Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu

A question to my brothers. Is this

over the top?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


As a result of one of those encounters in the pub where ideas are thrown around that seem great at the time, we did not have a lie-in this morning. We got up at six thirty, and spent the day on the poetry train (sorry, let's give this a real fanfare: we spent the day on... The Poetry Train) to Soria and back to go and see the tomb of Leonor, child-bride of Antonio Machado, everybody's favourite poet. Soria has: a dead holm oak, subject of Machado's great poem 'To a Dead Holm Oak';

a great deal of elaborate funerary art;

graveyard avenues lined with cypresses;

a greyish red squirrel;

a monument to Jesus Christ of the Sacred Heart which isn't quite as flamboyant as the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio, being as it is half a kilometre out of the city and only twenty foot tall;

a bust of Antonio Machado;

a sweet old woman who told us that they must have had lots of material left over when they made the bust, because his head is far too big and much more bulbous ('bulboso') than any real human head;

the Instituto Antonio Machado, where Machado taught French in the early years of the twentieth century (Soria at that point being so small that his largest class was eight students),

and a delicatessen selling tinned coxcombs.

This was all so exciting that I have nothing to say about the Cuatro Torres Business Area, which we saw from the train on the way there, and on the way back, so I will let Wikipedia tell you for me.


We've been to couple of poetry readings recently. In the way of these things, they were given by our friends: Sofía Rhei

and Raúl Campoy.

Sofía's reading was in the Casa de Galicia, but not in Galician. Raúl's was in a more suitably jazzy venue.

Konstantin von Freytag-Loringhoven (1978- )

Shown here enjoying manteca colorá in our local bar. He was here for six hours, and it was our duty to feed him as much blood and pig-fat as possible.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mari Trini (Maria Trinidad Perez Miravete (1947-2009)

The 'Spanish Edith Piaf'. An obituary here. In a first for this blog, I've managed to put in a video.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I'd forgotten that we also saw the creepy so-called bear at the zoo as well. It smelt of Olbas Oil.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lucius Iunius Moderatus Columella (c.AD 4-70)

If you follow this link, you'll find out more about him, including the fact that his uncle, Marcus Columella, was an instrumental figure in the development of sheep-breeding. Apparently, he made experiments with the African sheep which had been brought over to the Empire for gladiatorial contests. Coincidentally, I watched Gladiator last night, and it made little or no mention of the public demand for to-the-death man vs. sheep fights.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fernando Rey (1917-1994)

More on him here.

Current Favourite Sentence

Omnis ager aut quadratus, aut longus, aut cuneatus, aut triquetrus, aut rotundus, aut etiam semicirculi vel arcus, nonnumquam etiam plurium angulorum formam exhibet.

Every field is either square, or long, or wedge-shaped, or triangular, or round, or else semicircular or arc-shaped, or sometimes may be polygonal.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Current Favourite Sentences

Now isn't it true, Dr. Phelps, that almost any twenty women - unselected, you know - would weigh about a ton? And surely there's no particular reason why just human shells should weigh as much as that. We are not lobsters.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Great Success!

Marian gave a reading in the Oeste Celeste café in front of an appreciative audience (and one impassioned screaming fan). It was very good.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Madrid Zoo-Aquarium Redux

My brother Tom came to surprise me at the weekend. I was surprised, and took him to the zoo. We saw: the glowing jellyfish again;

the rhinoceros's pedicure again,

and, for the first time, the reptile house. This toad is not cast in bronze.