Sunday, April 03, 2011

Never let it said that I am closed to new experiences.  I am now an experienced flashmob member!

Today saw Castelldefels’ participation in an international day of the book for kids.  My friend Caroline is involved in Inter-Libros (a charity which recycles books in Spanish and sends them to needy parts of Chile) and the cash raised in the fiesta is going to fund the rebuilding of a library in Chile.
A part of the celebrations was to be the first flashmob in Castelldefels.  This was done in a very decorous fashion.  The signal for the start was the striking of the midday bell of the church in the centre of Castelldefels.  On the stage which had been set up in front of the church one person started reading a children’s story in Catalan over the loudspeaker system, then it was taken up in English, then in French and lastly in Spanish.  Or possibly the Spanish and Catalan may have been in the other order.  One has to be politically sensitive in these parts!

When all four languages had had their amplified seconds of prominence it was the turn of the rest of us.

Throughout the crowds around the stalls which made up the fiesta “sleepers” were stationed who on a given sign from the stage opened books of their own and started reading in whatever language was most congenial.

We were told to read in a “loud voice” and I took them at their word and read the opening page of “The House at Pooh Corner” in a characteristically stentorian voice.  In English.

Two English ladies came up to me afterwards and asked about the book I had read from.  When I said it was Winnie-the-Pooh one of them said that it was a classic and one of her favourites and, when she saw my Methuen paperback (3s 6d or 17½p) she exclaimed about the “Classic” edition – which I suppose means that it used Shepard’s illustrations rather than the new better known American versions!

It was actually quite a moving experience reading in public in a confusion of voices and it was especially gratifying to see the number of books in raised hands when we were all asked to show our books at the end of the short reading.

I couldn’t stay very long in the fiesta because The Family was due to arrive.  And arrive they did and almost immediately we went out to lunch in our “local” restaurant by the sea.  Although the menu del dia is substantially more expensive at the weekends (€17) than it is during the week (€13) I have to say that the meal that I had was well worth it.

The arroz caldoso is a rice based fish stew which was eventful and delicious.  I had merluza marinera which turned out to be a large lump of slightly smoked white fish with two very large prawns and a fish sauce.  To finish off I had tarta whisky – which is an odd choice for me, as I don’t like whisky, but I enjoy the flavour in this particular cake which has whisky and cream poured over it.

Wine, water, bread and gaseosa were all included and I did not begrudge the extra euro for the coffee with ice at the end of the meal.

Tomorrow sees the unbearably long slog which is going to be the last two weeks of this impossibly interminable term.  At least after Monday we will be down to single figures of working days!

Time passes.

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