Short one today.
I know, I always say that, but this time – really!
The vegetarian daughter is coming home from college this evening, so I’m busy brewing up a concoction of borlotti beans (otherwise known as cranberry beans, apparently) and whatever vegetables and bits I can find from the neglected veg compartment at the bottom of our fridge.
Which means stopping now and then to check on progress.
(Fine so far – the diced onions, celery, carrots, potato and garlic are frying gently away in olive oil…)
Also I have an online lesson at thirteen.
Which reminds me, we have a student from the US in the Italian school at the moment (more than one, actually), who was telling me he can’t get the hang of the twenty-four hour clock that we use here in Europe.
Deduct twelve, I told him, it’s easy.
My lesson’s at one, for example.
Centigrade is a pain, too, he said.
I can’t even SPELL Fahrenheit, let alone do the conversion.
I had to look it up. Too many ‘h’s, and the final syllable breaks the rule my mum taught me:
“I before E, except after C!”
Not if you’re a Dutch-German-Polish physicist, it seems.
(Lid off, strained in the stock I made earlier from the vegetable scraps, handful of rock salt, lid on.)
And by the way, I’m listening to Radio P1’s ‘Plånboken’ as I write (Wednesday morning consumer affairs program on Swedish radio), so I’m REALLY multi-tasking today!
So where was I?
It doesn’t help that I have to keep stopping to wipe my nose – spring is starting here in Bologna and I’m allergic to pollen. Hence, I’ve been sneezing since Monday.
The other day, I wrote a poem about being allergic – as it has absolutely nothing to do with learning Italian, I’ll copy and paste it at the end, so you can ignore it.
(Lid off, quick stir, the stock has yet to come to the boil, so I’ve another ten minutes, until the potato cubes have had the chance to mush a little, before putting the beans in.)
Anyway, after last week’s frenzy, things have calmed right down.
I’m getting virtually no emails, which I suppose is nice for a change.
Lucia, our teaching manager, wrote yesterday to say the club has around three hundred and fifty active online students (paying for one-to-one lessons with a club teacher).
She’s pleased, especially as over half of the people who took a free trial lesson back in Feb. have signed up for more.
Well done, Lucia.
Well done to the club teachers (both old and new).
And well done to those of you who have found the time, money and courage to give it a try!
There’ll be another Free Trial Lesson offer in…
Sorry it’s not sooner.
And another ‘20% off’ promo the first week of July.
(Bloody stock’s still not boiling…)
Now, what about the ‘wild west’?
The Internet – it’s not an original thought.
If you run a website, you’ll already know.
If you don’t, you may not.
Despite what you hear about the E.U. getting on everyone’s tits, it’s totally lawless.
For example, someone in Russia (according to their IP address) has set up some code that automatically copies the ENTIRE CLUB WEBSITE on to their own website.
It’s on a different domain, but other than that it’s completely identical – all three thousand pages of it.
They’re probably copying each word I write, in real time.
And their hosting company, which rents out the servers where the copied site is stored, won’t do a thing about it.
They don’t have to, they say.
Russia didn’t sign up to the agreement that would otherwise oblige them to.
Well, there’s a surprise.
Get yourself a Russian lawyer and take it through the Russian courts, they suggest.
By which time, of course, the whole kit and caboodle will have shifted to a server in the next room and I’ll have to start again.
The ‘wild east’ then.
(Finally! The beans go back in, add a tin of toms – too much liquid, though, so I’ll leave the lid off while I finish this.)
And each day I have to deal with, what, maybe five hundred spam comments?
Plus spam ebook reviews, spam emails trying to sell me dodgy services based in India or Russia, and so on.
Now, let’s be clear.
Comments are welcome, especially disagreeable ones, as a good row cheers everyone up!
However, if your objective is to sell me a molecule that will improve my potency, and especially if your automated spam sending thingy sends a hundred such comments each day (it knows who it is…), then give me a break, will you?
Nothing gets published until it’s been manually approved. Which takes time. But I have time, remember? I’m half-unemployed.
I swear, nothing with suspicious links will be published. Ever!
If you want to recommend Duolingo or similar, and include a link to their site, that’ll get through.
But if you are Duo himself, shamelessly out to promote your own site and seeking ‘backlinks’ (to fool Google into thinking your site is more popular than ours), you will be discovered!
Actually, the owl doesn’t do this.
He’s very ethical, as are we.
But I’ll be watching!
(Turned the gas up to speed things up, as time really is running out…)
I’m off to wash the dishes (blowing your nose with wet rubber gloves on is awkward, I can assure you.)
Have you listened to Tuesday’s EasyItalianNews.com broadcast, yet?
Go do it now.
It’s free, so no excuses.
Here’s the link: https://easyitaliannews.com/
The poem that was originally published in this space has been moved to https://onlinepoem.com/allergic/