Friday, 25 November 2011


There are lots of good things about the internet. Mostly, in my opinion, that includes sharing information for free.

But there are an awful lot of bad things too. Truth is, I'm not sure what value it has added to my life. I managed well enough before.

Fax, 'phone, mail order worked fine.

But, let alone the abhorrent, pornographic, and violent garbage that is on the internet, there are also your average arguments.

I'm more than qualified to speak about this as I have argued with the whole world on the internet.

On forums, via Facebook, pms, and emails. Not on blogs as far as I can recall because I am a supreme dictator on my blogs and censor anything that I think is rubbish. Such power.

One of my - natch - ex-friends, described Facebook as the Work of the Devil. In a way she was right. But the truth is, it's not the (social - or anti-social) network site - whether FB or a forum - that is the problem, it's the online intimacy that develops between people who have never met. And may never meet. When there is a mix of dynamics where some meet and others don't, the situation gets even more complicated.

The reason I started this post was because I was saddened to read something on a FB wall. It was on the wall of one my friends (who I didn't meet) who died this year. Won't take a genius to work out who that was. I never fell out with her (!) and I respected her courage and strength. Wow! Was she tough.

There was a disagreement on that person's wall about posts after her death. And, all the points had merit, I didn't disagree with them. The bizarre thing about FB is that when someone has died, people go back to their wall and post, and say 'We miss you.' Or maybe they just go back to read, because you don't, or can't, just wipe out a lifetime with a flick of a key. Maybe people want to just look back and remember. Who knows? It's like a photo album, or reading through old letters or whatever.

To me, those pages should remain for what people want to say on there, if anything. People may want to leave messages to family, friends, and make commemorative posts. I have another friend who died this year, who I did meet. Her FB page is a peaceful place to visit. And that, to me, is how FB pages for our former friends should be.

If we want to spat about stuff on FB, there are other places to take it. Or even a link, but I really think it would be nice to leave the pages of all of our former friends as that peaceful place.

On FB, we all have our own walls, our own groups where we can share our hurt feelings. They are the best places to vent. Or maybe on our blogs.

And then, we take them down. Or at least I do. When someone has read my really fed up rant of the day, I can take it down and move on. Because taking it down shows you have put it behind you. To you, and to everyone else.

Arguing over the internet.

You see, sometimes we don't need to do it. I will share my golden PR rule for the zilliionth time, the one I often forget. Never argue with the stuff that doesn't merit it.

Because, arguing, gives that crap point credence. Leave it alone. There are different ways - and different places - to get your message across.

Hey - I always follow my own rules .....

Monday, 21 November 2011

Does your vote count?

Well, not much of a surprise but Spain seems to have gone for another right-wing government, yet again the Partido Popular (PP) is in power.

When we first moved to Spain, the PP was in charge under Jose Maria Aznar. But people didn't like the American alliance decision to invade Iraq, the horrific bombings in Madrid in 2004, and suddenly the PSOE (a left-wing party) was in power.

There are some things about the PSOE term that reminded me of the first idealistic terms of the Blair government in the UK. Not least, Zapatero was determined to make his cabinet equally balanced between women and men. How many other countries have ever done that?

He did pull the Spanish troops out of war zones that the local population did not want to support.

To remind you all, Zapatero's grandfather, who fought on the Republican side, was slain by Franco's soldiers during the first weeks of the war. Can you imagine living with that and not trying to do something about it?

Our neighbour's father was killed in the far north of Spain, in the prison in Oviedo, and she still cries on the anniversary of his death. After that, she spent her youth picking beans in the field. She still can't read and write. What a great legacy Franco.

Her husband's younger brother was killed aged 21. In a gunfire fight between - who knew who was who, and on what side? These memories continue on, but perhaps for not so much longer.

Just thought I would add a few points about the Civil War in case anyone hasn't heard about it.

But was it really Zapatero's fault that the world economy crashed and Spain's did too?

Come on Spaniards. The world is in a recession and has been for some time. Know why? Ever heard of American bankers?? Spain is a bit player in the world economy. Just like most of us.

The most surprising thing about this Spanish election though, is that the PSOE was kicked out of Andalucia. As most of us know, Andalucia is the home of poverty, peasants, subsistence agriculture, and communism. No longer it seems. It is now the home of people who don't believe the socialists can do anything for them and they need to look to the right-wing party.

Hell, there ain't no construction, there ain't no great house sales, there ain't no tourism, and there ain't much else tanpoco in Andalucia.

But, things are looking good for Spaniards because it seems that all those who voted for the PP now expect a job. Yeah, right.

Because to me, Rajoy's austerity measures don't sound like more jobs for anyone.

En sus suenos.

And next up, Gibraltar elections.

Oh and as a total sideline. I recite a tale from my rather capitalist/conservative/right wing parents.

They so loved it when a labour (ie left-wing) government was in power. Why? Because there was more employment, and more money to go around. So more money for people to spend with them.

You all vote right wing if you want. You will have no job, no money, and you have no conscience. Be it on your own head.

Not such a sideline. Think carefully before you vote in Gibraltar if you want a job.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Poets Day

As everyone knows, today is Poets Day.

No, this is not like World Awareness Day, Meditation Day, Ingrowing Toenail Day, Wear a Blue Ribbon in your hair to show solidarity with Oppressed Bankers in America Day, or any of those other days.

Because this, and every other Friday of the year is Poets Day.

I was sitting happily in our revamped civil service office in Notting Hill. It was Friday afternoon and not much was happening (fortunately). We'd dealt with the pesky anti-government reporters from the Observer and Saturday's edition of the Guardian, and no-one else was giving us any grief.

'Right then, I'm off,' said one of my colleagues. 'It's Poets Day.'

I looked up, interested. Colin was rather arty, into amateur dramatics, and had a nice posh plummy southern voice. Well spoken, is the phrase that comes to mind. Not something that us lasses from Yorkshire usually get labelled.

I wondered which particular poet he was talking about. Or was it a group of them? I started on the interrogation, which Colin - and everyone else - enjoyed immensely. He finally put me out of my misery.

Here in Gib, the mass exodus starts around noon. You can tell it's Friday because the car horns start tooting as people absolutely MUST leave the Rock as quickly as possible. I have no idea why there is this burning urge to get out of Gib (apart from people who live in Spain of course and want to go home) but the few roads we have are clogged.

The money exchange around the corner has a queue down the street - and if you get there too late they have invariably run out of euros. We never see anyone in there during the week, they seem to exist solely on the currency exchanges they make between noon and 3pm on Fridays.

Building sites close at 2 or 2.30pm. Construction workers can be seen falling into the pub for a quick one, at the exchange as most of them live in Spain, or just walking/cycling home across the frontier. A few even live in Gib.

After that peace descends on Gib. To me the weekend is the best time to be here just because it is so quiet. Half the shops close on Saturday because the proprietors are Jewish. No offices, banks or building societies open, and on Sunday, the only shops open on Main Street are the ones catering for tourists - selling perfume, tobacco, spirits, jewellery and electronics.

But when you don't work - Friday can be a stressful day. No really, I'm not joking.

You see, when it gets to Sunday evening, there is no gloomy 'It's Monday tomorrow' feeling. In fact, Monday is rather to be looked forward to, as everyone else has to go to work, but you do not. You remember having to drag yourself into that ghastly office - and revel in your freedom. So you don't do anything on Monday. Your reward for being chained to that desk for so many years. Tuesday is pretty similar, after all the week isn't even half way over yet.

But by Friday, you realise that you have done stuff all this week, and if you want to achieve anything more than sewing a button on, or ironing a few T-shirts, you need to get a move on. Especially as government offices close at lunchtime. The only thing that opens late on a Friday is the library which keeps going until 7.30pm. About the only place in Gib still open at that hour.

So when it gets to Friday, I have to do everything in a few hours that I have failed to do all week. And Friday should be a day for winding down and doing very little. After all, it is Poets Day.

Piss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday - in case you didn't know.

Monday, 14 November 2011

I want that dog/puppy/designer lifestyle :(

Today on Facebook (which I really try not to look at very often) - I saw a dog who looked just like mine.

It is the strangest feeling to look at a dog in a KILL shelter - THAT MEANS, IT WILL SOON BE DEAD IF NO-ONE ADOPTS/FOSTERS - who looks like yours.

You think to yourself, I rescued my dog, and for the last eight years, he has been safe. It could have been different for him.

You look at that other dog, and think, they may not get the chance.

Please people, put away your pedigree puppy aspirations and rescue a dog who maybe only has hours, let alone days to live.

Does that designer puppy really mean so much to you that you will condemn a different dog to death?

Because that puppy you buy, means one more dog, that no-one wants, will end up dead in a shelter (that isn't really a shelter at all - more of a staging post on the way to death).

Friday, 11 November 2011

Rubbish recycling?

Recycling - what? Plastic bags - or profits??

Sadly Morrisons in Gib has gone down the road of charging for plastic bags. I think they cost 2p and any proceeds (note - not profits) go towards local charities.

In fact, they tried this one on some years ago, but it failed miserably and free bags were re-introduced.

But aided and abetted by the likes of Eroski, Mercadona and Supersol (to name but three) supermarkets in nearby Spain, Morries has gone down the same road again.

Naturally this move is to help the environment by encouraging people to reuse their bags.

Hello, Morrisons (and every other supermarket under the sun). We DID recycle our plastic bags quite happily. 1) They got used in our rubbish bins and 2) they got used when we took out the dog.

It doesn't take Brain of Britain (and/or Gibraltar/Spain) to work out that no free bags from the supermarket means you have to acquire them from somewhere else. But where?

Sadly, we accepted the miserable fact that we might well have to buy some plastic bags. I picked up a bag of pedal bin liners. They cost £1.75.

We were standing at the check-out and I was gazing at 40 bags for £1.75 and doing the sums. The first thought was that 40 went into 175 more than four times - 4.375 to be exact.

So actually buying rubbish bin bags means paying more than twice the price of a previously free and now 2p carrier bag. Am I going to use any less bags for a) the rubbish bin and b) picking up after the dog? No. Is it going to cost me more? Yes.

There may well be people who got free carrier bags and chucked them in the bin. If so that was extremely silly of them. We did not.

This bright shiny environmental move to encourage recycling is going to make JSN difference in this household. Apart from costing us more.

Far be it from me to say kind things about the many tobacco smugglers who take their fags out of Gib and into Spain with more than the legally allowed limit - but at least when they take them out of the cartons and stash them in their cars/motorbikes - they throw away those lovely black bags.

We didn't buy the pedal bin liners. Just in case anyone was interested.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sexism at its best/worst

- depending upon your perspective.

I share with you this link. Wow! These men are so funny and sharp they are going to be cutting themselves on their pistons. Or some such similar piece of kit.

Land Rover Dating

PS I think I have sorted my blog problems. Next on the list, patriarchal society, sexism, misogyny, violence against women. Shouldn't take me too long to sort them too hopefully.

Dilemma dilemma - what to do??

I am going to have to do something with this blog.

All the old posts have just blurred into one huuuuuuuge paragraph.

Do I reformat each post individually?

Change templates with blogger?

Migrate the whole lot to wordpress?

Just move the popular ones?

Because this is the problem. When you are coming up first on a google search, or in single figures then you want people to have an easy read. And ploughing through one huge paragraph is not easy at all.

Any suggestions out there while I muse on this one??

Friday, 4 November 2011

Breast screening - do I? don't I?

The lovely blogger does not seem to want to let me separate my paragraphs with a gap so this post is available for viewing (complete with separated pars) on roughseas. I won't be closing this blog down as people do read previous posts when they are searching for info, but I'm unlikely to write again until it lets me choose a format I want. Blogging should be easy.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tick tock the clock goes back

And about time too.

I am not a lover of summertime at all. I see no reason for people to faff around with hours - so that there is an extra hour of daylight in the evening or some garbage like that. Just, why?

Personally, I like to get up when it is daylight, and go to bed when it is dark. Or even before it is dark in my case, being something of a Sleep Monster. So people tell me.

In fact, I don't mind getting up half an hour or so before it is daylight. Coffee, waking up slowly etc etc just about uses up that pesky half an hour.

But when it isn't daylight until after 8am - what on earth is one supposed to do for all those hours? (This is assuming a getting up time of somewhere between six and seven).

You can't go cycling, you can't go walking because it is too dark. Damn nuisance. I have gazed at the clocks and the calendar throughout October, waiting for that magical Sunday when it will be daylight again at 7am.

I always thought it was strange that people said it was a wonderful opportunity to have an extra hour in bed when the clocks went back. Because, as it is Sunday morning, most people can stay in bed as long as they want - in theory.

Winter hours were a nuisance in the UK I have to say, but that was because there was so little daylight. It didn't matter how you cut it, you went to work in the dark and came home in the dark. It was so depressing when it started to get dark after 3pm and you had no chance of going home for two or three hours.

But as I don't live in the UK, any more, that's now of no interest to me. At least here on the southern end of the Iberian peninsula we can look at daylight from approx 7am until 6pm during winter.

Back to Sunday when I was in Spain waiting for the clocks to tick tock backwards. We all woke up at the usual time. By which I mean everyone woke up at what would have been the same time had the clocks not gone backwards. And everyone got up.

I don't just mean us and the dog. The goatherders next door went to work - by the clock an hour earlier, but really it was just the same sort of hour they would normally have gone - about half an hour before it got daylight. The guy who drives tractors and ploughs all the local fields drove down the street a few minutes before daylight.

It doesn't matter to campo workers, and to a similar extent, to construction workers, what the clock says. People need daylight, so that's when they start. In fact I did wonder if people n the village have clocks at all.

And in summer it seems so irrelevant because everyone (except us) stays up in the dark nights because it is cooler. Andalucians are used to living outside in the dark.

So I shall enjoy the next six months of 'proper' time, and dread the arrival of summer time when I will be jet-lagged for at least a month due to the clocks going forward.

I thought I would look up something about summertime. I vaguely remembered it was introduced when I was a kid in the 60s/70s to combat the energy crisis. Wrong!!! I was obviously getting confused with the Harold Wilson experiment of staying on summertime all year in that period.

In fact summertime was first proposed in 1895. I was stunned to read that, I have to say. London-born Kiwi George Vernon Hudson apparently liked collecting insects and valued later daylight hours for this. Great. We all get our hours changed for someone to collect insects??

Hudson's proposals failed but meanwhile British builder and outdoorsman William Willett was cantering around on his horse in 1905 before breakfast and was horrified to discover how many lazy Londoners were asleep in the morning in broad daylight. Hello, Mr Willett. Those lazy Londoners may well have been knackered labourers who didn't have a horse to ride around on in the peaceful early morning and valued what little sleep time they could grab.

Nor did Mr Willett like having his evening round of golf interrupted by dusk. That really says it all doesn't it?

Anyway it wasn't collecting insects, lazy idle Londoners, or cutting short the evening's golf that brought about the introduction of summertime - it was the first world war. The Germans beat us to it in April 1916, with the Brits following a month later. Initially it began towards the end of May and ended at the beginning of October. Well. I think that would be an improvement if we have to have summertime at all.

It seems, reading Wiki, links here and here, that people have been messing around with the clocks for nearly a hundred years now. And the amount of studies carried out, to work out whether or not there is any financial saving, energy saving, reduced number of accidents, defies belief.

And guess what, yes, people are still faffing around introducing bills to change the hours this way and that. I would have thought the British government would have more important things to consider than messing around with an hour at the end or beginning of the day. How about homeless people? Unemployed people? Especially all those pensioners who won't have a pension until they are 70 - or whatever the ever-expanding goalpost is - and won't be able to get a job either? The list is endless but I bet most people wouldn't put daylight saving(s) at their top of priorities for the government's Must Do list.

Messers Hudson and Willett, you would not be on my Christmas card list (assuming that a) you were around and b) I even sent them). Truth is though, that reading the tedious history, it would have happened without entomologists and horse-riding golfers.