Blog posts

Only a game 26 May 2012

Watched the final of the Copa del Rey, Spain's big football knockout tournament, last night. It was between Barcelona and Athletic Club of Bilbao: Barcelona won, after a first twenty minutes of such... more

Ghosts 10 April 2012

Two images – what do they have in common, and how are they connected ? The top one was taken at Olerdola, in the mountains near where I live. Olerdola is an ancient hilltop fortified site, in... more

Found in translation 26 February 2012

My wife and I stumbled over this placard outside a terrace restaurant in the Rua Mayor in Salamanca – a rather pretentious place with imposingly elegant waiters. The English translations had obviously... more

On hating 3 February 2012

I enjoy hating. I don't like this idea at all, but I really can't pretend that it's not true. To be more precise, I enjoy hating at times. There have been periods in my life when I have had reasons... more

Pook's Perplex 27 January 2012

Fifteen years or so ago, George Pook, the then Head of Assessment at the IB, carried out an interesting experiment. He took 1000 English A1 exam scripts, and paid a couple of students to go through... more

Watching Carnage 5 January 2012

To El Prado to see 'Un diós slavaje', Polanski's latest film ... or 'Carnage', to give the English title … or 'Le Dieu du carnage', to give the title of the original play written in French by Yasmina... more

Virtual & face-to-face 17 December 2011

Just back from the English B Grade Award in Cardiff. A very successful Grade Award, in that everything was wrapped up efficiently within the time, and with no significant problems. There were no important... more

About calçots 17 November 2011

Valls is a small town inland from Tarragona, about 50 kilometres south west of us. It's a sleepy little place, but it seems to have contributed three major elements of Catalan culture – it is considered... more

Narrative & dialogue, image & phrase 29 October 2011

In the Op/Ed section of El Pais, they publish two first class cartoonists every day – Forges and El Roto. These two guys maintain an astonishingly high level, given that they produce witty, thought-provoking... more

Zombie chic 19 October 2011

RESORT TAKEN OVER BY ZOMBIES was a headline on the main TV news – with gripping visuals of pleasant streets swarming with pallid beings dripping gore. I should explain. My town, Sitges, runs a... more