Being A Cook In Barcelona

Innocence abroad

Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

When I was young and stupid, I decided I would take a job in a soup kitchen in Barcelona. I had some Spanish, and speak French, so why not? It would make good stories. (I say this about anything. The good and the bad. Even the appalling.)

The accommodation was basic, to say the least. But my time off was my own to explore the city.

I had to go to the market to buy fresh vegetablesIn Spain, there is no queue or line for anything. It is the survival of the fittest. Huge women huddled in front of me. I was overwhelmed.

A young woman at the stall saw tiny me and beckoned me over. She asked what I wanted. Full of gratitude, I told her. She said to come to her every time I needed to buy vegetables.

I had friends from around the world. I spoke to locals in French and tried to improve my Spanish. One friend started having stomach pain, and it turned out to be constipation.

A group of us set out to get him a remedy. We went to a pharmacy, and used a Spanish word book and gestures. The Spanish love gestures, they use them all the time.

The pharmacist listened and watched carefully. Then his eyes lit up. Ah, we thought collectively, he is getting what is needed. However, he reappeared with Vicks, a rubbing on vapor for colds and coughs.

So, once more into the breach. We used more Spanish words from the book and started pointing at my friend’s anatomy. The pointing seemed to work well. The pharmacist produced some tablets with a flourish. We were relieved.

Twenty-four hours later, I heard my friend describe the enormous result. I wish I could unhear it. I am still in touch with that friend, and he will never forget Barcelona.

Photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash

We visited the cathedral, which was unfinished. It might be now, I lose track.

Toward the end of my stint as a cook, I was asked to cook for twenty-two people. I went to a supermarket to buy meat. Big mistake. Stick with what you know. The labels were unrecognizable.

I could not eat that meal. I think I bought horse. I am a horsewoman. I cannot eat horse. Ever.

I loved Las Ramblas. A pedestrian road full of mime artists, artisans, and pickpockets. So colorful. And Plaza Catalunia. A lovely space to sit in the sunshine.

It was bocadillas that gave my friend constipation. They are long, white rolls. Even filling them with tomato, peppers, and other salad items did not prevent his predicament. But he got a bad stomach in El Salvador, so I stopped feeling bad. At a friend’s wedding, all he could eat was plain boiled potatoes.

I’ve forgotten most of the vegetable names I used. I still have some Spanish. It all makes good stories.


A weird day…

My gardening friend dropped in today. I knew she was coming but was totally unprepared when the door was knocked. She lets herself in, but Martin was home, unusually, and he welcomed her.

I have been cold today again. Tomorrow is meant to be 18 C. If it is, I will go around the harbour.

The cannabis disappeared after I ate some twice. If it fell, or Martin took it I have no idea.

I am desperately trying to reduce my use of electricity. My last bill was horrendous, and I am a low user. Of course, Martin adds to the usage. It is hard to gauge the difference.

My cousin phoned and was horrified at how my surgery treated me. At least I won my complaint.

My editing suite is looking horrified at the tone here. It’s not my tone though but certain words trigger it.

I’m grateful for my garden and my friends. I find joy in my plants, and the birds.


For Jane

A poem

A flash of lightning
His life was gone
Hurled up in the air by a car

Ragdoll-like, puppet with no strings

Without knowing, in that second
She was bereft
Rap rap on her door, police
He’s cold an hour now

Cards flowed in, meaningless,
Her love was gone
She was a puppet on a string
Thank you for coming

No sophistry for thishow could she
Plan to be a widow?

Hurled up in the air her life
How does one proceed without her late- no,
Her dead husband

Published in The Lark


So very tired and cold…

When I wear layers, I get too hot. When I don’t, I freeze. Today I have mainly been cold.

I went especially to see D, and she metaphorically slapped me in the face. Wow, I did not see that coming.

Some of my symptoms have given reprieve. I am so grateful. I slept for three hours this afternoon. I still crave sleep.

Martin knows I have caught him out. I don’t mind, I’m used to it now. And he may be a dickhead but he is my dickhead. I love him in our way of love.

My ex-husband hurt me, briefly. He crashed into my life uninvited and thought he could control my future. No, he can’t, so he threw his toys out of his pram. That is not my business.

I am trying just to be grateful and loving.


The kindness of strangers…

Last night I woke in pain as I had gone round the harbour and got stuck on unmown grass at the end and no one was in sight. I put my trolley in neutral and put the back down on the seat. I laid over it and walked forward and then saw people.

I am grateful for the kindness of strangers. Thank God. But then Martin and I got misunderstanding each other and I got no sleep after 3 am.

I napped today, but no I cannot stand up. I am waiting for Martin to get back from his bike ride.

How much fluid can my body make/? How much can pour from me? I can;t cope…


After great weather it cooled…

The weather over the weekend was so good. I enjoyed it, although my symptoms are still in overdrive.

Martin woke me really early this morning. He had found the instructions that we needed . I felt so bewildered. He lengthened my day of discomfort by an hour at least. He said I wake him, but he has a tremendous ability to sleep well.

I finally got to speak with a doctor. I had to phone the surgery again. It was torture. I didn’t hear the advice I was given yesterday because of the distress I experienced by calling.

I am relieved that I had a long nap this afternoon. I would not be coping otherwise. Sleep is like gold to me. I need it to have relief from my body as well as to refresh my mind.


Pleasant weather eases my body…and it’s Resurrection Day…

Found on Facebook.

In the last few days the weather has been so pleasant. Not hot, just warmer with lovely sunny days.

I have planted in the garden with Martin doing the heavy work. I got trapped a couple of times. But we both managed to keep calm.

Yesterday morning, we sat in the garden and chatted. I found myself doing small jobs. It was because Martin was there that I was able to hold back. I have got my weed burner out of the shed. I can start to control the Honesty. I learned that it is not Honesty, but can’t stop now after 17 years.

The weather is good for my body. The terrible multiple symptoms I had last week have calmed down quite a bit. How grateful I feel! I thank God. And today is resurrection day!


All is well, but dying is exhausting…

The person I angered has forgiven me. He came home, and we ate together as if nothing had happened. This morning I laid my head against his knee and played with my hair. He held me, and I laid my head on his shoulder.

I don’t have an infection. Why my breathing is noisy is inexplicable to me. I keep leaking fluid and wet myself too.

My specialist is in charge. My family doctors completely failed me.


I have angered someone I love

A day of misunderstandings. I dealt with one problem successfully, and thought someone else and I had agreed on something. Then I got an email summoning me for a blood test. I thought I could ask that someone when we met. Except we never met. I searched for them and then had to go alone.

I am having so many symptoms that I hide. I have felt so weak for 5 weeks now. Three courses of antibiotics and steroids. On Sunday, I walked into a door frame. Yesterday, I did the same but less hard. I am still bruised from injections done in February. My vision was blurred today.

But far greater than all that, I have angered someone I love. Their phone is switched off. They turned it on long enough to tell me what they feel. And they deserve to tell me. I deserve their hurt and anger.

How can I put it right? I so want to.


Feeling weak…

I have not recuperated from the chest infections. I still feel weak and listless. I have started antibiotics again. And steroids.

I will not be asking Martin to go. He is economical with the truth but does not lie. I could not go on without him holding me, without talking with him and he tends my skin so gently.

Martin is staying, and we face what is together.