Sunday, July 19, 2009

Broadbanded in Barcelona

OK. You may have noticed I've been gone for a while. But now I am back online, wirelessed up and ready to go.

Where to begin? Well, we’re living in Barcelona! I don’t know how long for, exactly, so it’s not exactly emigration (can you emigrate if it’s only two hours’ flight away?) but it is very exciting indeed.

Things went like this: boyfriend’s job ceased to exist due to recession. He’s never been to uni, or had a gap year, fancied trying something different, and I am very lucky that I can work from anywhere. We had been to Barcelona several times, loved it, know people out here, liked the idea of sunshine and tapas and a break from gloomy headlines…

And here we are. In the last six weeks, we’ve had our challenges, including facing imminent homelessness due to extreme trickiness of finding a good place for us and the teenaged cat (yes, we couldn’t bear to leave her in the UK). Said cat has also suffered catastrophic allergy to Frontline, needing treatment by possibly the best-looking vet/vet nurse duo in the world. Honestly, if I was a Mills & Boon writer, I would have had my next story there now. After enduring an Iberia flight sitting in a basket on my lap (actually the flight was fine, though being pounced on at Heathrow security in case she was a bomb cat was alarming), and living in a pet-friendly hotel, we hoped she would settle. Alas, no. Frontline made all her neck hair fall out and she is now locked into a self-harming cycle of ‘skin heals/skin itches/cat must scratch with back legs’ that would probably justify a series of misery memoirs if she was human. But she’s still here and seems to be enjoying herself otherwise.

We have both embarked on Spanish courses (me and boyf, not me and cat) and though it’s humiliating being trumped by fifteen-year-olds with better recall, we’re getting there slowly. I love languages, but it’s much harder now than it was when I was at school. Also tricky as the main language of Barcelona isn’t Castilian, but Catalan, a kind of wild combo of French, Spanish and other fab words with lots of Xs in them.

Oh, and the admin is a challenge, but a good challenge – the other day I had to return a parcel to amazon (don’t get me started, but I will never buy an Acer computer again, as it failed within 20 hours of receipt) and the Post Office conversation was worthy of Basil Fawlty. Then again, the sense of achievement at getting my Foreigner’s Number was very significant indeed.

We have also (so far) survived the ordeal by Possessed Washing Machine (think Stephen King). Said washer seems desperate to escape, so last weekend it walked across the terrace, and in its bid for freedom, flooded everywhere, fell flat on its face and almost electrocuted boyf. It never walks when we’re watching, of course, so we now take a glass of vino tinto in there for the whole cycle, just in case…surprisingly relaxing. The Zen of Laundry.

We now have a lovely temporary apartment in el Born, the most gorgeous part of the city (in my opinion), right opposite a market built in 1876, which is absolutely inspirational.

In other news:

  • I didn’t win the Melissa Nathan award, but I had a fab time as a short-listee and got the most gorgeous runner-up trophy.
  • We’re currently planning the next New Romantics event, a panel plus a short course at the Guildford Festival, and I will post details when it's all confirmed.
  • The New Romantics are also now on Twitter!
  • Secret Shopper Unwrapped is all done and dusted, and due out on October 1, which is also Super Thursday. Apparently that’s the day all the books by the Big Guns of fiction come out too, so I do hope it doesn’t get trampled in the rush, as it’s apparently quite good, according to my editor and agent!
  • I’m also considering running writing weekends out here in Barcelona, as the place is so inspirational and flights so incredibly reasonable – if it’s something you might fancy, then do please leave a comment, it’d be good to know what level of interest there might be…
  • I’m also going to be teaching a sequel to the Head over Heels course at Kingston University in March 2010, with all new material and lots of time for workshopping and feedback. More info soon.

Anyway, that’s me for now. I will be posting much more often, because we have broadband again, hoorah! Coming soon: the challenge of rewriting my first novel for re-publication (Old School Ties, the Director’s Cut), plus other tales from the city of tapas and tasty vets.

Hasta pronto!

Kate x



Blogger Calistro said...

Wow, what an amazing adventure - moving to Barcelona! It's the sort of thing people (aka me!) talk about all the time but never actually get round to doing. How wonderful. Not so wonderful the poor cat's allergic reaction but glad to hear he's on the mend. Looking forward to reading the new Secret Shopper book ane hearing more of your news :)

3:07 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Wow, Kate, I'm exhausted just reading your list of events. Glad things are settling and you are enjoying life.

8:27 am  
Blogger my name in print said...

I talk about doing something like that too! Who knows, maybe one day...

10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing weekends in Barcelona: where do I sign up?

9:14 am  
Blogger JJ Beattie said...

Oh dear, all of those things sound very familiar territory but I'm very glad you sound as though you're settling in.

9:25 pm  
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