Sunday, August 28

Currently living with a range of beautiful flooring designs

khaki harlequin floor with red braid trim, accessorised here with red chewy

pink-and-white zig zag floor with visible mend

classic monochrome

all floors available with added canine

Wednesday, August 24

I stayed with Mrs Madrigal's daughter

last night in Barcelona*.

She let me into the house,  showed me the bed I could sleep in - which was on this veranda. We exchanged stories and then she disappeared. I'd spotted the kitchen but after she'd gone I needed the bathroom which I knew was behind one of the closed doors along the corridor - the first doors I tried opened onto other bedrooms where young women were reading or doing their hair - we smiled and said perdon/de nada at each other before I closed their door and tried the next one.

I particularly liked these family photographs on a shelf in the living room

*I'm guessing it must be Mrs Madrigal's daughter because I felt as though I'd turned up in an Armistead Maupin tale

Sunday, August 21

I'm packing for Spain

- in preparation for the trip I've been meeting Dolores for a daily dose of language exchange - I still can't pronounce the Spanish word for lawn and she laughs when I talk about fingers or toes so I will avoid conversations involving those things.

Part of the adventure will involve looking after a not-very-young puppy in a fancy-pants district of Barcelona, apparently he can't too walk far so I plan to buy a trolley as a sort of puppy pushchair.

In other news

I have spent the last two years trying to find someone who can mend bits of the house - during this time there have been:
i) the ones who said they'd come to look but didn't
ii) the ones who came to look but didn't send quotes


iii) the one who came and told me that he could fix everything then put a call out on social media to see if there were any unemployed burglars who'd like to come and fix everything

Saturday, August 13

During this week of family meetups

my five-year-old-niece went to visit her uncle-who-lives-in-a-palace 

The palace has shiny parquet floors and is decorated with many glass orbs and other delicacies. The niece and her brother are very lively and nosey people.

The uncle laid out ground rules:
no sliding on the floors, no looking in cupboards, don't touch this or that or that

the niece listened then asked

can we fart?

Friday, August 12

During a family gathering this week

my father and I took turns to relate the story about how he came to visit me in France in the early eighties: I was working as a goatherd in a remote woody-hilly place somewhere near the Pyrenees and had sent a letter home describing the route to get to my hut, it was illustrated with a map and my father used it to pay me a visit. *

it was a good story with lots of adventures  - there was one part that I had never heard before:

My father left me to get on with my goatherding and went off to do a few days walking in the area by himself. The first night he stayed in a B&B then continued on his way. A few hours into the day's walk he stopped by a hedge on a dirt track to scrump a few cherries when a van hove into sight and stopped next to him, there were two men inside - one from the previous night's boarding house, this man leaned out of his window and said   

Monsieur, you left this at our 'ouse

and handed over some greyish white fabric that my father recognised as his own, rather unfashionable, underpants

* the map and another version of this story is here

Tuesday, August 9

on the bus to London

I did knitting and caught up on podcasts -  99% invisible - for a story about the worst smell in the world then a piece about 'sewbots' at Planet Money. Yesterday's best show was Freakanomics  about racial profiling in restaurants if there were shows like these in Spanish I'd be fluent in no time - if anyone knows of any good ones please send me the links.

yes I am still trying to speak Spanish like a native - did I mention that I'm off to Spain soon?

Dolores and I still have our regular spanglish meetings, we speak Spanish one visit then English the next - today was English day and, as she is a professional sportsperson, we discussed the fashion for 'cupping' amongst athletes.

When it is my turn to speak Spanish I seem to always end up talking about insects 

Thursday, August 4

we're plagued with flies

massive bluebottles suddenly appear and buzz crazily around the room bashing into windows and light fittings

tonight I watched one drive himself into a tiny spiders web, the tiny spider was hiding behind a book licking his lips as the fly (which was 10 times bigger than him)  tangled around in the web 

finally the fly buzzed itself free and continued it's noisy flight around the room but this time draped in cobweb like a great big ghost fly

Wednesday, August 3

my jobs-to-do list could wrap twice around the house

this sort of thing has colonised the terrace 

there are days when I sense that the jobs-to-do-list may have reduced infinitessimally 

last week

the electrician fixed my blinking lights.

I told the electrician that I could use some young muscles to tidy up the terrace which has become submerged beneath gigantic tufts of a hybrid-vigour-super-grass that is anchored firmly between the paving stones. The electrician said   

I know someone  

being Welsh his tone is naturally ironic so I was not sure what would happen


A plump sixteen-year-old crept up to my gate clutching a plastic carrier bag full of crisps and orange fizzy drink.  He tickled the grass with a spade for a couple of hours we were both relieved when the rain gave us an excuse to call it a day and head home for chips

in other news

I have fixed 2 sets of broken curtains

Monday, August 1

The Haitians got lost backstage

at the other end of the arena -  a man with a buggy got them rounded up and driven over to our stage, they spilled off the buggy and ran around laughing and kissing us all, there were at least fifty ten people if you counted all the seeing double that was going on.

Meanwhile in front of the stage the audience had been sampling the wine provided by our sponsor and were already pretty happy but they  roared with approval to see a cascade of stoned people arriving on and around the stage giggling and dancing. Their music was fantastic but they weren't up to slicing vegetables - several audience members were pulled onto the stage to help including a girl called Trixie wearing a very short white fairy outfit and crimson hair .

Trixie was able to chop cabbage, twist open bottles of vinegar and fry plantain while band members fell at her feet and grinned at her.

The woman in the Haitian band was the danciest and had many many silk patterned scarves  tied around her waist which she dispensed liberally along with perfume and many kisses - my scarf is blue stripey with flowers and a rude fruity smell, apparently it contains a lot of voodoo so I have put it in a nice box for safety

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