Friday, 20 August 2010

The Bull Turns

A couple of days ago a bull in Tafalla, Navarra, decided that he wasn't going to accept his fate in the local bullring without a fight.

Usually, a lone bull is speared by men on horses, spiked by banderilleros, and generally worn down, before being slowly tormented and bled to death by the "brave" matador.

This time, however, before any of these pathetic individuals had a chance to do their foul business, our hero bull took, as it were, the bull by its horns and, instead of waiting placidly on the sand of the arena, jumped over the surrounding barriers and attacked the spectators. These bloodthirsty heroes scattered in frightened frenzy, as the bull charged into them, though he was unfortunately hampered by the terracing of the seats, so only managed to injure some forty onlookers and send a few to hospital; of those, only two were injured well enough to have to remain there. Amazingly, one of these was a ten-year-old child. Who on earth takes a ten-year-old to a degrading spectacle of blood-letting and torture? The parents must be mad.

Sadly, the brave but disoriented bull lost its footing on the concrete terracing and became jammed betweem that and a wall, giving some of the spectators the opportunity to first tie him down and then cut his throat to ensure that he would slowly bleed to death. Meanwhile, guards with tranquiliser guns stood by to let the mob continue its evil revenge on the brave bull. No attemt was made to humanely subdue the animal or to control the blood-lust of the mob.

Once bled to death, the bull was unceremoniously hoisted away by crane. At least he died with the sweet taste of revenge against the morons who continue to support the cruel and barbaric activity of bullfighting.

Well done that bull!

¡Viva el toro!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 16 August 2010

In Bed with iPad

A couple of days ago, my back went.

The thing is, Elise had a small operation on her left hand last Wednesday—a CTS problem, not atypical for women of her age—so I was doing the dusting on Saturday morning. Actually, I always do the dusting. It's a task that was allotted to me by Upper Command when we arrived in Spain just over four years ago, and one that I have yet to be relieved of. Anyway, that paints the picture of the domestic situation.

Elise heard a click; I felt a pain; Elise said, "That clicked;" I thought, "¥$€**#!," and shortly after was lying flat in bed.

It was probably a small compression fracture. I've had them before, so know the feeling (horrible) and what to do. In fact, there's not a great deal that can be done: just lie flat in bed with the legs sightly raised. It then only hurts when you move or breathe deeply. Pain-killers help, of corse, especially for those times when nature calls and movement becomes a necessity.

So, what do you do when you have to lie flat in bed for a few days?

I used to read, but it can be rather monotonous to spend hour after hour with the same book, and having a large selection of books within non-moving reach is impractical. Chess and Backgammon are out, unless magnetic boards and a willing partner can be found. Boggle offers the same restrictins, plus the added difficulty of writing when lying flat. There's music, either through a bedside set (difficulties of manipulating the controls from a prone position), or through an mp3 player (another piece of equipment to locate amongst the books, playing-boards, crossword puzzles, and sundry other past-time equipment overflowing the bedside table).

Nope, none of these, yet all of them at the same time: an iPad.

Wonderful! Dead easy to operate from the prone position, the iPad offers me a whole library of books, a plethora of word games, access to the Web, communication via email, music (my own collection or through online radio), and numerous other diversions.

The iPad is much more convenient than all the books etc. on the bedside table and spread over the bed itself. It is also far better than a laptop, being not only lighter, but also lacking the encumbrance of a laptop's physical keyboar. Instead, the virtual keyboard of the iPad is a joy to use.

Here you are, Apple, a new advertising slogan for you.

Go to bed with an iPad!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Play It Cool!

No, this entry has nothing to do with the 1962 film starring Billy Fury, also called Play It Cool! Pity, really, as Billy was one of the few really good British pop singers at the time, far better than the overrated Cliff Richard and there were few other contenders, to be perfectly honest.

Instead, a few words about keeping cool in this part of the world at this time of the year. The thing is, we've been enjoying very high temperatures for a good few weeks. 30ºC in the shade is a daily occurrence and the temperature doesn't drop much at night, either. Because of this, a lot of people, especially those from the north, complain about not being able to keep cool, not being able to sleep, and so on.


Fact: this part of Spain is hot, very hot.

Fact: it's summer.

Fact: new houses are (or should be) equipped with air-conditioning (and older properties can be fitted, of course).

The problem is that many northerners seem to have no idea how to manage temperature. Instead of adjusting to Spanish norms, they maintain their northern ideas (so what's new? I hear you ask): front door open, windows open, blinds up. That might work when the temperature outside is 20ºC in the shade (if your lucky), but in this part of the world it only serves to heat up the inside of the house.

The simple guidelines: keep doors and windows closed to keep the heat of the day out (only keep them open very early in the morning); keep the blinds closed to keep the sunlight off the windows (if your house has a shady side, you can open the blinds there to allow light in, but keep the windows closed); keep your airco on during the day, set to 25ºC or 26ºC; turn the airco off when you are ready to go to sleep.

We keep just one airco unit running all day. It's in the living-room, so it is always comfortable there. About a half an hour to an hour before going to bed, we put the unit in the bedroom on. By the time we've finished reading, the room is comfortably cool; the unit can be switched off and we can sleep with no difficulty.

Running aircos is not cheap, but in the not-too-longrun, your airco costs will be less if you spend a bit more at first and buy aircos fitted with inverters.

Do not think that ceiling fans offer an alternative to air-conditioning units. Ceiling fans do not lower the temperature of a room. Quite an interesting article about ceiling fans can be read here.

Really, if you learn about and practice temperature management, you will have no cause to complain about the heat here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad