Friday, October 27, 2006

Guess who's back, back again

WOW london is amazing and I love it and wouldn't it be nice to maybe live there one day and I got lots of shoes and a mirror shaped like a heart and I had cupcakes for lunch and anyway yeah barcelona is nice too I guess.
On monday I start my new school and on tuesday we move flat to which I can only say ndfjasdbnfjasdnjfnsdajkfansdjkfnfjkn.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pix galore

We've finally got round to choosing and printing some pictures. You can see them on screen here, featuring us in locations asdiverse as San Sebastian, Cadaques, Studland Bay and Valencia and with various Lander visitors here in Barcelona.

this time next year

I shall be 50. But it was great fun turning 49 even though I was away from my family at the time and Barca marked the day by going down rather tamely at Chelsea.

Sarah's present was a beautiful Mont Blanc roller pen, Becca got me some extremely fashionable socks from Purificacion Garcia (a beautiful fashion label in Barcelona) and Ben bought me a Barca shirt with Messi, my favourite player on the back. You really can't do better than that.

And last night we went out with our dear friends here, who have been particularly nice to us, to Danzatoria an extremely upmarket night club in one of the most elegant parts of town, where we ate, drank and even danced until the small hours. Raging against the dying of the light etc etc...

Light posting continues as Sarah and Bex travels and we prepare for our flat move.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A great football weekend

  • Chelsea lost both their main goalies ahead of Wednesday's game with Barca. Yes I am sorry they're injured, and Cech seems seriously so.

But I find Mourinho, preditably hurling blame all around, so boorishly despicable now that I can find no more sympathy than that. Bob Wilson as ever is the voice of sense:
"I was sad to hear Jose's comments after the game," Wilson told Five Live's Sportweek programme. "Keepers expect to get bumps and bruises, it's part of what we do. We don't want to be protected all the time."
  • United looked fantastic beating Wigan
  • Ronaldo got sent off and will miss the Madrid Barca game next weekend. Cappello going mental at the end of this is very funny ...
  • Barca beat Seville 3-1 without looking at all convincing but ...
  • I was there and I got to see a Ronnie free kick that went in and ...
  • A glorious goal from Messi
  • And finally. A game with two the softest penalties you will ever see and the most blatant penalty not awarded plus a real life Hand of God goal. It's all here.

Gentle Girona

Seeing as I will be in London on my real birthday come Wednesday, we kicked the celebrations off early here.

It was a long holiday weekend so we hopped up to Girona on Friday morning to eat at El Celler de Can Roca, the celebrated 2 rosette restaurant run by the 3 Roca brothers we had heard so much about.

Never can such a wonderful restaurant be so modestly situated - in a non-descript part of town, next to the cafe which the Roca parents still run. Inside it is lovely, friendly and small, rather than pompous and overpowering like so many upscale places.

It was empty as we wondered in at 1.45 and packed by 2pm as the 2nd glass of cava arrived. and for the next two hours we had the most fabulous treats from the a la carte menu. I had the most sublime mushroom souffle, a custard type of consistency filled with a boiled egg followed by piglet with a reduction of quince and garclic.

The dessert was an amazing 'Trip to Havana' consisting of a Mojito ice and a chocolate ice cream cigar, complete with grey sugar 'ash' that let off the most wonderful cigar aroma as you ate it. Happy days...

We stayed overnight in Girona and it was complete revelation. It's just an hour from Barcelona and it is criminal that we havent seen it before. The old town, including the narrow streets of the ancient Jewish quarter and the pastel coloured buildings backed on to the river were the higlights, along with the huge and rather oddly proportioned cathedral. It's a quite backwater compared with Barcelona and all the better for it.

We stayed at the very sleek AC Palau de Bellavista which had beautiful large modern rooms with every parent's added bonus of free breakfast for children and a free minibar (although not alas free movies, hence Ben's 12-Euro charge for watchign Wallace and Gromit...). Fantastic views over the city, as the name implies, and at £68 a room, hugely recommended.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The big international

Forget the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Tomorrow night in the Camp Nou we have, er, Catalonia vs the Basque Country in what will doubtless be an orgy of yellow and red infested nationalism.

It will all be slightly surreal with all the two 'nations' best players off representing Spain against Switzerland. More surreal still is the wish of the presdient of the Basque Football Federation president that one day the two teams might meet in the World Cup. You could argue this one both ways given that Great Britain fields four teams and we have the likes of San Marino and the Faeroe Islands wasting the time of all against whom they play.

The match coincides with one of the those almighty storm in a teacup rows that blow up here, concerning a television advertisement in support of separate Catalan sports teams. A local court has banned the ad, not on political grounds, but because of its use of children.

Saturday afternoon at the films

There is nothing like peeling off on your own on a Saturday afternoon to watch a film that interests nobody else in your family.

So this afternoon I snuck off to see Neil Young: Heart of Gold, a documentary about The Great Man by Jonathan Demme. More precisely a concert film of him recording a new album plus some old great songs in Nashville. A lovely film about a brilliant performer. You wanted to applaud after very song but it was probably not the right thing to do in the cinema...

Monday, October 02, 2006

I feel like I should say something

Life is a little bit complicated right now and also I have a lot of Spanish homework and I've started learning german which isn't fun and so far I can't even spell the word for hello.
Today I watched an episode of Scrubs which made me laugh.
I've just realised I have absolutely nothing to say here.
Well, have a nice tuesday.
Or don't, I really couldn't care less.
Peace out

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gourmet Garrotxa

We had an amazing weekend in the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, around two hours drive north of Barcelona. The weather was stunning - v hot, blue skies. Not only did we stay in the beautiful and charming Mas Garganta, a gorgeous Casa rural with lovely rooms and land, and visit several of the stunning nearby volcanoes, but we found what might just be the hidden restaurant jewel of Catalonia.

We stopped at Restaurant Mas Nou for a sandwich and drink after a walk on Saturday and immediately booked for Sunday lunch. What we expected was some hearty Catalan country fare; what we got was extraordinarily beautiful and exquisit cooking, heavily influenced by the 'new tapas' more often seen in Barclona.

Tiny stuffed potatoes, spoonfuls of aubergine puree, a pink martini granita and miniscule cupfulls of pumpkin soup with parmesan. They were all in the 8 course 'picar picar' starters which cost 12 euros. Or there is the full 20 course meal of this type for an astonishingly low 26 euros. and there is also the duck, rabbit, slow cooked lamb and other dishes that come from these parts.

Utterly sensational. Lunch for all four of us was under 80 euros, an astonishing price for such great food. It's a tiny room - just 24 seats - and only open on weekends in winter, so book now. Well worth a detour as M.Michelin likes to say.

No lipstick allowed but ...

This has been my first real business trip to London since the Great Liquid Security Scare of August. The queues at Gatwick security are slightly longer than normal as our shoes come off and full body searches the norm. The staff are wonderfully friendly under the circumstances and after a lengthy consultation with seniors, I am allowed to take on Bicarbonate of Soda so that proper cakes may be baked in Barcelona.

But after all the jettisoning of liquid pre security, one enters the Aladdin’s cave of duty free where any variety of flammable alcoholic beverages in glass bottles can be taken into the cabin. As my brother in law points out, break a few of these on seat backs and you have some pretty lethal weapons at your disposal. A charming and cultured man, he grew up in Glasgow where arming oneself like this was a fairly standard Saturday night procedure …