BOXING DAY.

Like Christmas day, Boxing Day is a public holiday in Great Britain. It was traditionally a day when people would give gifts or money in “Christmas boxes” which were given on the day after Christmas.

In the past, many poor workers were required to work on Christmas Day and took the next day off to visit their families. They were given a Christmas box as they left.

During the 18th century, Lords and Ladies would put food leftover from Christmas day in boxes and give them to people that lived on their land.

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This month in history.

December, 16th, 1770: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was born in Bonn, Germany. He is widely considered the greatest orchestral composer who ever lived. He suffered from hearing loss begore he was 30 and by the time of his last (Ninth) symphony, he was completely deaf.

December 16th, 1775: British novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817) was born in Hampshire, England. She wrote love storis concerning the lives of gentry in rural England. Best Known for Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Emma.

December 21st, 1846: Anaesthesia was used for the first time in Britain during the operation at University College Hospital in London performed by Robert Liston, who amputated the leg of a sevant.

December 23th, 1888: Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear during a period of depression.

December 25th, 1066: William the Conqueror was crowned KIng of England after he had invaded England from France, defeated and killed King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, the marched on London.

December 25th, 1642: Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. He was a mathematician, scientist and author, best known for his work on the theory of gravitation.

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The Hobbit: an incredible trip

You have probably watched on TV these days that the third and last part of the movie titled The Hobbit is going to be released in Spain the next week. I know many of you are interested in reading fantasy novels but you do not dare to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy because you believe it is too extensive and exhausting. In this case, I highly recommend reading The Hobbit: a short and entertaining story that J.R. Tolkien wrote for children, but very enjoyable for adults too, and an excellent introduction to become familiar with The Lord of the Rings plot.

Here you have a short summary to encourage you to read it:
The Hobbit follows the quest of home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug. Bilbo’s journey takes him from rural surroundings into more sinister territory.The story is told in the form of an episodic quest, and most chapters introduce a specific creature, or type of creature, of Tolkien’s Wilderland. By accepting the disreputable, romantic, fey and adventurous sides of his nature and applying his wits and common sense, Bilbo gains a new level of maturity, competence and wisdom.The story reaches its climax in the Battle of the Five Armies, where many of the characters and creatures from earlier chapters re-emerge to engage in conflict. Personal growth and forms of heroism are central themes of the story.

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ARRUGAS, UN CÓMIC DIFERENTE

Arrugas narra la amistad entre Emilio y Miguel, dos ancianos recluidos en un geriátrico. Emilio, que acaba de llegar a la residencia en un estado inicial de Alzheimer, será ayudado por Miguel y otros compañeros para no acabar en la planta superior de la residencia, el temido piso de los asistidos -que es como llaman allí a los desahuciados-. Su alocado plan tiñe de comedia y ternura el tedioso día a día de los protagonistas.
Su autor, Paco Roca, consiguió con esta obra el Premio nacional del cómic en 2008 y ha sido traducida al francés, italiano, catalán, japonés…
Es una historia conmovedora que muestra el agridulce desvanecerse que supone envejecer. Su mayor acierto está, sin duda, en el retrato que hace del ecosistema de la residencia en el que mezcla a partes iguales el humor y la compasión en su variopinto retablo de ancianos (el viejo verde que finge ser sordo para meter mano a la enfermera, la anciana que recolecta tubitos de ketchup para regalárselos a su nieto, el que cuenta siempre la misma batallita de juventud, la que teme que le rapten los marcianos si la dejan sola…) Nos hace reír pero también nos parte el corazón. Os animo a conocer esta obra maestra, no os arrepentiréis!!

PACO ROCA

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Have you ever heard about the Brontë sisters?

If the answer to the question in the headline is “no” or “just a little”, here you have a good chance to know several interesting biographical details about these novelist sisters. The author of this entry is your Philosophy teacher: Mr Isidoro Laso. Enjoy the reading and try to read some novels written by the Brontë sisters!!

When I was given the assignment of writing an entry for the blog I was mulling over for a while about what subject I’d like to write. Finally I found a sort of thread around which I could express my admiration and appreciation; and as it happens I look up to those women that in the course of the History have stood out for achieving hard goals in their lives, very often going through hardship or having trouble trying to fulfill their fates.
Therefore, I’m going to start writing about the Brontë sisters: Mary, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Mary and Elizabeth died very early, and the other three sisters were the ones who became writers.
They were the daughters of a vicar and lived in the area of Yorkshire, in the north of England. They became orphans very soon because their mother died (it was very frequent in that time) giving birth. Their father, Patrick Brontë, was a strict and demanding father that focused his attention in his only son, Branwell, in who he invested the little money he had. Nevertheless he didn’t ignore his daughters. He encouraged them to read and discussed with them the current news; besides, he saw it was appropriate for them to write.
All the sisters with the exception of Anne, were sent to Cowan Bridge school, almost a charity school because it was so cheap. The four sisters lived in terrible conditions. A teacher called Miss Andrews get obsessed with Mary and scolded and punished her all the time, even when she was ill. She was likely a sadistic person.
Seven out of fifty three students who there were in school died because of illnesses. Among them were Mary and Elizabeth, who finally died as a result of tuberculosis. That’s why Patrick withdrew Emily and Charlotte from that terrible school and from then on they stayed in their father’s house. This school was recreated by Charlotte in her novel Jane Eyre, named as Lowood in it, a terrible school as Cowan Bridge was.
The Brontë lived almost isolated, in their own daydreams, making up stories and writing them. The vicarage was outskirts of the town, the last house in the last town before a really extended wasteland. There Emily ended up writing her only novel, Wuthering Heights, a classic of English literature. Emily never fell in love, closed on herself ; she was likely anorexic. It seems that Charlotte was near the edge of anorexia too, maybe during all her life. They were not specially pretty, intelligent, cultivated, proud and poor. At that time it was impossible for women go to University and their only chance, apart from marriage, was become governess or teachers, both jobs being poorly paid and humiliating.
Charlotte sent some poems to Southey, a famous poet, asking his opinion about them, and he answered to her that the poems were really good but also told her that literature can not be an objective in a woman life. Instead of giving in her a goal, she wrote Jane Eyre, a great novel that would be a classic of English literature, as Emily’s novel. Anne also will wrote, but not at the same high level than her sisters’s. Jane Eyre was a great success, as well as Wuthering Heights, but critics considered both novels as “rude, brutal and hatred”. Charlotte finally confessed to her father after publishing the novel that she was Currer Bell, a male name that he had used as a pseudonymous.
But the miserable fate of this family would get back again in the shape of Emily’s death in 1848, at thirty. And Anne would follow her in 1849, at twenty nine. Their brother Branwell had died some months before the two sisters. Charlotte left alone and desperate. She admitted to be the author of Jane Eyre and wrote another two novels. She would get married with her father’s assistant, another vicar who loved her passionately but for a brief period of time. Only some months after the wedding in 1855 she died. She was pregnant and everybody thought that her vomiting were caused for this reason, but It’s probably them (and her death) were produced by typhus.
None of the sisters hardly ever got the chance from their poor house and the empty wasteland, but they got dared to think, trespassing limits and social conventions, and conquered bright territories only stepped by men. They wrote powerful and immortal words.

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