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Homage to Catalonia Part One. Emotional Catalan.

February 16, 2016


Nearly three and a half years ago, the boy (when he still self-identified as a very small boy) found himself nervous on his first day at a new school.  The girl he was sat next to had just arrived from Catalonia and knew hardly any English.  She was very frightened and unhappy that day and so the boy decided to put his own fears aside and befriend her, reassure her, and translate for her.  This was one of his better decisions, because it means that three and a half years later we have a place to stay in Catalonia.

Well, more specifically importantly, we have a wonderful family to stay with in Catalonia.  We can now say that some of our closest friends are Catalan.  And last weekend, we finally took them up on their repeated offer to come and visit.   And had a wonderful time obviously.

Reflections on this fascinating country deserve and demand far more than one little blog. But one thing that happened as a result of a friendship forged three and a half years ago, was that the boy and I, together with the girl’s father, found ourselves high up in the stands at Camp Nou to watch Barcelona play Celta Vigo just a couple of days ago – a memorable match that you may well have heard about.  Yes, it’s that match where Messi emulated Johann Cruyf and declined a penalty shot in favour of tapping the ball to Suarez who subsequently scored.  Yes.  The one everybody’s still talking about.  That’s the match we were at.

Now the boy had never before attended a big football match, and I was wondering a bit how well he would respond to the colourful crowd atmosphere.  This was the only part of the trip, in fact, when I felt that the boy’s ignorance of the Catalan language might in fact be a good thing.

This state of blessed linguistic ignorance-innocence was particularly welcome during the less eventful first half of the match.  In particular, during the award of the OTHER penalty – the one that was awarded to Celta Vigo – the one we’re NOT all still talking about.  If he’d been a bit more alert, the boy might have picked up on the following useful examples of conversational Catalan.



l’àrbitre és cec

L’àrbitre és un cabró

l’àrbitre pot anar a la merda



The gentleman in black (in this instance green) would do well to avail himself of more regular appointments with his optician.

I regret to report the rumour that the gentleman in black (in this instance green) may not be blessed with a mother for whom conjugal fidelity was a defining principle.

I for one would care not one jot should the gentleman in black (in this instance green) choose to violate himself in an improbable and insanitary fashion.



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