Sunday, February 28, 2010

Photos of the Day 54-59: or not...

This last week I've been in the UK, and I've realised that I don't much like taking photos of grey stuff. And it was very grey while I was in London. I haven't fallen out of love with the place, exactly, but the colours of Barcelona are very seductive and so I failed to take a single photo. But if I had, they'd have been of:

Monday: The star-studded Orion Author party at the Royal Opera House (and my tarmac studded knees after I tripped on the way to the Tube, i.e. before a single drop of champagne had passed my lips)
Tuesday: The Kew Eco Village, which I spotted from the top deck of the bus. This shot was taken last summer, but when I saw it, it looked really cold and wet and they must be very dedicated to keep going through what must be the worst winter in decades.
Wednesday: The new train line from Shepherd's Bush - I'm not a trainspotter, honest, but I do wish that had existed when I lived there. It's all new and shiny, not like the old Bush at all.
Thursday: My luggage, containing new pink mac from Uniqlo (hurry up and open in Barcelona, please); a bottle of chilli relish; 1.2kg of Davidstow Cheddar cheese, and the Wii Fit Balance Board.

Friday: Menu del dia at El Atril - yes, seems like I lost the habit of taking photos even now I'm back so I'm using the one from their website.
Saturday: apple crumble as served by our friends for pudding. Oh, and me trying out The Biggest Loser for the first time (the events are unconnected, or maybe not). Ye gods, how red was I by the end of my Wood Chops!
Sunday: balconies as viewed while drinking coffee in the Paseig Del Born - it's great to be back...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Days 51-53: sunshine, showers and spring onions

More days out with the boys... On Saturday we went out into the countryside an hour an a half from Barcelona. The occasion: a cal├žotada, or feast devoted to the spring onion like veggies that are hugely popular in Catalunya at this time of year. The onions themselves are just one of what seems like an endless stream of dishes in a party lasting for about four hours. The onions are roasted on coals and then you strip away the outer leaves to reveal the succulent inners, which you then dip in romesco sauce (on the right of the picture). Repeat until very, very full.
Then today there was a fairly random parade featuring people in South American costumes, and children dressed as chickens. And our guests enjoyed taking pictures of the shutters on our walk around our barrio...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photos of the Day: 46 to 50

This week we've got some young visitors - and with them, we've had an insight into what they like about Barcelona, including...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Photos of the Day 42, 43, 44, 45... losing count

OK, so now I'm losing count of which day it is...but here are some from our weekend.
On Friday I spotted a wonderfully colourful patisserie selling Valentine's goodies.

On Saturday, we took a workshop at the Chocolate Museum, which was terrific fun - although the weather is so unseasonally cold here now that our goodies were setting very fast, which is my excuse for my very messy efforts.

Saturday evening was Carneval - we did head for a bar after half an hour before the heavens opened and did the Barcelona rain thing (a very specific kind of downpour where the water gets everywhere), but the carnival performers kept dancing, which meant at least they kept warm.
Then Sunday was the half-marathon. Business as usual in Barcelona, and we didn't even see the Corre Foc or Santa Eulalia celebrations...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photos of the Day 39, 40 & 41

I haven't forgotten - but the writing is taking over a bit, plus the weather was bad for two days and nowhere is photogenic in the rain (not like in the movies, eh?).
The top picture is of the challenges I've been completing with the pedometer on my new iPod - I must admit I am a complete sucker for that kind of thing, currently working my way through a box of chocolates (and a very small box at that) which takes 28,000 steps!
Middle one is of the delicious goat's cheese I bought from La Seu to welcome boyf back from the UK (don't you love the texture of the greaseproof paper, and the creamy colour of the cheese through it).
And the other two views from the seventh floor at the language school. I always run out of breath by the fifth floor (and there are only two awfully unreliable lifts as an alternative) but it's worth it for a view like that, eh?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Photos of the Day 37 and 38: dancing girl

Been running, writing, stitching. And making progress on all three. As usual the progress on the stitching is the easiest to see. Although I won't be giving up the day job just yet... colours are a bit dodgy, but the variegated floss is purplish-pink and white. And as for the face, well, that's the part I struggle with the most. Ah well. Only an apron, eh?
Am just over halfway with the novel, I'd say. Which means going back to my initial 'grid' planning tool and working out whether the balance and pace is right. I'm juggling four POVs and four stories, so at the moment I'm almost certainly not getting it quite right, but that's what editing is for. I also have to do the boring bit of working out dates and times to stop me ending up with two Easters, fourteen month pregnancies, missed birthdays and all that jazz. Because if I don't notice, someone else is bound to...


Friday, February 05, 2010

Photo of the Day 36: a greenhouse...

This is one of my favourite buildings, and today it looked terrific in the sunshine. It's the Hivernacle in the Ciutadella Park, and I love the way its design echoes the design of the inverted u-shaped Umbracle (shade garden/palm house) that you can just see in the distance in the first picture, and also the shape of the market that is being refurbished by our flat. I believe they were all built around the same period, for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. The two sides of the Hivernacle are very different - the second picture shows the triffid-like plants that always seem to me to be fighting to get out, and the third is the fully refurbished other side. I understand there used to be a cafe there, but at the moment it's closed, except that at Christmas the middle courtyard became a temporary sleeping/meeting point for about a dozen homeless people.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Photos of the Day 34 & 35

Trying to have a few fast and furious writing days this week - yesterday it was sunny, which made it tougher, but today was the perfect weather for work, because I didn't have that English thing of 'ooh, must go outside while the sun's shining.' But the building site opposite us is very distracting... The cranes keep moving enormous panels through the air at a rate of knots, and this time it felt like it was going to crash right through the window...
Oh, and yesterday's photo is of a costume shop. Might invest in that natty red number for publishers' party, perhaps?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Photos of the Day 32 & 33

Sunday was rainy, so I am cheating with extra photos from today and yesterday. My Monday Mission was to go and find a recommended wool shop in Gracia, Llanes Travessera. I did find it, though I am still pretty boggled by what yarn is suitable for what project, and my Catalan is not up to the job of asking. Reminds me a bit of when I discovered gardening and was utterly muddled by mulch.

Anyway, it was a very sunny day, if cold, so I took a walk back and stumbled upon the Sagrada Familia. Haven't been up in that direction for ages and it just appeared, and reminded me how lucky we are to be here.
As well as discovering the yarn shop, I went into Lidl, and had a good gawp at mysterious brands. I haven't had much luck finding growing herbs here in the supermarket, but there by the check out was a big pot of basil, and it's now happily installed by our sunniest window. I just love the scent...
Today's two pictures are of my latest projects - MP3 socks. The lovely tutor at my final amigurumi class suggested making them - all around me, the other women were making gorgeous tiny rabbits and dogs, while I made an over-sized orange, and I think we can safely say that I don't have a great future as an amigurumi-ist. But I have rather enjoyed making these two iPod cosies - and, like I've said before, I cannot get over how much I adore multi-coloured wool. It makes me feel all warm inside.