-Thomas appeared in a short video on the BBC website talking about her new film, I’ve Loved You So Long.

The film is in French, and the subject of subtitles was discussed:

Interviewer: …audiences in the English-speaking world have in the past tended to shun films with subtitles.
Kristin: Apparently this is changing: I’ve heard that people are less and less resistant to this simply because we’ve all got so used to text messages, visual messages everywhere, Continue reading “words on a screen”

autumn hai’ku

From among the fallen leaves, the wind
lifts a broken butterfly wing
and gives it flight.

autumn creeping from the inside out
autumn creeping from the inside out

autumn evenings

I was a bit ahead of myself when I said it was autumn on the 17th, as in fact the equinox didn’t happen till September 22nd. But there was an autumnal edge to the air last week, although it feels even more ‘edgy’ now the rains have started.

This limits my evenings spent writing under the vine but there will still be plenty of days ahead when it’s warm enough for an hour or two outside once I’ve finished in the studio for the day.

These three short pieces were all written under such circumstances, Continue reading “autumn evenings”

water, water everywhere

I’m in Madrid for a few days for meetings etc., and am horrified to be reminded just how much chaos the rain causes in what is, after all, a first world capital city.

I’d already seen the first major rains of the season which I wrote about in Change in the Weather, but it doesn’t get any better.

This morning the newspapers are full of the news: 130 km of traffic jams, the emergency services inundated with calls, and a woman killed after being swept away by the floods in Coslada. Continue reading “water, water everywhere”


After the rain
the tousled heads of corn;
a scarecrow army.

Castilla y León, 21/09/2008
Castilla y León, 21/09/2008