Friday, April 11, 2014


The sun was too strong when I took the picture so it's hard to see the balance of colour well.....but it's lovely. And big. 

I'll put up another picture that has a better balance of colour. 

Have a look at the man's hands at the top, it's BIG!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Small signs of improvement?

The economy here is Spain is bad, very very bad. 

Lately though, there have been a few small signs of improvement.  A few.  But still.....

The place around the corner that sells prepared food has started selling truita de patata again, this is like an omlete, but bigger and full of potatoes.  It is also something that EVERYONE can make at home, so if folks are going out to buy one?  They have some disposable income.  It has been several years since they were selling these.  Still, it's only occasionally, but still.

The architects I know are getting a tiny bit of tentative movement.  A small renovation here, a minor adjustment there....but things have been completely dead for several years, so even these small jobs are a big deal.

Finally, I am starting to see furniture out by the garbage bins.  When we first got here, there was a lot...the garbage has depots on most blocks, rather than it being picked up at the end of the street, and if you have furniture you don't want anymore, you put it out by the bins.  Used to be quite a lot, indeed a lot of our furniture when we first got here came from the bins.  Then there was NOTHING...not a thing.  Now, there is a tiny bit.  Really exceptionally crappy stuff, but a tiny bit nonetheless.

Here's hoping!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I haven't gone for years and years and years, and I loved it...and I still do!

Forgot how much I loved it.

Youngest even went with me and she was really good!

All that climbing.

I got lucky and got to undo the equipment that had been put up, as I was last one out.  Very cool indeed.


It wasn't as cold as I thought it would be.  It was even cooler than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty darned cool.  There was a fair amount more of touching the stalactites and stalectitic sheets, than I thought was accepted generally, though this was also a pretty heavily trafficed cave, so there may have been little hope.

Youngest loved it too, which was fabulous. 

Have to work on going back again!!!!!!

Here's a few photos:

(what a surprise)

Spectacular.  HAVE to go back!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Sitting by the fire wearing damp pants (trousers for the brits) in the hope that they dry before I have to wear them tomorrow.


Friday, March 21, 2014


On Monday I was in BCN on my own for a few hours and decided to wander around Gràcia a bit, it's a cool neighbourhood that I hadn't really explored.

Unfortunately I hadn't gotten very organised on all of this, so I pretty much wandered in and wandered around.....

Gràcia was a separate village from Barcelona until relatively recently, and it still has a totally different feel than the rest of Barcelona.  6 story buildings are gone, most are 2, plaças abound, and lots of funky little stores.  Honestly, it looks a lot like most of the smaller towns outside of BCN, just has a funkier air than most of those do.

Here's a few photos, these are truly quite random, simply what I came across, and what seemed different than I had seen elsewhere.  As Gràcia apparently also includes Parc Guëll, clearly I missed some of the spectacular....but I wasn't after that either, more a feel of the place.

I stopped for a while and read my book, it was a LOVELY day, and I could sit outside on a bench to read.  So I did.  Afterwards I seem to have focused more on the graffiti, mostly cause the buildings were all pretty much the same.  Though in fact the graffiti was very similar to much of what I have seen elsewhere in the city.  There may be relatively few artists and they are traveling widely in the city.

I posted earlier about a Catalan poet and author, Salvador Espriu, there was a show at the CCCB and I saw sculptures inspired by his work in the cemetery in Arenys.  Seems he lived just ouside Gràcia.

More later!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Madrid wants to make the Assemblia Nacional de Catalunya illegal. 

This happened to some political parties in the Basque region that had some tenuous (or not so tenuous, I don't know) ties to ETA.

The Assemblia Nacional? 

They are getting people to sign a petition and got a whole lot of people to go and hold hands in support of Catalan independence.

Yeah, that's a scary group of people....

........unless of course you're afraid of democracy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Asparagus and a night walk

We've got two French exchange students with us, two working on the theory that teenage boys are sometimes rather like dogs, in the sense that a tired dog is a good dog, therefore a tired teenage boy is a good teenage boy, we have been walking them around a fair amount...

Last night we went for a night walk in the hills, there was a full moon, so we didn't even need the lights I brought, though towards the end the boys decided to be gallant (or have fun playing with their mobiles) and they lit our way all the way back with their phone flashlights....

It was lovely. The teens, both boys and girls, started out ranging from nervous-excited (the girls) to nervous-scared (the boys, who in their defence are not from here) but rapidly got into the spirit of the whole thing.

It was great.  Youngest now wants to go on a night walk every week!  We have a guest coming tomorrow from the UK, we are all excited!  We're going to be taking her for a night walk too!

Then this morning, we picked up one more French boy and a different Catalan girl and headed out into the mountains again, in search of asparagus!  I love searching for asparagus!!!!  I dragged their butts in and out of brambles and up and down slopes.  I think they all had a lovely time in fact... got a little scratched up, but it was fun!

Love living near the mountains.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Running and frustration

I have always gotten frustrated, much like everyone else, and dealing with it has always been unpleasant, much like everyone else I imagine.

A certain component of it seems to be very physical, a state of body more than anything else.  I can reason my head around much of a problem, but the physical tension is another matter.

So I go running.

Bicycling doesn't seem to work the same way, too smooth and too much grace.  No one would think of the adjective grace if they saw me running, so that seems to work. 

Pounding along a trail seems to get rid of the physical side of anger and frustration like nothing else.

Seems I'm gonna have to keep on running till I'm dead.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Riding home yesterday on the bike?  Headwinds so strong it was harder riding the flat than the hills that come after, and some of those are STEEP!

I have never before been relieved to turn the corner and start going uphill!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A post that isn't just photos

Yesterday I made a fairly brilliant move, and left the house at 6:20 am to catch my 6:20 am bus.  If it hadn't been 6:20 am, I might have worked the math out better on that, but it wasn't until 6:22 that I realised that this wasn't going to work out.

So, I walked to work.  7K, 1 hour and 2 min.  Not too bad.  Not going to do it every day, but it was OK.  There's a saying in Catalan that goes along the lines of, those without a memory, have legs.  Yeah, those who are kinda dumb too.

On another note, the French are coming!

We are, for our sins, hosting a French exchange.  Youngest has been studying French for a couple of years, and the school this year has organized an exchange.  Somehow or other we got 2 French kids instead of the requisite 1, and they are both boys.  Should be interesting.  Especially as they are here to learn Spanish, which I speak rather marginally.  The man is better, and youngest is quite good.

Tengo que hablar i aprender mas español.

Should be a laugh and a half!

Also, on Monday I went back to the Hospital de San Pau with a different friend, it was neat, I didn't bring the camera, something of a mistake as they opened up parts of the building that we didn't see last time, but they also closed up some of the best bits.  I asked around and most of it is going to be unavailable if you pay to go in as they are going to be using it as a conference center and offices for businesses, which I do think is a very good thing overall, just a shame that it'll be hard to see!

On that note, I think I had better go to bed, life is pretty busy around here!  I'm even painting!

I've got two gigantic paintings on the go, two friends who wanted it's fun, but frustrating as I haven't got the time to paint that I'd like.