Okay, so it turns out I’m really not great at keeping this up to date. It’s been another three weeks since my last post, and so much has happened since then I’m probably not going to be able to fit it all into just one blog post. But, naturally I thought I might as well try.
So the first weekend in November marked my return to Durham for Bailey Ball. While the night didn’t exactly go according to plan – still sheepish – I had a wonderful weekend catching up with all the familiar faces. After a post-ball recovery brunch over England-New Zealand and Wales-Australia, I headed out for a Flat White (where else) for a lovely coffee with Sam to swap stories of life outside of Durham. After the Grey College fireworks Saturday evening, Anna cooked us a delicious roast dinner (my first in months!) and fully warrants the title of domestic goddess after plying us all with copious quantities of Ben & Jerry’s.
Sunday morning I was treated to brunch at Nikki’s before the Remembrance Service in Durham Cathedral, which really was quite something. We were lucky enough to be seated surrounded by police and armed forces personnel and the service itself was very humbling. I’ve never been that big a fan of our national anthem (can I say that? Is that treason?) but hearing it sung by over a thousand people in a space like the Cathedral was inspiringly patriotic. We also watched the parade of armed forces walk from Palace Green to Market Square, where the new centenary statue stands.
Sunday evening, after a lovely drink and all-too-brief catch up with the Benenden girls (we did all turn up in the same outfit, completely by coincidence), Ed and I took a trip to Whiskey River and topped a great weekend off with some Urban Oven – I finally got my pizza. The next morning, after a slightly teary Starbucks with Flo and Paddy, and some complete miscommunication with Anna that left her stranded in the cold on Newcastle station platform – sorry, AJ – I hopped on my train south and returned to Gatwick for my flight. To console ourselves after our return, Liz and I made a beeline for Bacoa, for beers and burgers and a good, old-fashioned gossip.
I slotted right back into Barcelona life very easily – I’m a serious creature of habit and so having a fixed daily routine is fairly easy for me. That said, I haven’t been getting out of work until gone 7, so the weekend after my trip to Durham was incredibly leisurely. Liz, Alicia and I enjoyed cocktails and red velvet pancakes on Thursday evening, then on Friday after the gym I managed to pass out at 10.00 – great success. I had planned to spend Saturday ticking off all the food places I’d flagged up, but only made it to two, having slept late and eaten too much at the first to continue my food tour of Barcelona. Pathetic.
This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Claudia, Danielle, their American friends from uni out here, Monique and Mikaela (from, of all places, Montana), and an extra special surprise, Bean! We had such a lovely meal at Copasetic (possibly the new Brunch & Cake, but that’s a bold statement) just catching up and swapping stories. The rest of the week passed fairly uneventfully, except, of course, bumping into Hot Guy From Work at the gym, post-beating my personal best time for a 7.5k. I have learned a new French phrase: je ruisselle de sueur – I’m running with sweat. Gross.
Friday we were blessed with the return of Luce from her exile at home while she’s been poorly, so we celebrated it in very appropriate style that is very much not appropriate for the internet. My intended leisurely Saturday was slightly corrupted, in the best way possible, so rather than take it easy and make a dent in my book (still The Goldfinch, still would recommend) I headed out to meet Liz, Maddy and Edris, from John’s, for some recovery churros. We spent a lovely afternoon taking the piss out of Renaissance art at the MNAC and tucking into a Spanish-style late lunch of pintxos and restorative beers.
I had the added excitement of plans to see Emma, at dinner with Danielle and Hen. While I had absolutely no intention of going out, after two glasses of white wine and the most incredible dinner at BarcelonaMilano – out of the way but sensational, cannot emphasise enough – all of a sudden going out seemed like a brilliant idea. Made it to the hilariously named “Sutton”, which the Spanish pronounce like “futon”, which transpired to be a Mayfair-wannabe club with champagne girls and middle-aged men. Nevertheless, after not paying a thing to get in, we danced like freaks in the flamenco room then called it a night after raiding a 24-hour bakery – never has a pastel de nata tasted so good.
A dreamy Sunday was spent strolling Ciutadella Park with Luce, and Anna and Steph, who were visiting from Toulouse. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life as we swapped woeful stories of our Bridget Jones-esque antics and watched an Adonis on a bike try to impress us with his BMX skills. Safe to say, it worked – Luce didn’t quite curtsy this time, but she did manage to stumble her words trying to say “Adios”, which was embarrassing enough to set all of us off in fits of giggles. It was like we were thirteen again.
Then, Luce spontaneously whips out four tickets to a daytime party at Shoko, down on the beach. After convincing us by saying “Guys, it’s just like Gospel Project!” we swapped comfort for sparkles and headed down to Barceloneta to discover no, it was not at all like Gospel Project. Instead, Luce had negotiated us access to a salsa party – never have I felt so embarrassingly out of place in my life. We capitalised on the free cava and extraordinary people-watching, before calling it a – very early – night. An all-girls sleepover at Luce’s topped an excellent weekend off, watching chick flicks and eating macaroons. Just don’t tell them where they were from…
This week was slowwwww – after possibly my favourite weekend yet in Barcelona, returning to real life was a bit of a blow, and I spent much of Monday completely distracted, watching the window cleaner on the building opposite mine and pondering the legitimacy of pathetic fallacy as the first raindrops in quite some time struck the windows.
Fortunately, I’ve been treated with another amazing weekend this week – Mama Morrell was visiting from London, and we celebrated Hamish’s birthday, too. I’ll try and write a post about it, but don’t hold your breath; it might be another three weeks.
Bisous et besos. S. X