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מפרסם התגובה: Mervyn Henderson

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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@Oksana Jan 22

Thanks! I think, as Chris has inferred, that "lockdown" has to be the biggest. Experts reporting from all over the Spanish State and elsewhere even use that word in a sentence in Spanish.

They love to use that word in English just as much as Jamie Oliver likes to use "tortilla" or "paella" (with or without chorizo). But then, Jamie hasn't much choice, because both "Spanish omelette" or "Spanish rice + whatever [chicken, rabbit, shellfish, fish] dish" sound pretty lame.

... See more
Thanks! I think, as Chris has inferred, that "lockdown" has to be the biggest. Experts reporting from all over the Spanish State and elsewhere even use that word in a sentence in Spanish.

They love to use that word in English just as much as Jamie Oliver likes to use "tortilla" or "paella" (with or without chorizo). But then, Jamie hasn't much choice, because both "Spanish omelette" or "Spanish rice + whatever [chicken, rabbit, shellfish, fish] dish" sound pretty lame.

And, at the risk of notching up a 6 on the tominlondoning scale, the English language has also been blessed, or cursed, with the all-new verb "to social-distance". As in:

"Did you social-distance last night at the Dog and Badger, Margie?"

"Social-distance? Naaaaaaaaarh! Well, I kept my social distance with Kev behind the bins in the parking lot. I social-distanced him good and proper, Trace, but close up, knoworrimean, naaaa-aaaaaarrrrrrhh."
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expressisverbis
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Garden centres and their owners Jan 22

Rachel Fell wrote:
All sorts of work to be done in the garden in January (pruning, sowing, seed buying, etc.)! And they sell bird and pet food very often too, so they need to be open!

All readily available online or from supermarkets, though, so it strikes me as an odd exception.

And it’s not just me, as Welsh garden centres are all closed. Maybe Mr Notcutt jr is one of Boris's old school chums?

I’ve managed to live without going into our local garden centre for more than 20 years anyway, due to an admittedly irrational but still almost life-threatening aversion to the owner. He’s just such a smarmy obsequious git, always offering to carry “the lady’s” shopping and so on. Ooh, he needs a good slap.

And the owner of the garden centre in the next town is almost as bad. Constantly making noise. Whistling, rustling, jiggling, talking, humming. Aargh! I probably wouldn’t be so sensitive to this if he didn’t also have a track record of making my daughter cry by being so pushily and noisily competitive about his own daughter. And a full head of hair.

As for the owner of the garden centre in the other direction, well, I’m not sure it’s really worth the risk finding out just for the sake of a few tomatoes, a stunted cucumber and ten tons too many runner beans, do you?


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Garden Centre Inferiority Complex Jan 22

Chris, you do seem to be suffering from this well-known syndrome. But help is at hand. I've had a chat with the main man at our Bathroom Mirror subsidiary, and perhaps you could consider the following three questions:


1. Do you feel awkward when the man at the garden centre talks knowledgeably and endlessly about exotic plants, shrubs and trees you have never heard of?

2. Do you experience an uncontrollable inner rage when, in no particular context and for no par
... See more
Chris, you do seem to be suffering from this well-known syndrome. But help is at hand. I've had a chat with the main man at our Bathroom Mirror subsidiary, and perhaps you could consider the following three questions:


1. Do you feel awkward when the man at the garden centre talks knowledgeably and endlessly about exotic plants, shrubs and trees you have never heard of?

2. Do you experience an uncontrollable inner rage when, in no particular context and for no particular reason, he mentions his daughter's solo piano concerto at Jesus College Cambridge, attended by Prince Charles and Camilla, among other dignataries?

3. Does it irritate you when he runs his fingers through his hair and says casually: "Oh, I must get this dishevelled mess cut right back. The other day a lady even asked if it was for sale, fancy!"?


If you answered Yes to only one, then you're probably doing OK. If, on the other hand, you answered Yes to two or all three, then it's time to get help. If you like, I can have a word with our man.
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Inferior to a man who makes his living from charging 30p for a tomato seed? Jan 22

Well, yes. I ticked all three boxes. I am a hopeless case, a lost cause, a... a...

Oh, why does everything have to be in threes? The number of times I could list four or five things and have to throw away perfectly good ones, but the one time I can only think of two, do I get any credit, any leeway, any... oh ffs, and here are all my peers sitting in judgement, calls himself a writer, you know, not a translator, well that’s come back to bite him on the arse, butt, bottom, see, how
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Well, yes. I ticked all three boxes. I am a hopeless case, a lost cause, a... a...

Oh, why does everything have to be in threes? The number of times I could list four or five things and have to throw away perfectly good ones, but the one time I can only think of two, do I get any credit, any leeway, any... oh ffs, and here are all my peers sitting in judgement, calls himself a writer, you know, not a translator, well that’s come back to bite him on the arse, butt, bottom, see, how hard can it be, I always said he was a knob, perhaps he should quit while he’s ahead and go and do something more within his capabilities like run a shop selling plants and seeds and an unlikely assortment of seriously tacky sculptures, oh like Robert’s garden centre next to the Dog and Leek, oh yes, Robert, lovely man, always carries my tomato seeds to the car for me, such a gentleman, lovely hair too, oh and you should hear his daughter Myfanwy on the piano, like an angel she is, sorry, what we were we talking about?
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Myfanwy Jan 22

First of all, I hope for Myfanwy's sake that the name is pronounced Maria or Jenny or Angela, or something like that, otherwise she's condemned to a lifetime of sniggering outside Wales.

But it looks like she has to be nobbled somehow, Chris. Nothing too drastic or personal. Creep into the house at dead of night to cut the piano wires, maybe. As soon as they get that fixed, creep in again to lift up the lid and pour in Fairy liquid and sugar. Why Fairy liquid and sugar? No idea, but
... See more
First of all, I hope for Myfanwy's sake that the name is pronounced Maria or Jenny or Angela, or something like that, otherwise she's condemned to a lifetime of sniggering outside Wales.

But it looks like she has to be nobbled somehow, Chris. Nothing too drastic or personal. Creep into the house at dead of night to cut the piano wires, maybe. As soon as they get that fixed, creep in again to lift up the lid and pour in Fairy liquid and sugar. Why Fairy liquid and sugar? No idea, but it'll make one hell of a mess. In fact, throw in some flour too. As soon as they get that fixed, creep in again to wrench out a few of the keys. Etc.

Alternatively, could you ruin Robert's life somehow? Does he have a Dark Secret? Course he does. We all do. Get yourself kitted out with phone taps and cameras, the whole bit, and creep into the house at dead of night, bug the place, hack all the computers to be downloaded to yours, and spend the next month in a makeshift war room in your garage, obsessed with his every movement, phone call and e-mail. There's bound to be something somewhere. Once you find out what it is, start screwing with his mind, sending anonymous e-mails, letters, heavy breathing down the phone saying "I know your vile secret, Robert".

Come to think of it, you could just send the anonymous stuff and do the heavy breathing without the rest of it. He'll crack soon enough, get divorced, and/or leave town. Sorted.

[Edited at 2021-01-22 18:53 GMT]
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Relockdown Jan 25

We can't leave Bilbao again as of midnight last night. Or midnight this morning. Or both. Or whatever you call it. Midnight past? This midnight? Not that I was planning on leaving Bilbao or even do leave it very often, but they've introduced the no-moves-between-towns again, unless you have to work or whatever. I'm pretty sure the watering holes are closed too. Not that I give a badger's arse about that. As you might have read here recently, I'm browned off with having to queue for a seat in a b... See more
We can't leave Bilbao again as of midnight last night. Or midnight this morning. Or both. Or whatever you call it. Midnight past? This midnight? Not that I was planning on leaving Bilbao or even do leave it very often, but they've introduced the no-moves-between-towns again, unless you have to work or whatever. I'm pretty sure the watering holes are closed too. Not that I give a badger's arse about that. As you might have read here recently, I'm browned off with having to queue for a seat in a bar, and being told I can only be there for half an hour or so, too. The time limit has nothing to do with regulations, and more to do with an attempt to boost bums on seats and hence revenue. Bums, yes. Which reminds me of the Spanish expression I've already used on this thread at least once, vamos de culo, meaning we're buggered. I mean buggered as in we're in a bad place, of course, not the other thing, although the shafting concept could work there too. The more I think about it, "we're going arsewards" has potential as a translation too.

Talking of shafting. I'm getting a little tired of bars and restaurants whingeing about falling revenue up and down the land, though. It's not just their revenue that's falling, after all. I know of one case rather more close to home where a man who operates half a dozen bars in Bilbao is asking for his rent on two of them to be suspended. The authorities won't give them any money in compensation now, but the pressure is brought to bear on property owners. The little old lady who rents this bloke one of his bars (half a dozen bars, which have been going more than successfully for years and years) is now being pressured into lowering or even cancelling the rent. She, of course, as a hated property owner, isn't being offered any protection. One wonders why matey doesn't just shut it and dig into his savings from the money he's made with his exorbitant prices for pintxos and wine over all those years. Just saying. Of course, he'll come back at me with the jobs that are being lost because he can't afford to keep the two or three South Americans he pays shit wages to, and think of the knock-on effect on the economy.





[Edited at 2021-01-25 11:28 GMT]
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Rent boys and the great unwashed Jan 25

Mervyn Henderson wrote:
I know of one case rather more close to home where a man who owns half a dozen bars in Bilbao is asking for his rent on two of them to be suspended.

Call me a pedant, but I can’t help thinking that someone who pays rent on properties they own might genuinely be financially challenged...

But yes, the world is full of serial moaners. Farmers, nurses and teachers spring to mind. The ones with noisy unions.

Which isn’t to say they don’t have a case, but frankly we all have our problems.

Apparently freelance translators have it easier in lockdown as we’re already used to working from home and are a bunch of unwashed sociopaths anyway, living in our pyjamas and entirely happy with our own shadow for company.

Whereas I would argue that many of us live on the edge at the best of times, and are being hit especially hard by lockdowns that have robbed us of those last morsels of a social life.

Yes, working on the front line must be tough at the moment, but it does have the advantages of lots of human contact and a strong sense of purpose. I’d swap in a heartbeat.


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Operates Jan 25

OK, OK, a slip of the pen, or key, rather - now edited to "a man who operates half a dozen bars"

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Sneaky syringing Jan 26

More scandal up and down the land as it emerges that many more of the great and the good have been helping themselves to vaccines. In addition to mayors, health service bosses and uppity jobsworths various, it now transpires that the clergy have been snaffling doses too. And there I was thinking we were all equal. What are the clergy scared of, after all? What price all that faith? And anyway, you just can't beat that fully-comprehensive fire insurance of theirs.

But when you think
... See more
More scandal up and down the land as it emerges that many more of the great and the good have been helping themselves to vaccines. In addition to mayors, health service bosses and uppity jobsworths various, it now transpires that the clergy have been snaffling doses too. And there I was thinking we were all equal. What are the clergy scared of, after all? What price all that faith? And anyway, you just can't beat that fully-comprehensive fire insurance of theirs.

But when you think about it, what's the protocol beyond all those "high-priority" categories? A secret one, is my guess. Does anyone believe that heads of state and heads of government haven't already had theirs on the sly? Plus why stop there? might as well have the immediate family vaccinated too, while they're at it. Which I can kind of understand, at a pinch, but to quote Private Eye's dixit over many years, I think we should be told. Don't you? Doing it behind closed doors is more than a bit sneaky.

Some of those who were caught resigned, and others excused themselves saying "there were some doses left over", and others simply said "I was told by my service head or office manager or committee chairman or whatever, that I should do this, and I simply did what I was advised to do."

Right. It's always more pleasant to follow advice to your own personal benefit, though, isn't it? If the service head or office manager or committee chairman had said you should donate 1% of your huge pay package to the health service, or help out clearing snow and ice around inner-city Madrid (which was largely abandoned to its fate as all resources were diverted to the nicer parts of the centre during all the cafuffle not long ago), you'd have followed that advice too, would you?

Sometimes I think I'm right to be a cynical prat.

[Edited at 2021-01-26 09:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-01-26 09:55 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-01-26 09:57 GMT]
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Spares Jan 26

Mervyn Henderson wrote:
What are the clergy scared of, after all? What price all that faith? And anyway, you just can't beat that fully-comprehensive fire insurance of theirs.

Lol!

The Pfizer jab has a very short shelf-life once thawed, and apparently 10% no-shows for booked vaccination appointments is standard, so even when they overbook there can easily be some left over (including, presumably, the unexpected sixth dose in each vial).

And then there is the logistics of it. Random extra cases turning up unexpectedly or in the wrong place. And, here at least, flooding and snow issues making it hard to get the oldies to the vaccination centres.

Our surgery ended up with more than they could possibly inject into a depleted population of care home residents so they quickly rang round all the local wrinklies last minute and invited them over. Since most of them probably did a hip on the ice and froze to death en route, there would doubtless have been a handful of doses going spare at the end of the day as the clock counted down that were best not wasted. A quick text round to friends and family doesn't seem unreasonable at that point.

That said, I am getting the impression here that Spain is one massive den of corruption the likes of which Italy can only dream of, from royalty down (or should that be up?). Is there a single good man or woman left in Spain beyond your good self?


Mervyn Henderson
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Good people Jan 26

Oh, I'd be doing just the same as they are if I ever had the chance.

I mentioned personal benefits earlier. It's much more comfortable for me to whinge about how other people have the considerable edge and privileges I'll probably never have.

Plus, it helps me to think that I'm "someone else, someone good", to quote the late great Lou Reed.

[Edited at 2021-01-26 12:58 GMT]


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I wish I could bring you better news, and better days Jan 27

An "exemplary" country in the Covid-19 outbreak last year in March... now Portugal faces the worst days ever.
A request for international aid is under way, says the news.
Although it is not official, the president of the Portuguese Association of Intensive Care Physicians confirmed that "the request for help has already begun".
Portugal would have asked two European countries for nurses, intensive care doctors, equipment, and hospital places.
The newspaper "La Voz de Gali
... See more
An "exemplary" country in the Covid-19 outbreak last year in March... now Portugal faces the worst days ever.
A request for international aid is under way, says the news.
Although it is not official, the president of the Portuguese Association of Intensive Care Physicians confirmed that "the request for help has already begun".
Portugal would have asked two European countries for nurses, intensive care doctors, equipment, and hospital places.
The newspaper "La Voz de Galicia" announced that Portugal intends to transfer patients from the ICU in Viana do Castelo to hospitals in Vigo.
Patients from Lisbon are arriving at hospitals in Porto and Algarve, while we live the "imprisonment" in the hope of better days for the whole world.
If the lockdown lasts at least two months, we can back to "normality" before summer, in May, and not only in July, as predictions point to "a month already freed from the pandemic", said a Portuguese mathematician.
Can this be true?
Portugal is also envisaging the closure of borders.
And that's it, lock us all in a box with a lock!
This is the sad news we can see around here and all over the world.
And now, let's back to work, dressed in my "straitjacket" pyjamas... that's how I feel lately
I wish I could bring you better news, and better days for everyone



[Edited at 2021-01-27 11:50 GMT]
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Mervyn Henderson
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I remember. Jan 27

When Portugal was the shining example to everyone. There are a few countries like that, though. Germany was largely untouched by it for a long time, wasn't it?

Sorry to hear that, Sandra ... and I thought it was crappy over here. Which it is, but not as drastic.


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You're here, Exy Jan 27

expressisverbis wrote:

I wish I could bring you better news, and better days for everyone



[Edited at 2021-01-27 11:50 GMT]


The fact that you're here with us it's a wonderful thing in itself. Things may get worse before they get better, but get better they will. (I don't know if that's proper English. If it's not, I apologise.)


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Sounds OK ... Jan 27

... to me.

 
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