iPasapalabra!

I love this television show (Pasapalabra, obv), it’s not just a fast-paced word game, it’s also an instant vocabulary builder/combined language teacher.

We hardly missed watching a show, when I lived in Spain; the pace of delivery increases as the round nears its conclusion, creating an exciting spectacle.

But the feature that used to make it all the more gripping was the sheer pace that the quizmaster can deliver his questions at in the dying seconds.

I had one private Spanish lesson a week and one group Spanish lesson a week for a year before we moved, and when I lived there I continued having lessons once a week.

But Pasapalabra taught me almost as much as all those lessons, and increased my lexicography a thousandfold.

Enjoy!

And for those who don’t speak Spanish, check out the differences between the Castellano and English alphabets 🙂

The highs and lows of a family trip

Since I arrived in Andalusia on my quest to spend some quality time with Daughter I’ve moved from sea level to 3,468 metres, spending most of my time at 1,350 metres.

There are so many things, so much that I’ve seen, that are worth commenting on, if I have time I’ll try to pick them off over the next few days.

But for now, here’s just one thought.

How is it that the overtaxed British public have to endure a road system routinely equalled in many Third World countries, whilst Spain (a borderline Second World country) has roads – even the Alpine-like mountain roads – that are surfaced and as smooth as a baby’s bum?

iHola España!

So.

This bright and breezy bonk bank holiday weekend I am away to sunny Spain to spend some quality time with Daughter. Or perhaps I should say Niña? Or even Hija?

Anyway.

I’m sure she’ll find many ways of keeping me occupied – after all, I know nothing apparently, whilst she knows everything there is to know in the universe.

It must be a large cross for her to bear, being so young and so knowledgeable. I feel quite sorry for her; having to lug her know-nothing Padre around the distrito de Granada whilst taking the pee out of him and loving him in equal measures must be quite a task!

Note to self:  don’t mention the Go-Karting we did a few months ago

I am, it must be said, really looking forward to seeing her but at the same time, to be honest, less than enthusiastic about going. Now there’s a tricky situation!

For strictly personal, non-daughter-related reasons, obv. I’ll get over it, I guess. Probably.

In other news…

  • I finished work today. My heart lifts and is borne around the room with its gossamer wings supported by the breeze of a joy indescribable. No more 04.45 alarms!
  • I plan on filling as much of my spare time as possible by sleeping. How can this be bad?
  • We are going to a gig in Witney tonight
  • My horsebox (10t Ford Cargo) is being fitted with a new starter motor tomorrow
  • We are going to a gig in Oxford next Thursday. Yes that’s right, I am flying back from Spain early, just to go to a gig!
  • We have a night at the theatre in London village booked for the week after next, and a night at a nice hotel
  • We are probably going to Italy the week after that
  • We are talking about having a weekend in Stockholm in November. To go to the ballet, no less!
  • I had a blindingly good idea for a novel in a meeting yesterday

I’m quite excited about all of these things, but the new novel prospect sets my pulse racing and makes me breathe a little quicker. It’s amazing what travelling on the Underground does to the imagination.

I’m really not sure that I’m capable of carrying it off, I think it’s too big and a much too mature and intricate piece of writing for me to deliver but it’s my bloody idea so I’m going to give it a go.

So you see, although I’ve been very quiet lately, there are things going on.

Now then, I need to plan the playlist for this weekend’s podcast. It’s going to be radical, man. And no, that’s not a euphemism for ‘I haven’t done it yet’.

Honest!

Booking things

I’m almost done…

After a difficult series of telephone calls with Daughter last night – but only difficult because, well, you know, she’s a girl – I was able to use the interwebs to spend some money.

  • Flights booked and paid for? Check!
  • Car hire booked and paid for? Check!
  • First set of accommodation booked? Check!
  • Second set of accommodation booked and paid for? Check!

In fact, the only thing not yet taken care of is the airport car parking, but that can wait, it’s less important.

Hmm… what else have I done today?

Breakfast in bed for Soph, obv.

And reading; in fact I’ve just finished Neil Gaiman’s peculiarly compelling tale of multiple Londons, ‘Neverwhere’.

Soph’s up.

Yeah, I know!

So perhaps a walk in to Witney next?

And Costa?

We’re meeting Perpetual Spiral for a drink this evening. If we can stay awake.

Because, you know, it’s been soooo hectic today.

Hiiiiiiiiii…. (fake smile)

How are you?

Mwah, mwah.

It’s been simply ages darling. You look gorgeous as usual.

Was it really two weeks ago when I sat down and chattered in to this keyboard?

(No it wasn’t, get on with it, Ed)

So my contract is due to end very soon and I’m planning a trip or few.

The thinking is currently that in very early September, once the Fiesta season in the crazy Spanish village of Bérchules has finished (they’re celebrating New Year right now – and that party lasts 24/7 and all week long), I should duck over to Spain to spend some quality time with Daughter.

Then back home for a day or two, pick up Soph and head off to Italy for a few battery-recharging days because we could both do with a little quality time together.

Then come back and do a short refresher course – it’s been years since I was on a motorbike – just to, you know, keep my hand in.

And then start scouting around for the next contract.

Whatcha fink?

A brief Spanish respite

I’m sitting on the couch in the house in Oxfordshire looking at photographs taken and listening to audio recorded while we were in Spain last week.

The photographs are brilliant; taken on the beach in Roquettas de Mar just after we’d been zooming around the Go Kart track.  So we’re a little hyper. 🙂

There’s this one:

Daughter on the beach

Daughter on the beach

And there’s this one:

Daughter and Soph paddling

Daughter and Soph paddling

And there’s this one:

Daughter

Daughter

On the audio front, I’ve accidentally captured Daughter telling us the disturbing tale of Marta del Castillo.

Marta disappeared from Sevilla in January. After questioning by police Marta’s boyfriend – Miguel – confessed to her murder, saying that he had hit Marta with an ashtray and then, with the help of two of his friends, Javier and Samuel, had thrown her body into the Guadalquivir river.

However, in a second statement Miguel said that they had not thrown her into the river but into a rubbish container near the flat where she was allegedly killed.

A few weeks later Miguel made a different statement and claimed that it was his brother Javier who had killed Marta – and had done so by strangulation.

Daughter is positive she saw Marta on the beach a few weeks ago.

However, spooky tales of disappearance and murder aside, we had a brilliant time in Spain. And it was nice to catch up on cuddles, hugs, giggles and hiccups. Daughter hiccups because I make her laugh so much. 🙂

Dun travellin’

(for now, at least)

We are back in the land of the very peculiar people. I say this because I am still getting many phone calls a day for the car we sold almost two weeks ago.

Someone rang at 02.30 the other morning. What the fuck goes on in the head of a person that makes the act of calling a total stranger up at 02.30 to ask after a car for sale, an acceptable act?

Anyway.

We have many things to talk about but for now it’s time for a little rest and relaxation.

Daughter, by the way, is totally excellent. She’s also one mean Go Kart driver (even though she’d never done it before!).

More travels

So we’re back from Liverpool.

Soph (bless her), has unpacked, shoved a load of washing on and is upstairs splashing around in the shower.

I have caught up on emails, blogs, spoken with Daughter, done some eBanking and booked and paid for our flights to Spain on Wednesday. And booked and paid for the car hire too.

We have a punishingly early check-in which, coupled with travel time to Gatwick, I’m really not looking forward to!

I’m also slightly nervous about the fact that I’ve delegated to Daughter the sorting out of accommodation.

I don’t want to stay in the local hotel because the owner wears a pointy hat, rides a broomstick and (as an added bonus) is the meanest most malicious gossip in the history of the Known World.

Leaving this task to Daughter means that it’s entirely possible Soph and I might be bunking down with Daughter’s pony up on the Finca.

Mission. Imp. Ossible.

I don’t want much.

Apart from intolerance to vanish.

And racist bastards to be put to death. And tax collectors. And politicians. And stupid people. And chavs

See?

I don’t want much.

I would like to see Daughter at Christmas; fun though our telephone conversations are, they’re not the same without her happy face in view.

I’m sitting here trying to plan a travel itinerary that would allow this to happen; have her come and spend a little quality time with her loving Dad.

The way it has happened in the past has been both complex yet simple:

1. Catch the morning EasyJet flight from Stansted to Almeria
2. Get met at Almeria by Daughter and Beastly
3. Daughter and me catch the evening Ryanair flight from Almeria to Stansted

And then, about a week later, do the whole thing in reverse except:

2. Get met at Almeria airport by Beastly who collects Daughter and sneers at me, in the ‘I’ve got a piece of shit on my shoes and an unpleasant smell up my nose’ manner that only exes can achieve.

I said ‘trying to plan’ because there are a couple of flies in the ointment (how apt to be able to use the word ‘fly’ in dual context at the same time!)

Fly #1: Ryanair, it seems, have stopped flying to Almeria. Bastards. This means that I must have an overnight stay in Almeria on both legs of the journey.

Fly #2: EasyJet have stopped flying from Stansted to Almeria. It’s now Gatwick. Gatwick, my friends, is completely the wrong side of London. This means that I’d have to get up at something really stupid O’Clock to catch the morning flight on both UK to Spain legs of the journey. And Daughter, believe me, is sooooo not the morning person that her loving Dad is! In fact, getting her out of bed for school is a continual battle of titanic proportions which one day she will win and then the world as we know it will cease to exist. Or something.

What would be brilliant and would make me happy and smiley and touchy and feely and stop me slaughtering innocents who happen to wander beneath my feet as I tread the gold-strewn pavements of Westminster is a simple solution:

1. I fly out on the EasyJet flight
2. I remain on the plane and Daughter walks through Departures with the other passengers
3. We do our initial kissing and hugging onboard
4. We both fly out on the returning EasyJet flight.

But that’s not allowed.

OK then, how about this:

1. I fly out on the EasyJet flight
2. I disembark with the passengers but with no luggage, go straight through customs, pick up Daughter in the departures lounge and…
3. We board the same (returning) EasyJet plane and fly ‘home’

Erm no. That’s not allowed either because check-in for departing flights closes before the flight has actually touched down, IYSWIM.

So that’s why I’m trying to book a travel itinerary. One that involves two overnight stays in Almeria and flights four flights from/to a British airport on the wrong side of London.

Fantastic. Absolutely fanbloodytastic.

B.