Killer Cows; a prostitute for Seal

It would seem that Mr Poole, recently attacked by a herd of cows, thinks it is ‘rare’ for this to happen.

Not so, I’m afraid, Mr Poole. True, unsuspecting dog owners/walkers should be made aware but I found it to be frequent. For all the dogs we have had, I was always wary when walking across a field where cows were and, absolutely when the field contained a group of young cows or cows with young.

I first became aware of this fact, probably, thirty years ago. They were, of course, not after you, but the dog. And the RSPCA are wrong when they say it is a large dog that can cause this. Nearly all our dogs have been bearded collies and they are not particularly large dogs.

After the first time it happened, I became nervous when crossing a field of cows. And there have been several times where we (the dog(s) and I) have had to make a run for it when they suddenly come charging from one end of the field towards you. Now, I’m not particularly frightened of cows. When I was a child, on my Uncle’s farm, I used to help with the milking and that included rounding the cows up. I learnt the way to make the cows frightened of you and not the other way around.

But when there is a dog in their field, no amount of action can change what appears to be a blood-lust. They want the dog and there is nothing to stop them I’ve tried. So yes, it’s fear; but tinged with respect for nature. In the end, the only thing to do was to keep the dog close by, walk quickly to the stile or gate and, if they did start to make a run towards you, run like hell.

Secondly, shamelessly, I wish to prostitute myself for Seal. Well, not the bloke, just the Best of album. Jack is giving away 10 of these albums. I’m hoping that his readership is not so great that there will be too much competition, but I suspect there will be. On the other hand, I don’t expect my site to generate much traffic for him, sorry Jack. BTW, I prefer his blog now that he has gone back to telling us about the trials and tribulations of his job. Although the posts regarding the news were good, this stuff is really interesting and why I read the site every day. So thanks Jack. I like the lined paper theme too. So name me, Jack but I don’t feel any shame!

What’s your job? Italian job status v English job titles

When I was teaching English I had some problems with work and jobs in particular. And, by that, I mean the translation of the meaning. As with other things the exact translation doesn’t always work. But, when I asked people ‘What’s your job?’ (a standard question with beginners), the reply, in Italian, was, invariably, Impiegato or Impiegata (depending on whether the reply was from a man or a woman) and this means employee or clerk.

Now, I couldn’t (and still can’t to some extent) quite get my head round this. Most people, when you ask what they do, reply with one of those answers. This is generally so, even when I’m listing to the radio and someone phones in. Well, I think, finally, I’ve got it! Whereas in the UK and the USA, job titles are really important (and change often), here, the status of your employment is the key.

So, if you have full-time employment, with a contract, you are, of course an Employee (Impiegato/a). And this is the most important thing. What you actually do is less important. And, when people ask me what I do and I reply that I am a Project Manager, this causes some consternation because a) it is in English and b) it doesn’t tell you my employment status. It doesn’t say whether I am a consultant, temporary or full-time, with contract.

And I have learnt, recently that there are two other stages to go to reach the ‘top’. First there is Quadro (Manager). This gives one all the rights of the Impiegato plus a little extra. One example, here, is the right not to clock in (see this post and this one).

There must be others, apart from the salary, but I am learning, slowly. The next level is Dirigente (Executive). Again, this gives more benefits (someone mentioned health cover for the whole family but I’m not sure that would apply where I work) but also you lose the rights (not to be sacked easily) that the Impiegato and Quadro have.

I guess it’s much like the UK – except for this fact that the job title is not so important.

I really could do much better English lessons now that I’ve been living and working here for longer!

Meetings, Bloody Italian Meetings (or at least, meetings which involve more than one Italian)

Many things here are the same, well, almost the same, as in the UK. We are, generally, not so different at all. But it’s the little differences that count. Some of those things are really nice and some are more than a little frustrating.

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Busking – who gets your money – the DJ or the Baroness?

Mantova, Saturday, 8th September.

We decide to have a drink at a bar. It’s very warm and we want to sit outside. As we walk towards the centre, we look up a side street, we see a bar with an empty table. It’s not an ideal position as there aren’t many people to watch walk by – it’s a quiet side street – and people-watching is one of our favourite pastimes. However, the beer’s the thing.

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There’s Moaning and there’s Moaning.

Mantova, Saturday, 8th September.

We are staying in Residence in Centro, in Mantova, having got kicked out of our previous place (more later). The room is a small flat with its own kitchenette (we can do our own coffee in the morning) and the bedroom on a kind of landing, up some creaky wooden steps. All very nice – except for one problem. The series of ‘flats’ are in a converted outbuilding. The way they have been built means that you can hear a pin drop about 3 ‘flats’ along (not quite, but you get the idea).

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