Friday, September 30, 2005
Rebecca’s form teacher, Mr Pujol looks about 12 while her headmistress comes to the meeting in a designer fashion top proclaiming ‘no limousine, no party’. You don’t get that at South Hampstead …
Thursday, September 29, 2005
In the papers all is love again for Barca. They have won two matches by 4-1 and manager Frank Rijkaard, portrayed as a dunce at the weekend, is hailed as the new hero. 14 pages are devoted to this revelation in the main sports paper. Meanwhile Espanyol, who actually did play a real game the night before, creep in on page 15.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
We talk about Spain and the civil war and – scoop! – I discover my grandfather came to the aid of the Republicans. It turned out that an au pair of theirs went out to Spain as a nurse and Grandpa dispatched a parcel of Shevloff’s finest linens for her to take…Always on the side of the men with the white hats
Monday, September 26, 2005
The following morning I decided to hop into the city centre. The ticket clerk at the station tells me I can only use a Danish credit card and so I must go to a cash machine and get Kroner.
The capital is a grim, grey place with more unsmiling people. Even at 8.30am practically nowhere is open for breakfast and I get a stale roll and cheese in a dimly lit shopping centre. Back in the suburb where my interview is the focus of the town, the 1960s monstrosity that is the local civic centre is full of £1 shops and a dimly lit pub which is packed at 10am with smoking beer drinkers.
Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen? I don’t think so.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Later on we return to watch the main procession go down the Ramblas before heading on to see an open air circus in the park, the fireworks and a few dancing lessons in the Placa Reial, where we find the secret entrance to the best bar in the square...
Friday, September 23, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
And much cuddly comment for the city's second (and usually unloved) team, Espanyol, who beat Real last Sunday.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
The chef Carles Abellan is there, cooking, cleaning, serving and generally being most un-star chef like. The food is all sensational and by London standards amazingly cheap (E48 for the full tapas menu). By the end we are too full to do anything and head home with huge smiles on our faces after one of the most uplifting meals I have had in ages.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Another alarm call at sparrow-fart and another food-less trip with the useless British Airways to
Back home to
Thursday, September 15, 2005
So there – two things they do better in
Monday, September 12, 2005
Very draining. Up at 7am and the alarm is like a shotgun firing off next to my ear. It is the thick end of three months since we did a school run and it doesn’t feel very good. The kids look great in their new uniforms.
We were warned about the school run on the first day of the year. Ha, we thought; we’re used to the worst in
It was. Hampstead is like a drive in the country. We crawl up the hill into Sarria and then get poleaxed around the school where every four wheel drive in
Eventually we find a space and get in. Ben being Ben is up for anything. He’s greeted by a committee of three classmates and is immediately involved in game of tag. He has little idea of the rules but joins in. His little face is beaming with eagerness. It’s very moving. By the end of the day he tells us he had made six friends before the start of school.
Becca is equally brave but more nervous and by the end of the day she looks dazed and confused. Her Spanish was all in Sapnish and she didn’t follow anything. Other teaching was decidedly odd.
To make things worse for her we drag her off to the rather ghastly Black Horse pub to watch the denouement of the Ashes. By the time we have inched through the traffic it’s all done. We walk in the pub just as Pietersen is bowled after his astonishing innings. The ceremonies take ages but it’s there. We’ve won the Ashes. I dared dream we would have this moment six months ago but put it aside after the first test fiasco and never picked it up again.
We are all in bed by 10pm, completely exhausted.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Barca tomorrow night, on Catalunyan national day of all days ...
Thursday, September 08, 2005
And it's been pissing down - thunder, lightning, torrential downpours, howling winds, the whole nine yards. just the sort of weather that would wash out the 5th test for the full five days. We'll be listening ...
Monday, September 05, 2005
The squares in particular reminded me of Rome and we spent 20 minutes queuing for some very good Italian ice cream.
What we saw when we got there was a children's show in the open air, free hot chocolate and preparations for the night's communal dinner and ball. It had all the hallmarks of La France Profonde yet was literally five minutes from Barcelona's North Circular. It was pretty much the same on Sunday when we visited friends in a nearby area which is a national park. We tramped for two hours through the forest full of horses, wild boar and goats (60, lost according to two guys who asked if we'd seen them). Yet they can be downtown in 20 minutes.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Then a second mortgage job on uniforms (but we have done so well hitherto with hand me downs for both The Hall and SHHS) at Aguilera, the school outfitters just opposite the Sagrada Familia. Winter and summer uniforms for both and both seem to like theirs. Bex has a padded shoulder gray jacket and Ben a white polo neck and red jumper that makes him look like he is set for 18 holes at Sunningdale. Pix to follow.
Other news - still very hot (and weathermen say more to come). And they still haven't finished building the church ...