What role does art play in the world? Is it just a middle-class indulgence? Or is it something more fundamental that feeds the soul in just as important a way as food for the stomach? Continue reading
There’s never enough time in December. It’s as though the whole month is given over to preparing for Christmas, cooking for Christmas, shopping for Christmas, pre-Christmas gatherings, visiting Christmas lights, visiting Christmas nativity scenes, and generally focussing around Christmas. Continue reading
Mostly, the whole experience of doing exams is almost forty years behind me. And the Spanish GCSE, taken in 2011 at Poole Adult Education Centre, was a walk in the park. But this DELE Spanish exam is no joke. It’s the internationally accepted standard, so they have to be rigorous. I wrote last week about the oral exam in “Testing Times”. Two days later we all returned to Málaca Institute for the main ordeal, three more exams – reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and writing. Continue reading
It was hard to remember exactly why I was doing this. Arriving in the patio, the place seemed full of Italian teenagers. The only two adults in view were their teachers. It seemed as though I would be the only “mature student” taking the DELE Spanish exam. One by one they emerged in varying states of nervous excitement and reported back on what the topic had been for their 15-minute oral exam.
The thing was, she didn’t ask for money. She asked for food. Well, technically, she asked for leftovers, scraps. What we had pushed aside. She politely waited in the shadows, almost out of sight, until we seemed to have finished. She stepped forward, apologised for interrupting our meal, and asked if we would allow her to eat the off-cuts and remnants on our plates. She hadn’t eaten for three days. Continue reading
Autumn has blown in with a vengeance. After a balmy October, the wind and the rains of November led to a rush to the wood suppliers, searching in bottom drawers for the warmer duvet, and random jabbing at the air-conditioning controls to work out how to change it to heating. Continue reading
The DVD was in a pretty case. La Oficina de Turismo had spent a fair bit. The little film sang the praises of this beautiful part of Spain – interesting architecture, good restaurants, a casino, pleasant hotels, an ancient fortress, sandy Mediterranean beaches, idyllic scenes. A great place for my birthday weekend. Continue reading