Wednesday 31 December 2014

happy new year!

 photo 9be2be32-4a22-4e1b-a5ed-4307783a6c38_zps53ea67e6.jpg

Oh what the hell... anyone out there?! I miss you all! This has been the year of no internet and not much motivation to glam up (focusing on the writing, and happy to be doing so), but thought I'd pop in to say Happy New Year, here's to 2015 and may it be as happy for all of us as 2014 has been for me!

Monday 14 July 2014

enchanted garden

 photo DSC_0185_zps5a848c34.jpg

 photo DSC_0221_zps8a82c8f0.jpg

 photo DSC_0181_zpscae84b46.jpg

 photo DSC_0192_zpsb660cbec.jpg

 photo DSC_0224_zps0320171f.jpg

 photo DSC_0213_zps3ba77b8b.jpg

It's summer! In Barcelona it's the coolest July for 22 years, which means the weather is actually pretty perfect. For Sant Joan, a night that usually involves fireworks, all night parties, and beach madness, I went to the country to a friend's parents' house, and engaged with fresh air, the earth below my feet, and watering their garden which contained everything from your usual vegetables to garlic and quince! Quince is one of those fruits that is quite well known here but I feel like a lot of English speakers like me only know it from "The Owl and the Pussycat."

On that note:
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.


 photo DSC_0176_zpsf18a2603.jpg

 photo DSC_0230_zps030b0c29.jpg

 photo DSC_0202_zpsbfd7d789.jpg

Dress from Family Affairs, photos by Victor

Thursday 8 May 2014

sunshine and words

 photo DSC_2328_zps91768e3e.jpg

 photo DSC_2332_zpsec4d39c3.jpg

Belated pictures from Sant Jordi's, my favourite romantic-literary holiday. I took the morning off (there have to be some advantages to freelancing, working like a mule and seeming never to make any money) to wander with Victor, have breakfast out and buy a truly unjustifiable number of books (but oh! I found one of my favourite books ever, My Family and Other Animals, in English, for 4 euros second-hand, the same edition I had when I was a kid).

I'm posting these now because I'm off to get a haircut. The last time I got my hair cut was in August, when it was pretty fabulous, but that was eight months ago! I don't know why I have to reach a point of total decline to get things done...I finally went to the dentist after my teeth had gone totally yellow from drinking too much tea AND I suspected I might have some problem (thankfully not). I waited until my hand was practically falling off to buy excema cream, avoid going to the doctor. I know procrastination is normal for things that you don't want to do, and economics definitely plays a part in my avoiding things, but it's ridiculous. I'm hoping the hair cut will freshen me up in a few ways, I've noticed the unending hopelessness of my job situation (it's not that bad, freelance projects seem to fall into my inbox on a regularl enough basis, but no "real" job seems even to exist to apply for) has been turning me into a bit of a whiner again, and I'd like to nip that in the bud.

Does anybody else have some trials and tribulations they want to share?

 photo DSC_2343_zpsf0d1fa46.jpg

 photo DSC_2316_zps1ae4ca89.jpg

Photos by Victor

Wednesday 23 April 2014

flowers and serpents

 photo DSC_2208_zps94f37913.jpg

 photo DSC_2197_zps88a6aaef.jpg

 photo DSC_2200_zps73804bcf.jpg

 photo DSC_2196_zps0b0df58a.jpg

...and here we are. Flowers and Serpents, a collection of stories by 14 English-speaking writers in Barcelona, edited by me and designed by Víctor is in the world. And otherwise it's Sant Jordi, it's sunny, I was brought a long-stemmed rose in bed this morning, and the day as been full of books and deliciousness. I'm off to enjoy the rest of it! Scroll down for a gratuitous picture of my cat...

 photo DSC_2211_zps2dd3d7df.jpg

 photo 077a2970-2c23-4571-92a2-9f61fb7f8b72_zps643e06e6.jpg

 photo DSC_2201_zps08d5dc67.jpg

Tuesday 22 April 2014

new niu publishers

 photo DSC_2149_zpsf4408d9f.jpg

 photo DSC_2166_zps76c873ab.jpg

Tomorrow in Saint George's Day, birthday of Shakespeare, Cervantes, Nabokov and my father, Day of the Book and the Rose in Catalunya. I generally celebrate it by walking and looking at the books and enjoying any chance to celebrate the written word. Last year I even appeared on a newspaper supplement as one of the poster-children for reading! That was pretty special. But this year is even more special because Víctor and I converted ourselves into a literary editors and publishers for the occasion.

For a few years now, I've been part of an English writing group here in Barcelona. We meet every week to discuss each others writing, suggest improvements, give encouragment and so on. Members are a mixed bag of English teachers, journalists, translators, editors and others (we had a doctor once, and we currently have an ex-priest) and come from pretty much any English-speaking country you can think of, as well as some Scandinavians and exceptionally fluent locals. ANYWAY, in time for Sant Jordi this year, I decided to organize a collection of some of our short stories. I edited it (I work as an editor anyway, but it was great to get to edit fiction for a change) and Víctor did the graphic design (he also has a history designing books).

We snapped these pictures the day before it went to the printers... it's amazing how a DSLR can make anything look glamourous, even head-ache, eye-ache, back-ache, lack of sleep, lack of hair-washing or make-up applying... I think they're just golden because I was so content to be doing what I was doing. (Although seriously, next time writer people, we're going to talk about formatting before you give me your submissions). It looks like I'm fake-working but I really was correcting like a maniac at the time.

The anthologies are back from the printers and I can't wait to share them here tomorrow!

 photo DSC_2164_zps8819c7d4.jpg

 photo DSC_2152_zpsbcdd638d.jpg

Saturday 12 April 2014

first signs of summer in spring

 photo DSC_1873_zps44e23765.jpg

 photo DSC_1856_zpsd9e79a13.jpg

 photo DSC_1858_zpse33b9d3d.jpg

 photo DSC_1862_zps449f97a7.jpg

 photo DSC_1883_zpsb9a47d12.jpg

While there was no winter to speak of this year, spring has been vacillating back and forth between blustery-chilly, and almost summer. On one of the summery days, I went to both a brunch and a barbecue (talk about overeating) to catch up with some of the friends i never see enough during the winter months and to meet new ones, such as the darling poodle puppy Marley.

It was a day for a pretty green dress, baking pear and chocolate scones in the morning, cheerful flowers, lounging in hammocks in the afternoon.

 photo DSC_1911_zps07b0a8b8.jpg

 photo DSC_1930_zps98c0e0cb.jpg

 photo DSC_1938_zps5231b1ce.jpg

Saturday 5 April 2014

library of babel

 photo DSC_1332_zps52d57643.jpg

 photo DSC_1305_zpsc20dc858.jpg

 photo DSC_1315_zps77513c44.jpg

 photo DSC_1306_zps36532cfc.jpg

I think I'm not the only one in this space who loves a good book, so I thought I'd share these pictures from one of the most impressive bookshops I've been in. Perhaps its location makes it seem even's the type of second-hand bookshop you might imagine in a creative corner of a big city...but not in a suburb of a small town a good forty minutes by train from the metropolis. Victor, Rosa and I dragged ourselves out there on a Sunday afternoon to see an exhibition, and our jaws more or less dropped as we walked into an unassuming warehouse. On the inside, old books were piled on tables and in tight rows up to the ceiling and a wooden bar decked out with chandaliers and wooden ladders served (extortionate, every silver lining has a cloud) drinks. You can get a glimpse of it behind me in the first picture. I snagged a copy of Dubliners for four euros and went to town taking pictures.

P.S. Rosa and I have a history of being photographed in bookstores...sometimes even more glamorously!

 photo DSC_1329_zps45084131.jpg

 photo DSC_1322_zpscfaa13ba.jpg

 photo DSC_1335_zps534301d6.jpg

 photo DSC_1312_zps54724221.jpg

 photo DSC_1355_zps3ec8fd20.jpg

Friday 28 February 2014

volcano climbing

 photo DSC_0965_zps8862b251.jpg

 photo volcan_zpsf1860359.jpg

 photo DSC_0966_zpsfd5e4b12.jpg

 photo DSC_0908_zps9e1c9e3c.jpg

 photo DSC_0909_zps0f96b2c1.jpg

 photo DSC_0923_zpsa8982dc1.jpg

 photo DSC_0925_zps59f4161b.jpg

Return of the day trip! After the bridge trip morphed from a small outing to a ten person-three car odyssey, we decided to plan more Sunday days out. This one topped out at 13 people! We drove to La Garrotxa, scene of extinct volcanos that Víctor explained were "the disappointment of generations of Catalan schoolchildren expecting lava and fire." Lava and fire were certainly both in short supply, but hiking in the wilderness (after driving through some really ugly towns to get there), drinking beer in the sun against a backdrop of mountains and fields, and standing in the crater of a volcano were all fun anyway. My favourite part of the day was after our enormous lunch when we went for a last ramble in the gathering darkness through the near-silence, smelling the country smells, getting stung by nettles and talking in the free way you can when you can't see each other...

 photo DSC_0872_zps4537c099.jpg

 photo DSC_0873_zpsd1ef14b0.jpg

 photo DSC_0894_zpsf7b4431c.jpg