Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Bullfighting, Michael Morpurgo, William (no not that William) and Waffle Irons

I found a postcard the other day. I’ve never seen one like it before. The sender was Spanish. I was going to post it on here, but then I saw the words “Reproduccion prohibida Brevete. C1963.”

I used the Google translator and apparently it means “Driving Licence reproduction prohibited.” Hm, so to show it on here? I’ll describe it instead. And if anyone can advise me as to the legality of showing it to you, I’ll reconsider.

It is a cartoon picture of a bullfight. The bull is on his knees, his bloody back full of lances, his tongue lolling out and the matador is about to deliver the coup de grace.

On the ground are a shoe, a pumpkin (!), tomatoes and a banana – and a little brown bird watching the proceedings. Behind the matador are several people – I think they’re British. A man in colonial garb waving his walking stick, a woman who for some reason puts me in mind of Miss Jean Brodie is bashing the matador over the head with her umbrella – she has tears running down her face - and five more touristy types, all upset. One blonde woman is on her knees beside the bull, one arm across her eyes, the other upraised as if pleading for the bull’s life.

Phew – they say a picture paints a thousand words. I’m still not sure if the cartoon is anti-bullfighting or anti-bullfighting-hating-tourists. Or indeed if it is anti-anything at all and just tells a story.

Just after I found the postcard I read Toro! Toro! by Michael Morpurgo. I’ve bought several of his books for my grandchildren when they are older, but I’ve been drawn in to reading them myself.

I wasn’t going to read it. I didn’t want to read about bullfighting. I already know what happens and just thinking about it upsets me. But I think it does us good to have our emotions stirred up. Anyway it's about more than bullfighting.

Until I read Toro! Toro! I’d never heard of the massacre of La Sauceda at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. I’ve since looked it up for more detail.

But back to Michael Morpurgo. He sounds like a very nice man – a very very nice man. I saw him being interviewed a few weeks ago which is what drove me to get the books. I’m so glad I did.

And did you see that the BBC is making a new series of Just William? I was so pleased and even more so when I found out that the talented Daniel Roche (Ben from Outnumbered) is to play William.

I should say that William was my hero when I was a child. I had some of the William books including: William, Just William and William the Fourth which I read over and over, but I used to scour the shelves in the library for ones I hadn’t read and it would be a happy little me that went home with a couple of Williams under my arm.

Hm, maybe I should invest in some of those – for the grandchildren of course.

So this started out as a short post to show you a postcard that I decided not to show you after all. Methinks I have been struck by the waffle iron again.


  1. Oh waffle on Teresa! I hate bullfighting too, and like you I tend to shy away from anything upsetting about animals. I can't even cope with Art Garfunkel singing 'Bright Eyes' about some fictional rabbits!

  2. I think the pumpkin, the tomatoes and the banana may have been the other ingredients for a posh stew (after the bull's demise, naturally). But the rest sounds most mysterious.

    Oh - and I love Just William, too, as does my grandson William. But reading it aloud to him, I realise how dated it all is (housemaids and parlours and such). But (our) William doesn't seem to mind, and he adores the humour.

  3. A lot of the kids in school read Michael's books but I haven't do far - maybe I should.

    Julie xx

  4. I've never read any of Michael Morpurgo's books, but will put a couple of my Christmas wish list.


  5. I know what you mean, Joanne - that song always makes me well up!

    I don't think children notice the datedness of William do you, Frances? Lovely that you've got your own William to read it to.

    Yes, give it a go, Julie.

    They are lovely to read, Suzanne.

  6. A lovely story about bullfighting (or rather the lack of it!) which will be suitable for your grandchildren now, is The Story of Ferdinand... it has beautiful pictures too! Emma

  7. THanks, Emma - I'll have a look for that :-)