The time has come ..

.. the Walrus said, ‘To talk of many things ..’

I’ve managed ships and cabbages in the last post, so let’s move on to sealing wax and kings (not sure I can fit in the shoes) with the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713.

First up, a little context, and a rush through some Gibraltarian history.

Archaeological remains have shown that Neanderthals inhabited Gibraltar at least 100,000 years ago, and the Rock was possibly the last place of refuge for them, with other remains being found dating back to around 24-28,000 years ago. More on every pic about our archaeology.

The first modern occupation of Gibraltar, though, is regarded to have started from the eighth century (AD or whatever it is currently called) when it was conquered by Moslems in 711. Berber general Tarik ibn Ziyad landed in Gib to begin his conquest of southern Spain. The Rock became known as the Mountain of Tarik – Jebel Tarik – and the current day name Gibraltar comes from that.

Gibraltar was happily Moslem for many years, as was Andalucia, and we have the Moorish castle and remains of Moorish baths in the basement of our city museum. But in 1309, the Spanish decided to get their sticky little mitts on it, the 1500 inhabitants were allowed to leave for North Africa and Spain held it until 1333 when they surrendered to a Moslem siege.

As part of the reconquest of (Moslem) Spain, Gibraltar was taken by Spain in 1462 and remained part of Spain until 1704.

Note then, to get this into perspective, Gibraltar was Moslem for more than 700 years, and Spanish for less than 250.

So, how did England (it was before the Union of Great Britain in 1707) come into it? The short answer is the Spanish war of succession following the death of Charles II, the last of the Spanish Hapsburgs, who left no direct heir.

Back in the early eighteenth century things were no different to now, countries were hungry for power, territory, money – the usual really.

The main players at the time were England, France, Spain, Austria/Prussia/Hanover, the Netherlands and Portugal. This is a time of big empire building, particularly in the North Americas, and while all these countries were grappling for power in Europe, they were fighting for ownership and possession in the Americas and the Caribbean too.

Plus ça change?

Needless to state, France and England weren’t very pally, and when Spanish King Charles II died leaving his relative by marriage, Philip of (Anjou) France as his heir, England wasn’t prepared to see a potential union between two of the biggest powers in Europe. Neither was the Netherlands. So they found a different candidate for the Spanish throne, Archduke Charles, also a Hapsburg but from the northern (ie Austria/Prussia/Hanover) branch of the family. Portugal joined in with the Dutch and the English.

It’s slightly more complicated than that, but you get the general idea, and the war lasted from 1701 to 1714, although various countries continued in a state of war long after that.

So this is the background to why an Anglo-Dutch fleet took Gibraltar from the Spanish in 1704 in the early years of the war.

Towards the end of the war, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, although it is in effect a number of treaties relating to all the various participants and different provisions eg some trading ones, slavery for example.

While the main provision of the treaty was to ratify Philip as king of Spain and for him to renounce all claims to the French crown, there were numerous articles where the countries swapped bits of ground around. Including Gibraltar. And interestingly Britain gained Minorca too, but we didn’t hang onto that one too long.

So, here is the bottom line. In 1713, through the Treaty of Utrecht, Spain ceded Gibraltar to Great Britain in perpetuity, ie for ever. Later in 1729, Britain’s right to Gibraltar (and Port Mahon in Minorca) were repeated in the Treaty of Sevilla.

Perpetuity however, wasn’t on the Spanish agenda, (still isn’t), and so they besieged the citadel of Gib in 1727, and again with a joint French force in 1779. This Great Siege lasted for three and a half years – Gib stuck it out, or rather the British forces did. The war finally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1784. And the reason for that war, incidentally, was a trade war regarding the Americas.

As I said, power, territory, money.

So that’s the background and the reason why Gibraltar is British and has been for more than 300 years. Longer than it was Spanish, although not as long as it was Moslem.

Let’s get up to date with a laugh at a few journalistic blunders. I’ll start with my favourite, one of, or the oldest newspaper in the world, depending on whose claims you believe, our very own Gibraltar Chronicle, first published in 1801, and hopefully their standard of journalism was slightly better then. These days it rivals the Grauniad in terms of errors.

The Spanish cross-border workers association Citypeg has apologised to the Gibraltar Government over claims of discrimination it made last December. The claims led to Employment Minister Joe Bossano and the Gibraltar Joinery and Building Society issuing libel proceedings against Citypeg’s president, Francisco Ponce.

Unless I have something wrong, GJBS is a construction firm not a building society, Gibraltar Joinery and Building Services, I believe. Either way, I won’t be rushing to their offices to invest my money.

And in a story about the Royal Marines running to the top of the Rock, here we have a nice little error, regarding dates. Those of you who have paid attention to this history lesson will remember that Gibraltar was taken from the Spanish in 1704. Not 1702. Fine proof-reading there, Chron. And lack of historical knowledge/walking around with eyes shut. It’s not as though there aren’t flags all over the place proclaiming Gib’s tercentenary with the dates 1704-2004.

The Royal Marines were founded in 1664 and were instrumental in leading the capture of The Rock for the British in 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession; hence the only battle honour which adorns their caps is the legend ‘Gibraltar’. Next year they celebrate their 350 years and it is fitting that they should commemorate the anniversary back on ‘their’ Rock where it all began – in aid of Royal Marine and Gibraltar charities.

Moving onto British/international newspapers, nice little gaffe from the FT (Financial Times – the pink pages). I used to like the FT and thought it was a decent paper.

Our Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, had a letter published in the FT correcting the hopeless journalism, written apparently, in a leader column (aka editorial). His letter was restrained in my opinion.

(quote from the Chron which at least can manage to criticise other newspapers accurately)

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo this week wrote to the Financial Times after the respected financial daily made a glaring error about Gibraltar in an editorial column centred on Argentina.

“To be fair, the UK does not insist that Gibraltar islanders attend talks with the Spanish,” the FT said. 

“Then again, Spain has not elevated Gibraltar to the centre point of its foreign policy.”

Let’s deal with these one by one:

1) Gibraltar is NOT an island. The Falklands are islands. Gibraltar is a peninsula stuck on the end of Spain (and happily dominating the entrance to the Mediterranean – just thought I would add that one). Writing about the Falkland Islanders and then calling Gibraltarians Gibraltar Islanders because you are comparing the two is the sloppiest of journalism. And this from a leading international newspaper. Appalling. Equally as bad as a Gib Chron reporter getting the date of the Anglo-Dutch victory wrong.

Don’t they have atlases any more in newspaper rooms? Or alert news editors, sub editors with an iota of general knowledge?

2) Some sleazy deals were being done between the UK and Spain when Jack Straw was kicking around back in 2002 and Peter Caruana was Chief Minister of Gibraltar. But that was more than ten years ago. Perhaps the FT reporter isn’t aware our government has changed, we have a new Chief Minister, and the government is putting the interests of Gibraltarians before political deals.

Similarly the UK government has changed too. And as Picardo wrote in the FT:

“Successive British Foreign Secretaries have insisted that they will not engage bilaterally with Spain on Gibraltar issues, referring their counterparts to the Trilateral Process for Dialogue in which the UK, Spain and Gibraltar have agreed to discuss all matters of mutual interest except sovereignty.

“In addition, the UK has long agreed that it will not engage in talks about Gibraltar’s sovereignty with Spain unless the people of Gibraltar wish such talks to be commenced.

“Rightly, the UK is therefore clearly on record setting out that it is not going to engage bilaterally with Spain on the future of our homeland.”

[Another pedantic journalistic point. Someone on the Chron obviously hasn’t learned how to use quotation marks. I’ve changed them on the above quotation, but when you open a quote, you put the marks at the beginning of each par. You only add them to the end par when you close the quote. I always remember that one because I got it wrong when I first started on a newspaper.]

3) Spain hasn’t elevated Gib to the centre point of its foreign policy. Does Spain have a foreign policy I ask myself? Does Spain have any policies at all apart from corruption, funding banks, continuing to employ dubious executives and chief officials in top positions, and stamping its foot and blustering about Gibraltar?

Meanwhile, I pointed out to my partner these appalling examples of journalism. He rolled his eyes, and said, ‘People aren’t what they were, they’ve been dumbed down.’

‘Down down, deeper and down,’ I sang, launching into a rendition of Status Quo at 7.12 am. It wasn’t popular.

Note, more posts to follow on the Treaty of Utrecht, and Spanish claims, border incidents, and some more on the comparison between Argentina and Spain, and the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar (not an island).

Key dates:

Falklands referendum on sovereignty: March 10 and 11 2013

Tercentenary of Treaty of Utrecht: April 11 2013


Credits: Andrew in Hong Kong for his witty take-off on my last post in the comments.

And Lewis Carroll for the original.


46 comments on “The time has come ..

    • I have so many readers from different countries and different backgrounds who all keep patiently reading about the spats between Gib and Spain that I thought I really needed to provide some background.

      It’s interesting that Britain gained Gib via a different war but probably saw the strategic value even back then.

      Sloppy journalism gets up my nose. Hey, I make errors but I’m not getting paid for writing my blog.


  1. Interesting – I enjoyed reading about a period of history that never really featured in my studies. After 17th century Spain and the Empire I pressed fast forward all the way to the French Revolution!


    • I’ve covered most European/Brit history but hitting the 18th century and I’m lost. I know we did Juana la Loca, and I think Charles II but I suspect my A level European history stopped dead at 1700!

      My British history has a similar gap, 1650-1840 didn’t really exist at school. And as for world history? The world was Britain when I studied history …

      I quite enjoyed digging around in this. I was really trying to answer a simple question without getting too complex – why did Gib end up British?


        • While people say they like to read about history, I know fine well they don’t want to read a boring university essay on the ins and outs of the Spanish war of succession. And that Bavaria dropped out and Savoy swapped sides, blah blah. And that some of northern Spain allied with the northern Hapsburgs (Asturias, Catalunya and Navarre, but I may be wrong on those). Irrelevant for the purposes of my post.

          It would have been easier to write an essay answering the question – ‘What was the rationale for the Spanish war of succession, and who were the eventual gainers (if any?) and the resulting international implications?’ Or some such crap.

          Passport to Pimlico was good. Ealing comedies were good including Whisky Galore. But my fave, and one of my fave films ever was Kind Hearts and Coronets. Just superb. I digress :D but so did you!


  2. (Gotta love that red t shirt)
    Location. Location. Location. Gibs got it.
    Enjoyed the historical background
    It is disturbing how bad the fact checking has gotten in newpapers/media – you have to wonder how bad it is going to get? (If the reading/education level in the US is any prediction, we’re in big trouble)


    • I’ve used the T shirt before which you may remember, but it fitted with the post :)

      Location x 3, you said it. Vulnerable to sieges, but if it can withstand them, then impregnable.

      I enjoyed finding the historical background because it wasn’t so simple as England steals Gib from Spain, have to look at the overall context of world power games at the time.

      A UK journalist on a prestigious paper getting simple facts wrong? OK, so they know stuff all about Gibraltar (hello, do some research, hardly difficult with the internet at your fingertips), but local Gib reporters getting basic facts wrong? Bad news, so to speak.


  3. I think the topic we are dancing around is the general falling standards of education across the western world. When I was at school we had GCE O Levels as well as GCSE exams, and a C in the latter was regarded the same as an O Level pass. Today I think that has to be an A at GCSE.

    A friend of mine’s son is doing a legal based degree, is in year 3 and is predicted to get a 1st class degree. When he cites journals he described them as the “sauce” of his quotation, well he did before I pulled him up on it. He does the same with others words that sound the same, which of course are never picked up by the spell checker.

    In these days of electronic submission of work, one can submit an essay to a whole raft of people to review, in this lad’s case that includes a published author, so many of his grammatical eccentricities are removed along the way. In my day, you submitted on paper, so any changes effectively meant re-writing the whole thing.

    The BRIC group of countries seem much more focussed (well not so much Russia) on education and in 50 years time will be the economic powerhouses, whilst the economic standards of certainly Europe will slip.


    • I didn’t even realise they were falling :( I just wondered why I keep seeing so much rubbish everywhere, and badly researched (if at all) information.

      I did O levels, I don’t think we had CSEs at our school, thought GCSEs came in later. But I did get one O level when it was still numbers too :)

      We had friends visiting us, well, former neighbours in Spain. The youngest daughter was in first or second year of GCSE Spanish. ‘Qué hora es?’ she said. Is that ‘What’s the time in Spanish?’ well yes sweetheart, but you might need a bit more than that to pass an exam. Or maybe not! She looked quite pleased with herself.

      Sauce?!!!! I would just black mark that straightaway. But aren’t computers the problem? I find myself making spelling errors I would never make because I am thinking of sounds not words. Bizarre.

      Both my degrees were done on paper, although we did use the internet (very basically) for some of my MBA modules. I think I would insist any degree exams should be done by hand, and I would consider extending that to essays and assignments too :D

      After all, if we did it, why can’t they?

      I don’t know how good – or bad – the BRIC educational standards are. I am impressed with the spoken english of all eastern europeans that I meet. They seem to be really fast learners at spoken English. But, who knows?

      Bring back grammar schools say I, and not all this silly new educational systems that have nothing to show in terms of results. * Jumps off soapbox *


      • Students from Brazil and China seem to be funding the UK University system right now, and have better written English than many of the local talent.

        Was it CSEs and GCEs back then, its all a bit hazy. One of my neighbour’s kids was telling me you are allowed to take in a notepad to your Spanish GCSE exam with up to 50 Spanish words written on it and their English translation. Apparently the teacher can help you choose the words!!.


        • Ten years ago an English neighbour was telling me about her daughter’s science A level…some of the questions were in the form of multiple choice….
          The mind boggled then and still does now.


        • I had a couple of friends who would write words on their wrist/hands for exams. No idea why they did as they were bright enough anyway, we were all in the top stream for Latin and French, I suspect it was for the hell of it.

          OK! I am stunned with the notepad. Unbelievable. If I was doing that, I’d be doing some past tenses of irregular verbs. But by the sound of it, they are probably all writing in the present tense anyway.


    • Neither did I really. A bit of knowledge about the Spanish Hapsburgs from school, but Gibraltar doesn’t really feature highly on anyone’s school history curriculum so I felt a quick summary was in order for everyone. Me included!


  4. I’d just been reading about the siege of Gibraltar…when the floating batteries carrying the storm troops caught fire….
    I have a feeling that we had to learn the exchanges of territory in the various treaties while at school…with the inevitable result that I now can’t remember any of them.

    inaccurate reporting, lack of fact checking, an ignorance of English usage which makes for equivocal headlines…modern newspapers make me despair.

    But those who work in the media are products of an education system which seems to have failed spectacularly to equip youngsters to be able to express themselves accurately.


    • Gosh, we all know we are getting old when we start criticising the youth of today. But hell’s teeth, half of them aren’t even young! They are just bloody incompetent.

      And it is nothing new. I got sick of being treated like a proof reader checking peoples’ board papers for our health authority meetings because they were too idle to check for their own errors. They got paid more than me anyway. So I refused to re-write their crap.

      I wasn’t too happy about having to cover up PR disasters because people didn’t know enough about their own specific area either. And these were people more or less my age with a similar education.

      Dread to think if the younger generations are really so bad as is being said. Possibly so. I read something (no idea where) justifying text speak as an equally valid form of communication compared with any other media. I think I will leave that for a separate rant.

      Perhaps if the media chose to employ oldies still there wouldn’t be so many problems?

      I learned about some treaties for O level history, and like you, can’t remember a single one of them. Still, have internet, can find a quick summary, and who cares if it is accurate or not? No-one else seems to :(


      • I have a friend who takes his turn as admissions tutor for students wishing to study law…he has been tearing his hair out for the last twenty odd years at the lowering of standards.

        Oh yes…and bring back grammar schools…the only way for a working class child to get on and so deliberately destroyed.

        And while I think of it, anything involving Jack Straw has always had a whiff of the unsavoury since his Student Union days.

        Stumps off muttering…


        • Did you read Blu’s comment above about writing sauce – bechamel? tomato? moutarde? beurre au citron? hollandaise? etc etc etc – instead of source. (law again). Honestly, I would fail someone for that, unless they had dyslexia.

          My parents both went to grammar school, in fact I think most of their siblings did too, although most had to leave early to go to work, but still, they made the grade and got what education they could. I had better shut up on this as it is a whole nother post, poss for Clouds rather than here.. I went to a poshish school anyway, direct grant, but at least I got a free place from the trustees :)

          I’m trying to think of national politician who isn’t unsavoury. although a couple of local councillors I worked with were ok. But get to national politics, hmmm.

          So good to hear from someone equally as grumpy though :)


          • I’m loving these gems you are feeding us! Having said that , I also find myself making similar mistakes with words that sound the same, obviously thinking the words in my head and then writing down the wrong spelling for the sound. Strange.

            But that’s not quite the same as sheer bad spelling/misunderstanding words. Said student seems to have a problem with ourses/auces?


    • Thanks Harry. I didn’t even add any views, just thought a quick summary might be helpful for readers near and far, and far and wide. I like the Spanish to be honest – those who I know. I don’t like their governments of whatever party, and I certainly don’t like some of the vitriol that is spewed over the internet about Gibraltar which is totally abusive. But that is for later. Talk about sheer racism and vicious hatred.

      Part of the point of my post was to say, nothing is simple. Is it ever? Gib became British because of a lot of complex issues. (Well, power and land-grabbing were two of them). But it has been British for more than 300 years, so why the hell change if people don’t want to?


  5. I’m actually starting to catch on, and undertsand what I read re Gib history, first read through… whooo ;)
    I also [finally] realised the significance of Gibraltar location and economy wise for the Spanish. Even if the Spanish desired to take GIb, could they? Britain certainly would be across the board more powerful, just without the strategic border. Could Spain even afford to take on another country, both via military means (surely a pipedream) or even to govern it – they are having trouble affording to keep up what they’ve got.
    I can’t imagine the Gibraltarians would happily give up their sovereignty or their right to self-determination.
    As far as integrity of grammar, spelling, facts or information, I’m afraid they are a casualty of the modern and I.T. ages. Once it was prestigious to have an education and further learning but now it is quick, easy and available, and the values attached to the niceties are lessening.
    I had a laugh over the ‘sauce”… I would be so embarrassed.


    • I tend to think of my blog posts like newspaper articles, and one of the rules we were taught was always to summarise a follow-up story because you could never assume someone had read the first/second/whatever stories about any particular news item. And so as readers come and go, I tend to try and do a quick summary now and again about Gib’s history.

      This was more specific because I do want to do a series on the Treaty of Utrecht, explaining its significance and also what subsequent events have happened in terms of international ‘diplomacy’ for want of a more inaccurate word. I’ll probably do one a week which will probably easily take me up to April.

      The point about Spain taking over Gib is that it would just become a pimple on the arse end of Andalucía, whereas now it is a financial, gaming, shipping and tourist centre with normally a thriving construction industry (less so at the moment) and it employs thousands of Spanish workers every day.

      We have met Gibraltarians who – without a word of a lie, they are not joking – have referred to being rounded up by the Spanish and put in concentration camps. Frightening.

      I think the values attached to learning have decreased, look it up, rattle it out. As though everything on the internet is accurate! Balanced point of view? Different perspectives? OK, so my blog is an opinion blog, but for factual research I invariably look up a number of different sources (or do I mean sauces? – I’m not going to be able to resist using that one) to try and get some depth. Certainly for the Conspiracy Theory post about the death of the Polish prime minister, I looked up reams of different sites, and I was particularly trying to get the Polish viewpoint too.

      We all make mistakes. I printed 100 copies of the Millenium Plan instead of Millennium Plan. It would have been REALLY helpful if someone had mentioned it before I printed them however, given how many people saw the draft versions.

      And I managed to do a royal visit on a newspaper and described the Duke of somewhere as his father, well, you know how they all look the same!


  6. Synchronicity. Utrecht also affected Newfoundland and Labrador. Once in place, the French agreed to give up most of their rights here, which left the colony (look another one besides the Falklands) essentially British controlled. Huge changes, not all good; not all bad, but nonetheless significant for both NL and the rest of Canada too. Those changes involved hardship and, eventually compromise. Feelings still run a little high not necessarily about that choice but about the chain of events that eventually unfolded. Through it all, though, we managed to keep the peace and to put the common good ahead of individual gains. Let’s hope something similar happens in your chosen land.


    • Yes, I noticed the French/Canadian/British aspects. As part of the series of posts leading up to the April anniversary, I’d like to look at all the swapping around that went on but for this post I really wanted to point out why Gib ended up British.

      Have you done any history posts on yours? Would be interesting I think. It’s a good way to make history more meaningful I think, hearing about it from someone who lives there. As for anything happening here – the truth is no-one wants anything to happen, we are all perfectly content with the status quo.


  7. You did Gibraltar proud with all of the history corrected. Lots of work had to have gone into writing the post. It is very well written and easy to understand. The only complication of this post is that I can not remember who was who, what was what and,where was when! :-) I do remember that Gib was Moslem the longest and by luck of the draw or some smart rulers and politicans they had the foresight to make Great Britian owner of the land. I do hope I just wrote all of that correctly. I also understand that several wars were required to finally get down to the nitty gritty.

    Now I want to understand something else. You have been living in/on British territory so why in the name of Sam Hill can you not obtain your retirement benefits? Makes no sense to me at all.


    • I wanted to summarise a thousand years of history covering three different periods of ‘ownership’ – Moslem, Spanish, English/British – so that people could understand the basic issues. And yes, you got it right, Moslem longest, British in the middle and most recent, and Spanish for the shortest period of time.

      And not only did it become British through occupation/capture, but there was an internationally signed legal treaty in 1713. That’s basically the nuts and bolts of it.

      Gib is a British Overseas Territory, but like the Falklands we have our own government. It is not part of Great Britain for example, but it is part of the realm. There is a difference. Anyway, just because I am British doesn’t mean I have automatic rights to anything here for example. No more or less than any other European for example. Which is (sadly) the way Europe works.

      In theory, should I ever get a state pension I should be able to draw it here. But, the UK keeps increasing the pension age. That is one issue – like many countries, the UK can not fund state pensions at the rate it was doing so they changed the age rate. That was partly due to European Union rulings that said it was discriminatory to have a lower age (60) for women than for me (65). So it was convenient for the government to retrospectively change the pension age for women. They may well have upped it to 70 now for all I know, I try not to look at that sort of news as it is depressing and frustrating.

      A separate issue is if I wanted to go back to the UK, as far as I know I would have to wait before I could receive any state benefits or health care because I have been out of the country for some years. I say as far as I know because it’s just what I have read in newspapers from time to time. And like the pensions, it is depressing and not relevant right now, so I’m not wasting time on finding out the facts.

      So basically two different issues 1) the rights of British nationals when they return to the country eg access to free state health care and 2) the ever-increasing age of pension rights. They aren’t connected, only in as much as they both affect me!


  8. What I like about your blog is the quality of comments it generates. There are several themes above that are dear to my heart. I agree that educational standards are falling but I wonder whether teaching standards are part of the problem. Or is just the syllabus? I did O’ Levels and some were good and some not so good In terms of results. But I went on to study what I enjoyed not what I was best at. I opted for the courses the teachers made interesting. Your blog invites the reader to read on. History in my school was dry and boring. Languages were fun so I studied English language, English literature, French, Latin and Russian. I wish fervently today I had been better grounded in history and the sciences. I despair of people who can’t do mental arithmetic or use principle and principal correctly. A colleague of mine used to correct the spelling and grammar in bank loan applications. He was affectionately known as Conan the Grammarian. But why not? I used slide rules not calculators. Now I love my HP12C to bits but I revel in beating the supermarket cashiers to the total as they tap in half a dozen items and by the time they have finished I already have the exact cash ready for them smarty pants, aren’t I?

    I would teach history as I have picked it up as an ageing adult – reading biographies, studying geopolitics and the digging out the history behind the issues. It helps with world affairs, economics, everything. Life doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It’s like pulling on a thread and seeing the knowledge unravel before your eyes until you get to the end and think aha, so that’s what it’s all about. So I want to know more about the treaties please. Great post but lose one mark for spelling millennium incorrectly. See me after school.


      • I was reading a few other blogs today, and actually wondered how on earth I end up with interesting comments, and often very good discussions. One of the blogs I was reading had some decent comments, and the blog person had replied and asked questions to the commenters, but no-one had answered. I think you can try too hard. Or maybe it depends on the blog style.

        I dislike the asinine WordPress theory that you have to ask a question at the end of your blog post to get people to comment. How totally crass and simplistic. Either people want to comment or they don’t. I have more respect for my readers than to write ‘Hello, what do you think about the Spanish war of succession and today’s standards of journalism? Have you noticed any glaring errors recently in your local/national media?’ etc etc

        I also tend to try and write about more than one thing per post, because I have too much to say (!) but at least it gives people the opportunity to comment about whatever they choose – politics, history, education, journalism. There is usually a tenuous link between my topics on a post, or at least there is to me.

        I also try not to post every day, although I have to confess I do like to read some blogs that have a post daily. But it can be hard for people to catch up sometimes, if they have had a few days or a week or two off blogging. Especially as I write long posts. Long being relative of course.

        Also, regarding the comments, (and the quality thereof), I try not to leave a post that is getting lots of comments before writing another one. I switch off totally to a blog that has 70/100/200 comments. I think 30 or 40 is readable if you want to read the previous ones. My max has been 70s, followed by some 60s, and they were pretty much all posts about topical news items. The odd ones out were a shopping post (!!), and a cookery satire on WordPress freshly pressed posts – probably the post I have most enjoyed writing. You probably shouldn’t laugh at your own posts, but I still snigger whenever I re-read it.

        I’ve lost touch with education so I can’t say what the problem is. Part of me would blame politicians. Most of me would blame politicians mucking about with the education system all the time. Good teachers do make a difference though. My history teachers were all great. My father had a good history teacher. I had a great French teacher for two years, a terrible one for the next, and a decent one for the two O level years. I really lost a lot in the third year though with to me, a poor teacher.

        I also studied what I enjoyed at university, although I did fancy languages, but didn’t think I was good enough. Did French and Latin at school, toyed with German, but went for sciences instead. If Italian had been on offer, I would probably have gone for that though. Thought about law for university, but history won out.

        I think calculators should be banned in exams along with computers. Slide rules acceptable? Of course, although I would need a refresher course in how to use mine, whichever cupboard it is stashed away in. I do the supermarket thing too :) Did it at the vet’s clinic the other week too.

        Treaty posts will be planned ahead as I need to spend some time on the research, but I think they will be interesting because of the sheer impact and repercussions around the world. Need to add some fluffy posts inbetween. Pigs coming up next.

        Millennium? I think I lose a hundred marks for that as I printed 100 copies. I wonder if someone had it in for me by not mentioning it before they were printed?

        I did a short course in German at university too. Non-examable (what a non-word) fortunately.


        • You should probably write The Good Bloggers Guide. I know I post too much but writing and photography are what I enjoy. Its simply an outlet but sometimes my mind hits a wall and I take a day off. Or other commitments come betwixt and between. Today has been a less than enjoyable day, dealing with flat tyres and going shopping. Blogs are anything from escapism to intellectual stimulation. Today they are a refuge from the crap life throws at us. My good doctor no longer permits be to blast my liver with a liberal dose of red, white or any other colour of alcoholic tincture so a good blog is like a stiff G&T. When you post a good one, just remember it may have medicinal qualities too. Take 3 times a day after food. Finish the course of Blogadol Extra. Time to ‘boing’ again soon. Enjoy your siesta.


          • I have written top tips over on my Clouds blog! Not sure anyone ever pays any attention though :D

            I obviously like writing but as I have a split blog persona I can write differently on the different blogs. Suits me, and some of my readers too. Some prefer to read different types of blogs. And, I like to be mildly organised from time to time.

            I don’t think you do post too much. Always pleased to see a new post come up in my reader from you. Your assessment of blogging is spot-on. Yes, a relax and escapism, usually my early morning leisurely wake-up while I browse through the more interesting ones. Creative and interesting in terms of writing our own. and sometimes reading others.

            Not sure I have ever read a blog with a hit as powerful as a stiff G&T! I leave spirits alone anyway (my choice not a doctor’s) but I do drink wine and beer. I lied, I can think of three blogs that probably hit the G&T mark, but only in a strong way as they are all very hard-hitting.

            No idea what my readers think is a good blog post. It’s a bit of a pot-pourri on roughseas, but works well enough I think.

            Buenas noches. No siesta today. Busy busy busy.


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