November 2, 2008


Got back from the Spanish lesson yesterday fuming.

About Jesús, our teacher, and racism. And all the sympathy I’d begun to feel for his current property predicament immediately evaporated.

Let me explain. Jesús bought off-plan an apartment in a nearby block intending to move in on its scheduled completion next summer - and marry his long-term girlfriend at the same time. However, the property crash in Spain has put an end to the one - if not the other.

At the beginning of the class, he’d been moaning about his doomed purchase and equally doomed marriage plans. And had everyone nodding their heads in sympathy. But the mood abruptly changed - at least for me - when he asked us in turn to give a short talk (in fractured Spanish) about a sport we enjoyed.

No sooner had the word ‘motor racing’ been mentioned than Jesús launched into a tirade about Lewis Hamilton and this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix. His words, such as I could follow, weren’t abusive per se but certainly ‘dripping with poison’ as George Osborne so delicately described Lord Mandelson’s.

The rest of the class - mainly Germans with a sprinkling of Ukrainians and Icelanders - were again nodding their heads, this time in agreement. The former irked at the likelihood of Schumacher’s legacy being vanquished by a British champion, the latter simply glad to agree about something other than the failing economy of their respective homelands.

And so the class continued. And I managed to hold my tongue. Just...

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