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 Europe. It can’t be that bad.

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 Barcelona has mounted the pavement at crazy angles as if their occupants were fleeing some disaster. The tiny streets around the school are completely gridlocked as cars, vans, school buses and lorries battle for every inch.

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.

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