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Archive for November, 2006

Am I the only person I know who LOATHES with a deep and vengeful passion the fact that, like lemmings to the cliff, the whole world changes their clocks with religious monotony twice a year without ever fighting against the reality that this ritual freaks out thousands of families every year, twice a year, for life?

I HATE it. More children get killed immediately after the Winter clock change than at any other time because people don’t see them, and what would be wrong with enjoying the last of the afternoon sun after school …. WHY DO WE DO IT????? And don’t tell me it’s about the farmers, every farmer I have ever met gets up when he or she NEEDS to get up, not because GMT or British Summer Time said so.

As we drove yesterday afternoon in the dark rainy gloam to Teruel, I really FELT Winter here for the first time. It is a proper drive – 45 minutes of which 30 are along VERY Spanish mountain roads – beautiful in the Summer, when you can see, and rather HAIRY in the dark, when you can’t see three metres infront of your nose because there are no Cats Eyes on hairpin bends! What a wonderful invention Cats Eyes are, but I guess in a country as enormous as Spain, the idea of putting them on really dangerous roads would mean millions of the things and there isn’t the wealth to do it (arguably because, some people say, that the Government, Officials and the Estate Agents pocket it all – but I wouldn’t DARE be so contentious)!.

And we went all that way so I could buy knitting wool – rather cotton – to knit my son some sweaters to keep him from freezing solid in the imminent sub zero temperatures – BUT……. ALL THE SHOPS WERE SHUT! WHY?? A perfectly normal Saturday evening in Spain, and every single bleedin’ shop was shut! I was SO frustrated – all the diesel, sweaty hairpin bend palms and promises, and we couldn’t even buy a hot chocolate! HOW FRUSTRATING!

We then had to drive the 45 minutes back in pitch darkness and I actually found myself feeling really grateful – because I am being gently eased into the reality that in about 2 months I will be facing some of my worst fears – driving in snow and ice consistently for 6-7 weeks! So the moral for me?

Get USED TO IT GIRL!!!

Have you visited my website yet? www.amanda-hamilton.com

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Okay I need to have a grump here. Why? Spain’s rural education system – that’s why ………… The education system here in the mountains absolutely stinks. If you want to give your child a chance here to succeed and have any sense of their own brilliance, my honest view is that you need to be prepared to put a LOT of behind the scenes effort in. Sometimes I feel like opening a separate blog on the subject to offend the Powers that Be sufficiently that SOMETHING GETS DONE to support these bored out of their wits children. My own son is learning everything in a foreign language, and so for now he is hugely stretched, but it is a living tragedy that while in the UK and other parts of Europe we have the likes of Montessori and Steiner inspiration, here, we have a system staffed by gum chewing unshaven litter bugs setting the example for the next generation. Boo Hiss – watch this space as I do not intend to take it lying down!

They don’t even have a system for teaching children to read like the Oxford Learning Tree – my son’s first book, which his teacher suggested he chose himself, had words such as Haciendonos in it- for a 6 year old who had never read a Spanish book!! Very not funny!

However, moving onto more practical things, I have British friends here who are in the process of moving from their Masia in the Mountains – QUITE the most beautiful position – too isolated for a single Mum but an absolute Dream for an adventurous, land loving family. We spent the entire morning on All Saints Day heaving tons of gravel to finish off an outside walled garden – hence lots of blisters all round!. On a clear day, you can see the Mediterranean from their house ……….. It makes me yearn for my very own home with VIEWS and a parcel of land around it. I am almost certain that I won’t be buying it here as prices are British in their expensiveness – but then in fairness, Rubielos is a BREATHTAKINGLY beautiful village. Fortunately there is still a more reasonable market in the villages around Rubielos de Mora, but greed is becoming a known entity now …

Read my Blog about my ruin in Fuentes to get an idea of the prices – oh, and the greed!

Don’t forget to check out my website – http://www.amanda-hamilton.com

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