Two Dream Homes

It was such a beautiful day that we went straight to the coast and decided to leave balnearis for another day!  We did stop off in Caldes de Malavella and found out that one of the huge hotel spas didn’t really cater for day trippers while the other – Hotel Vichy Catalan – offers lots of different packages for a reasonable price.
But….leave the dogs in the van while we relaxed in mineral bathes?  Not possible.
So we went to a beach called St Pol near Sant Feliu de Guixols, had a slow walk around the coast path and then a long and even slower lunch in El Racó de St Pol.
There are some lovely seaside houses on this part of the coast – places to dream about and imagine how it would be to go down for early morning swims in the green blue sea.

Blue had been given the homoeopathic remedy Thuja in the morning and was bouncing up and down the steps along the way. I’ve not seen her so happy and lively and pain free for years.

A week in my life

It’s been a good week with lots of movement – various aspects of life evolving and changing although, on the surface, everything is more or less the same.

You know the sort of week – time goes by, things happen, some days are better than others?
First – I finally went and had my hair cut in Granollers

 I had been putting it off.   Fear. Timidity.  But I am pleased with it and feel so much better, bouncier, lighter.   I managed perfectly well to explain what I wanted – in Catalan – and when the woman was washing my hair I did my usual MMMMMMmmmmm to show that I like having my head massaged (some people don’t!) and she continued to spend about 10 minutes massaging my whole scalp. I fell asleep – it was incredible.

The weather has been cold – today -4. But the sun still shines and it’s lovely during the day to be out and feel the warmth on your cheeks – it’s not hot but strengthening every day

We went for a walk up on the hills behind Mataro

Blue managed to walk all the way up to the top where we found an abandoned masia and dreamed of buying it and making it our home

It is so wonderful to be out in the countryside, to walk without traffic or people, to hear birds and see the sea in the distance

This week I have been practising Castellano as I realised it is getting harder and harder to speak it now that Catalan is dominant in the foreign language department of my brain. I have switched back to Spanish National Radio 3 to practise listening. On Saturday they played this song which I think would be lovely to dance tango to. But on the Catalan side of things I am feeling happy that we have almost finished the book we bought last year, Les Veus del Pamano. It feels like a big achievement and I understood almost every word.
On Saturday there was a class of Contact improvisation here in Llancadora.  It helped me relax after these two weeks of pain and at last I felt myself coming back into my body after the double shock of hurting both hands so badly.
On Sunday we had the tango class here again but for the last time as the teacher can’t afford to pay rent for the space!  It was 15 euros but he didn’t have enough people.  It’s been great to do some leading again as there were more women than men and all of them happy to practise with me. I am beginning to miss teaching tango so perhaps sometime I’ll start it up again and perhaps combine with English practice!

Today was my drawing class and tonight is the first meditation group at Tiffanys house.
New beginnings.

I feel that Spring is just around the corner – as if the seeds that are buried deep in the dark frozen ground are beginning to come to life. Something inside is shifting and wakening. We’ll see. For the moment – here is the cake that I brought home for tea, to celebrate the first day of my hands feeling better!

Walks round Granollers

We went for a beautiful walk on Saturday. It wasn’t far away – just up the hill past the hospital and then through the industrial estate and suddenly there was the countryside. When you get to the edge of Granollers or somewhere up high, you realise it isn’t so huge really.
We took the car so Blue could come too and after parking she walked up the hill in fine fettle (what is fettle I wonder?)

In the distance that’s Montseny crested in snow

On the top of the ridge there is a mirador, a sort of folly which was build in the early 20th century. There were wonderful views all around – Montseny on one side and Montserrat on the other.

It was the end of the day and the moon had risen – here visible through the bare branches of this tree.

A figuera, fig tree – such a stout strong tree which is resistant to both dry and salty conditions.
I love discovering these new walks and this one although too far for Blue, could be reached entirely on foot. We had a phone call while up there asking if we wanted some last minute tickets for a Barça game. Somehow I didn’t feel like starting to rush home after this lovely walk so we decided to wait for another time. Also, the cold was beginning to bite and home and the sofa began to seem very tempting.

A winter walk on the beach

I wanted to drive to the sea.

On a ‘normal’ road. Not something with three lanes and everyone driving at 100 km/h.

If you come out of the house and turn left and drive straight down Joan Prim you will arrive at the sea – at Masnou. Except you can’t drive down Joan Prim as it is one way so you have to do a little dog leg around by C/Girona and then straight down to the coast.
For many people it is better to go on a fast road but for me it was heaven and it took us past familiar landmarks like the church at Palau which Tiffany sees as she takes her early morning walks.
Unfortunately once at Masnou we couldn’t find a way to the sea. All along this coast there is a railway line blocking access from the road and you have to know in advance where you’re going to cross over. So we ended up going to Cabrera de Mar and via an underpass, found the perfect car park for Blue to launch herself straight onto the sand

There were no fights today. We kept either Bonnie or Duna on the lead while the other ran free

The sunset was incredible and we even had tea in the van so could sit and watch the colours change

Blue walked all the way to the other end of the beach and back, stopping for a long time to eat something unidentifiable hidden in the rocks.
Others had been there before us

The drive back was on another ‘normal’ road. This one goes straight from Mataro across the Corridor through the Coll de Parpers. We didn’t meet a soul from one side of the mountain to the other. Bliss.

Back in Granollers I parked the van in her new underground parking space and as we unloaded the dogs I made the mistake of leaving my fingers in the wrong place as the door slammed shut. I never knew I could scream like that – luckily the place is soundproof and there was noone else about. It’s quite a primal experience that sort of pain and thank goodness some superhuman instinctive reflex made me pull my hand free just as the door arrived. Otherwise I think I would be like the woodcutter in the joke someone told me in the street this week.
He went into a bar and held up his hand saying ‘five beers please!’

But let’s not finish with this gruesome image – here’s Bonnie taking a rest from digging and chasing sticks in the waves
These are the best moments with the dogs.

Dancing Tango with the Dogs

So, you know I have three dogs and that one is older and can’t walk far?  And the other two need long walks but fight each other so can’t be allowed too much time free and off the lead?
Well, it is a challenge to give each of them what they need or can cope with and still have a life myself.

How many walks can I do in one day without going crazy?

I asked the universe for help and, as so often before, Tango came to the rescue.
Now I go out every day with my ipod and dance with dogs and each and every walk is enjoyable.
Blue and I dance to Canaro. we start with Poema which is the perfect speed for her. Also it allows for many long pauses as she stops to stare into space or smell the deeper tones of each lamp-post. We seem to be completely still but no, we are still dancing.
Bonnie and Duna need to walk fast and rhythmically. We dance to D’Arienzo.  Usually we start with El Flete which is perfect and gets us into the groove. They have no time to look at each other or growl, the music leads us forward without hesitation.  Across the little square, along the narrow streets, down to the new park and over the river and almost of the Granollers. I am the pack leader and allow few stops, they pick up on my energy and trot happily beside me. We steer round other people and dogs and children without getting distracted by them.
Sometimes we waltz and occasionally dance a milonga which keeps them awake and connected as I change my pace and sometimes mark time on the spot or take longer or shorter steps. Perhaps people watching us think I am mad but it doesn’t seem to matter as we are enclosed in our tango world which feels like a private space.
Bonnie and Duna and I now have another favourite – it’s called Tango Brujo and is played by the orchestra of D’Arienzo and sung by Hector Maure. The words are quite wonderful and his voice is deeply satisfying.  The words and music are by Canaro.
I had never connected with this one before but I do believe that tango is a witch and can do magic!
Tango bravo, tango lindo,
Tango noble, tango guapo
Tango hermano
De mis largas noches tristes,
Compañero de mi pobre corazón.
Tango bravo, fascinante,
Tango brujo!,
Tango bravo, combativo,
Tango bravo,
Tango gaucho
Que a pesar de tanta contra
Defendiste con altura,
Tu bravura de varón.
(I wanted to put the music on here without the videos and if anyone can tell me how to do it I will next time! But the Chicho film is interesting – reminded me of having some classes with him in Buenos Aires)