Showing posts from April, 2008

Colourful coffins

Stickers on coffins
There's nothing cheerful about a coffin - until you cover it with colourful pictures. The idea of decorating caskets is helping some people come to terms with that only sombre certainty we all have in life.
When Mary Tomes dies, she doesn't want a plain wooden box.
"I want a bright yellow coffin, one that says something about me. One brown box doesn't fit all. It doesn't show your personality or your sense of humour. My husband told me not to be so daft."
That was four years ago. Now Mary, a 62-year-old grandmother, not only has a sunshine-yellow coffin for when she meets her maker, but runs Colourful Coffins in Oxford, which prints customised paper wraps to stick onto caskets.
Her initially reluctant husband Kevin, 58, is chief designer, and the pair use their skills as printers to turn 3,000 caskets into visual representations of those inside.
"We've had the last of the Dambusters, who had a plaque on the top with bouncing

The daily commute

What if we all walked to work?

It's Walk to Work Day, but what would Britain be like if we all passed up road and rail for the humble pavement? Steve Tomkins ponders the potential consequences of letting our legs do all the work.

Planes, trains and automobiles. Most people's commute to work features at least one of these forms of transport - possibly all three for some. But it doesn't have to be this way, according to the pedestrian campaign group Living Streets - organisers of Walk to Work Day.
Our belief in motorised transport is somewhatdented when you consider that, in central London, for example, there are 109 journeys between Tube stations that are quicker to walk (taking into account time spent waiting for trains).
Campaigners say if you'd walked to work today it would have helped (1) improve congestion, parking, air quality, health, noise and the local economy - apparently pedestrians are "more likely to shop locally".
You might think you live too …

Balloon flight gone wrong!

Source: You Tube Associated Press
Priest Missing On Helium Balloon Flight

A daredevil priest who used hundreds of helium balloons to try to smash a flying record has gone missing off the coast of Brazil

Rescuers in helicopters and fishing boats are searching off the southern coast of Santa Catarina state, where pieces of balloons were found.

Rev Adelir Antonio de Carli, 41, took off from the city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.

He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port officials.

Carli had a GPS device, a satellite phone, and is said to be an experienced skydiver.

The Roman Catholic cleric wanted to break a 19-hour balloon flying record to raise money for a spiritual rest stop for truckers in Paranagua.

A video showed the priest soaring into the air to cheers from a crowd below.

He soared to 20,000ft and then descended to about 8,200ft for his planned flight to the city of Dourados, 465 miles north-w…

Woody Allen row

Spanish language row over Allen film
Woody Allen's latest film, starring Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem, will not be shown in Spanish in the strongly nationalist region of Catalonia.

Audiences can see Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which is due out* in Spain in September, in the original English-language version with Catalan subtitles or dubbed into Catalan.

Jaume Roures, co-producer and head of the powerful media company Mediapro, told Spanish radio station RAC-1 the film will not be shown in Spanish, despite the fact that Spanish is the mother tongue of two of its stars, Penélope Cruz and Bardem.

Elsewhere in Spain, it will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles.

The move is sure to anger some who will see it as politically motivated in a region which sees itself as apart from Spain.

A linguistic law fines companies who do not show signs in Catalan.

The regional government recently announced a €7.4m (£5.9m) film fund to promote Catalan cinema. It also gave a grant of €15,0…

Noisy Spain goes quiet for a minute

Spain is well known as beingone of the noisiest countries of the world, so it will be interesting to see just how successful the International No Noise Day proves to be on Wednesday.
To celebrate the date the Spanish Acoustic Society (SEA), together with the Ministries for Housing and the Environment has called a minute’s silence at noon. It will be held at the Tres Olivos College in Madrid, where there are specialist facilities for those with hearing difficulties.
The slogan for the day is ‘Let’s take care of the acoustic environment’, and the hope is that for a minute at least we can appreciate the sound of silence which can surround us.

Source: typicallyspanish

I live in a neighbourhood that is often afflicted by noise - Malasaña. I live near 2May Square and you can just about hear the noise of people chatting at the outdoor cafés but it doesn't bother me.
What I really can't stand are the musicians who play their instruments in the square in search of money. Whenever ther…

Pregnant Defence Minister - Women Pics

They say that "a picture speaks a thousand words".Now and again, I'm going to post some pics here as a basis for discussion and expressing opinions.

You can also read an article related to one of the pics by clicking on the title to this post: "Pregnant Defence Minister - Women Pics"
Remember that you can always read the original article by clicking on the main title to the post.

Fake Divorce

Fake divorce to get school places
Spanish family court judges believe parents are divorcing to increase their children's chances of getting into their preferred state school.
Spain is certainly not the only country where the government-funded school system is regularly under the spotlight over concerns about the quality of the education and the need to improve standards. Finding a good state school can be very difficult for parents.
But Spanish parents are going to extreme lengths to get their children into the school of their choice.
Family Court Judges in the city of Seville have noticed that the divorce rate has increased significantly and suspect that parents are faking divorce to help get their children into local schools.
A change in the law, effective from the beginning of last year, means a child receives extra points if they live in a single parent home.
In most cases, the children in this category have either divorced or officially separated parents.
Other types of f…

Spanish grannies

70% of Spanish grandmothers care for young

Lack of state care in Spain for children under three is forcing grandparents to forget the idea of a relaxing retirement and has led to the rise of the so-called super abuela or "super granny".

A government report yesterday says 70% of Spanish women over the age of 65 care for their grandchildren and 22% of them do so every day.

Of the 1.5 million children under the age of three in Spain, 45% have a place in a state or private playschool. The rest are cared for by family members, usually grandparents.

The report by the Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (Imserso) warns that many grandmothers may say they enjoy the experience of looking after grandchildren but in fact put themselves under extra stress.

Anna Freixas, an education specialist at the University of Cordoba, said grandmothers who looked after their grandchildren did not help the bigger problem of sexual inequality. "When grandmothers try to help out, they ar…

Quite good, much better, one of the best!

Compare the three "things" above using a variety of the comparative and superlative structures that you have studied. Italy has Sicily and Sardinia but Greece has far more islands.I think Greece is slightly bigger than Ireland but it certainly isn't as big as Italy.The Italian cuisine is by far the best of the three.Ireland used to be much poorer than it is now. The economy has grown stronger and stronger and is one of the most succesful in Europe. Of the three above, it has the least unemployment.The Greek lifestyle is very different from the Irish one but is quite similar to the Italian one.The Greeks have the same currency as the Italians and Irish.

Spared speeding ban

Muslim is spared a speeding ban so he can drive between his two wives

When it comes to avoiding a ban for speeding, the courts hear every excuse in the book.

But yesterday one motorist offered what must be a unique reason why he should keep his licence.

Mohammed Anwar said a ban would make it difficult to commute between his two wives and fulfil his matrimonial duties.

His lawyer told a Scottish court the Muslim restaurant owner has one wife in Motherwell and another in Glasgow - he is allowed up to four under his religion - and sleeps with them on alternate nights.

He also needed his driving licence to run his restaurant in Falkirk, Stirlingshire.

Airdrie Sheriff Court had heard that Anwar was caught driving at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Glasgow, fast enough to qualify for instant disqualification.

Anwar admitted the offence, but Sheriff John C. Morris accepted his plea not to be banned and allowed him to keep his licence.

Instead, he was fined £200 and given six penalty points.

Lorna …

Big Ben turns 150

Source: Wikipedia (Diliff)
Britain's oldest foundry marks the day it made Big Ben 150 years ago
One of Britain's last bell foundriesmarked the 150th anniversary Thursday of its biggest creation - the massive bell whose bongs sound the hour at the Houses of Parliament in London.
It was made by (1) the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which also made Philadelphia's Liberty Bell and the Bell of Hope, given to New York by(1) Londoners on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The 15-ton Big Ben was cast on April 10, 1858, at the foundry in east London, although it was another year before it first rang out.
Big Ben has given its name to one of London's most famous landmarks - Parliament's 19th-century neo-Gothic clock tower, designed by (1) Charles Barry.
The tower is popularly known (1) as Big Ben, although the name actually refers only to the Great Bell inside.
"We are going to (2) toast Big Ben's health at the end of the working day," said M…

Spanish Omelette

Source: Wikipedia (LLuisaNunez) Recipe
Prepare a large bowl with 1kg of thinly sliced potatoes and sprinkle plenty salt over them and work it down to the bottom of the bowl.
In a large frying pan heat about ½ cm of olive oil. When it's very hot add the potatoes from the bowl and start to fry them. Be sure to keep stirring them so that they don't stick or start to brown.
After about 5 minutes add half an onion to the potatoes. This should be chopped very fine. Stir the contents of the frying pan then cover it.
Now break 8 large eggs into a bowl and add a pinch of salt and beat them.
Keep checking the frying pan to be sure that the potatoes aren't turning brown. Turn down the heat if necessary.
Keep stirring.
Once the potatoes break easily under the touch of the stirring spoon they are ready. So now add the potato/onion mix to the bowl of beaten eggs. Drain away any excess that's left in the frying pan oil at this point.
Mix the potato and egg mixtures together well wh…

Pizza Fortune

Source: Wikipedia (ElfQrin)

US man gets $2.6m for domain name
A US man has sold the domain name for $2.6m (£1.3m) - after maintaining (1) the site for just $20 a year since 1994.

Chris Clark, 43, accepted the offer from an anonymous bidder after a week-long online auction.
"It's crazy, it's just crazy," Mr Clark, who lives in North Potomac, Maryland, was quoted as saying by the Baltimore Sun newspaper.
"It will make a significant difference in my life, for sure," he added.
Mr Clark registered the domain name in 1994, when the world wide web was just starting.
He had hoped that would help to get a contract with a pizza firm for his consulting company.
He sold his business in 2000, but kept paying(2) the $20 annual fees for maintaining the domain, which he also used to sell advertisements (UK/US pron.).
In January, Mr Clark decided to sell it after hearing(1) that another domain - - was sold for $3m in 2006.

"I though…

April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day is the equivalent of the Day of the Holy Innocents (28th Dec) in Spain. Read below about a famous hoax that appeared on British television screens more than 50 years ago.
1957: BBC fools the nation
The BBC has received a mixed reaction to a spoofdocumentary broadcast this evening about spaghetti crops in Switzerland.
The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest.
It showed women carefully pluckingstrands of spaghetti from a tree andlaying them in the sun to dry.
But some viewers failed to see the funny side of the broadcast and criticised the BBC for airing the item on what is supposed to be a serious factual programme.
Others, however, were so intrigued they wanted to find out where they could purchase their very own spaghetti bush.
Exotic delicacy
Spaghetti is not a widely-eaten food in the UK and is considered by many as an exotic…