At Málaga airport they let me through the normal passport queue. A relief. The EU citizens’ queue. My first flight after THAT date. Exit day. The guy at the passport desk said we could continue to use that line all this year, apart from odd days where they would “trial” sending us through the other queue, just to check that it’ll all work smoothly. Landing at Bournemouth nothing had changed, but then it is only a portakabin-style arrivals hall, nothing very high-security. Continue reading
As I boarded I had a sneaky feeling it was a complete waste of time. No, that’s not fair. It’s always lovely to see friends in Dorset, and I was due a visit. Cabin bag laden with turrón (a cross between fudge and nougat, a Christmas essential in Spain) and packs of Spanish ham and cheese. Continue reading
There was a nurse on my flight home to Málaga. A Spanish nurse, working in a GP surgery in Dorset. British husband, dual-nationality totally bilingual daughter. We’d been chatting in the queue about the newish Ryanair rules requiring us to jam our handbags INSIDE our cabin bags, just for passing through the gate before boarding. ¡Qué pena! What a pain. She was flying to Spain for just a couple of days, to collect her daughter from the Spanish grandparents in Granada province to bring her back for the new school term. Continue reading
“Seen through Mediterranean eyes, we English are a cautious, fussy, elderly-minded people, living without large ideas among a litter of temporary expedients: far too taken up with the problems our muddle creates for us to have much faculty left for practising the arts of life.” Thus wrote Gerald Brenan on his return to England after the tour of Spain about which he wrote in “The Face of Spain” (1950). Spain had captivated him, as it does so many of us, yet he at least in part fell into the trap of seeing the host country through rose-tinted spectacles, and seeing only the negatives of the home nation. Continue reading
Got into the wrong side of the car once last week. Too used to getting into the left seat now.
Said “hola” to a stranger I passed on Shaftesbury’s narrow pavements. Fortunately it was misheard, and fortunately too, greeting strangers is still socially acceptable in Dorset villages. 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
I could have hugged her forever. I wanted to hold her until eternity, hold her safe, never to let anything bad happen, ever again. Continue reading