Friday, 12 April 2013

Out and about again.

The other day I took myself off to the hairdressers to sort out the roots that were becoming to evident. One again I had to fight off offers to dye my eyebrows to match my hair, to give me a manicure, to paint my nails with fancy patterns and so on. I did give in and read the magazines again. Who buys magazines like Hola, In Touch, Diez Minutos apart from hairdressers? Can you really be called a journalist if you write for one of these celebrity cult magazines? 

 I learnt that Queen Sofía has been much comforted by having her son and his family around her on her Easter holidays in Mallorca. The presence of the little princesses took everyone’s mind off the problems the royal family had been going through. This was no doubt written before the biography of Princess Letizia was published, revealing details of her past that don’t quite gel with her cleaner than clean image. Mind you I know a fair few people who already thought she had no right to be called a princess. The same people have the same sort of opinions about Kate Middleton. I suppose if you’re a royalist you probably believe that princes should only marry princesses. The trouble is that there are few princesses of marriageable age around these days. It must be hard being a royal person. 

One magazine also told me that despite advice to the contrary the Infanta Cristina is sticking by her husband, Iñaki Urdangarín. Apparently a separation would get her off the hook but she has decided to back him up as much as possible. Well, good for her. I keep hearing about what dire straits they are in, how poor they are now and how they might lose their home in Barcelona. And then I see pictures of Cristina and her children skiing in some fancy expensive resort. Hmm, once again it’s all relative. Somehow I suspect that the people whose homes have been repossessed by the banks aren’t able to afford holidays like that. 

Seeking relief from all this celebrity-watching I took a look at the Spanish version of Cosmopolitan. First you have to plough your way through pages and pages of adverts for clothes no-one can afford but eventually you get to articles claiming to give you advice on your life-style. One of these gave hints on how not to put on weight, such as setting your mobile phone to ring an alarm once an hour to remind you to get up and walk around for ten minutes. I bet that goes down well if you’re a teacher or a nurse or, in fact, almost any kind of employed person. Some of the hints made sense, such as going for a walk after lunch, whether you eat in a restaurant or gobble a sandwich at your desk. 

The one I liked best was about going round the shops. I liked it for its language content. This piece of advice suggested going for a stroll round the shops, not to buy stuff to “practicar el looking at”. Once they explained what “el looking at” is, it was clear that they meant window shopping. If you’re going to borrow English expressions, that’s fine but I really don’t see the point of inventing new ones that the English would never use. I look forward to hearing my daughter or some friends suggest that go and do some “looking at”. Really!!! 

 Meanwhile, we’ve been happy to “practicar el getting free tapas” in a range of different places. When we came here in February we were disappointed to find that one of our regular places, a cafe called “El Cairo”, just round the corner from our flats, had closed. What a disappointment! Now it has re-opened under new management. On our first visit they had only been open two days and hadn’t got into the swing of things. At least that’s how we interpreted the fact that we were only offered one measly bit of bread with some jamón serrano, a bit different from the range of tasty stuff the previous owners provided. Mind you, I suppose that could be why they went out of business. Anyway, since then we’ve been again and they are making a little more effort so we won’t give up on them. 

Yesterday I had lunch out with some French friends at a “crèperie” on Calle Urzáiz. It’s supposed to be a little bit of Brittany. The bar and kitchen area of the place is decked out to look like an old VW camper van and there is an old Beetle for children to play in. They serve cider buckwheat pancakes as good as any I’ve tasted in Brittany. It’s very strange ordering this Breton stuff in Spanish. Apparently the owners are French, not Breton however, and although we were speaking French they addressed us in Spanish. The children of one of my friends, two little girls of seven and nine, slipped happily from one language to the other without problems – one of them even managed to greet me in English as well – and they were beautifully behaved. What a delight! 

Later on, since the sun was shining, Phil and decided to see if we could catch the sunset from the Castro. Of course, the weather changed as soon as we set off. By the time we were approaching the Castro it was bucketing down again so we went home and had a very British cup of cocoa to end the day.

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