Carmen Gomez

Living close to heaven

The more I look to out hometown and see the infrastructure that has been, and is being laid down for our youth to prosper and thrive, makes me realize that they live in absolute heaven! When once our talented youth had to look to their families primarily to provide for them to go abroad and learn their craft; when many would have given anything to be able to go to university, or as is known today as Uni; let alone their preferred choice of university; this now is a thing of the past!

Nowadays that is not only possible, but paid for! When there were draconian laws locally forbidding locally born citizens who had worked and lived abroad to come back to a job; nowadays, not only does Government manage to juggle to give everyone a job, but when locals lose their jobs in the private sector through closure of banks etc. the unions then expect Government to employ each of them; and they do!

Yet after all this, the mentality is such, that instead of taking a moment to look back to what those of the past generation never had, and being grateful for what they have; instead we never seem to have enough and appear to be always on the look out for something to protest about!

The Spanish language

The new audiovisual council of Andalucía has said it wants to reduce the number of English words used by the Spanish media. Personally, I thought they were simply trying to emulate us; you know in “Yanito” fashion; in their desire to incorporate us in their fold. Curiously the number of British students learning the Spanish language in schools has actually dropped by 2% in the last five years. Yet they want to believe that Spanish is now the second language in the world.

More on the silly season

• The other evening we saw how workers where painting the zebra crossing on Waterport Road, by the corner of the “Bahia” bar; this whilst the traffic was closed on that through road. It looked pristine! But two days later, when we heard the road diggers at work we found to our surprise that the recently painted zebra crossing was being dug up! Strange is it not to have workers spend time painting a zebra crossing to then dig it up.

Maybe there was a lack of communication between departments.

All pain and little gain

Hats used to be part of every self respecting man’s daily attire; or at least this was the case up until the 1960`s. thank goodness because making hats was a dangerous business for those who worked in the trade, who were mostly men. They were known as “hatters” and they died at early ages, not going beyond forty five years. In fact, the phrase “mad as a hatter” was thought to derive from the mental and physical side effects hat makers endured from using mercury in their craft. Fur on hats in particular, was stuck together to form felt and brushed with mercury. Just inhaling it could go straight to the brain.

One of the first symptoms was neuromotor problems. Fashion was fraught with dangers as clothing was a fire hazard in those days. It is known that in 1861, Longfellow’s wife Fanny, died from severe burns when her dress caught fire. Even socks made with aniline dyes were harmful. Some of the most fashionable clothing of the day was made using chemicals, including arsenic, which today are considered too toxic to use.

When a worker in the fashion industry died of arsenic poisoning, this cartoon appeared in Punch; which was dedicated to the Dress-Mongers. It may be that this is a thing of the past and yet chemicals used in materials at present are incredibly damaging to out environment. Whilst the working conditions for those involved in the trade who are mostly women; who cut stitch and glue the shoes we wear; are denied any rights they may be entitled to; work overtime for no extra pay and are sexually harassed and at the end of the day what they get is a pittance.

Heavy metal knitting

The very first knitters began knitting garments out of necessity. With the craft believed to have begun in the 11th century. Knitting in Gibraltar is an extremely popular hobby and apart from those who like to knit garments for their loved ones, it has become; in our ever increasingly charitable nation; the thing to do to give away to those abroad in need of knitted clothing and baby blankets for new born babies, say.

On this subject what caught my attention recently was that there are countries hosting heavy metal knitting world championships, where needlework and music go hand in hand. This year there was the very first one held in Finland; with entrants from eight different countries, where knitting fanatics flexed their skills to the music of heavy metal bands. As the knitter takes part in the jam on stage, their balls of yarn go swishing through the air.