Market Day Granollers March 2014

It is Thursday so it’s market day!

I like getting ready to go out to the market, my wheelie basket at my side.  Here in Cataluny you don’t have to be an old lady to use a shopping trolley. They are practical and almost everyone has one.  I was laughed at in the UK when I walked with my old wickerwork trolley and of course it isn’t so useful when you are in a car. But here where the market is just five minutes down the road, it means you can buy all the fresh fruit and vegetables that you want and also have a handy weapon to help you get through the crowds

Look down the hallway and perhaps you can just make out the freshly painted walls of our sitting room. We painted it white last week.  I have been wanting to do that for four years!

And in the kitchen there are three fresh baked loaves

 After Bonnie died I got a huge urge to start baking bread.  I lost the ability quite a long time ago and after producing several hard inedible bricks I gave up.  But something has changed and so far they have all been delicious.  It’s good to know exactly what is in your daily bread
I use Delia Smiths recipe for quick easy wholemeal bread.
The two little ones are half wheat and half rye.
The one on the left is half Kamut – an experiment

So, off to the market. I will try to take photos but I am nervous ever since one of the gypsy stall holders ran after me shouting not to take pictures. I need to get over this.

Market Day in Figueres

Up bright and early to go on the school run to Figueres. Bonnie was a bit surprised to be leaving the house at 7.30am when it was still dark.

We had a wander around the market watching them set up their stalls. It was much quieter than the market in Granollers – people standing around chatting rather than shouting at the top of their voices.
But to be fair perhaps they are like that in Granollers too at 8am – I have never been to look!

In the vegetable market there is a large sculpture of George and the Dragon – both looking strong and proud – forever caught in that moment before the fight begins. I much prefer it to depictions of the dragon losing the battle. But whatever George thinks – that Dragon will always rise again!

Beside the police station with it’s Spanish flag there is a window with the Catalan one

A Figueres hotel welcomes old cows like me!  In the Taurean sense of the word.
As we left town it began to rain – I can’t remember the last time it did – and as usual most people had umbrellas handy – except us!
Yesterday we took the Blue Dog sculpture down to sit in place beside Blue’s grave.

A very peaceful place to sit and dream.

A red dress on Market Day

I went to the market today, wearing something a bit more cheerful than usual and it’s amazing how this can affect your mood. People stared at me but at least I could imagine this time it was because red attracts attention and not because I look like a weird foreigner

While waiting at one of my favourite stalls I filmed a little so I could see how it felt doing it in public.
Answer – it felt awkward!  Here I am – don’t know why my voice is so squeaky!
It will be another challenge to get comfortable doing this but I’d like to be able to film local sights and it helps if I can talk at the same time.
In the end I did my shopping in Catalan as usual as it doesn’t feel ok speaking in Castellano with people I normally talk to in Catalan. Unless I explain every time what I am doing which sometimes I do, but more often not.

So exciting that the cherries have arrived!
As I was waiting an older woman arrived at the stall and instead of asking ‘la ultima?’ she started buying her stuff although it was obvious I was there first. I really had to squash down the urge to turn away and buy things somewhere else. The guy knew it had happened and was friendly when he came to me so I commented how often this happens to foreigners, that you can end up feeling you are invisible. He listened but didn’t really reply – sometimes I wonder if it is because I haven’t explained it correctly or if it’s just that people here don’t say things like that.
Wondering if my red dress makes me stroppier?  Or perhaps it’s being a year older so I am beginning to feel like the old woman who wears purple and doesn’t care. I also had my toenails painted this week which is another amazing magical way of gaining confidence

Then I went to the olive stall where the man is not very friendly – nothing personal I know as he was the same with Pep one day. After buying three bags of olives and he seemed as grumpy as ever and I couldn’t keep quiet any more. I said – in English with a smile – ‘you are very scary’.  He ignored me totally but as I was just on the point of paying he couldn’t go away so I said it again then translated into Castellano and Catalan…….’tengo miedo de ti’…… ‘tinc por de tu’
All the waiting women in the queue started laughing and said – ‘yes, you are very serious today’ and he laughed too and suddenly the atmosphere was so much better

Funny how you can change things with just a few words.
I wonder if I am changing into someone who says what she thinks – in three different languages?

Warning – When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Virtual Vermut

So at last we can sit down for a virtual vermut. It’s sunny and hot and I want to enjoy it to the full as I am off to Cornwall again on Wednesday and someone told me it’s cold there!
Sorry about Friday – I don’t know what happened with the blog site but it was impossible to get online. But my friend Bodhi Chicklet was ready with a bottle of bubbly on the right day so I hope you went over there instead!
So much of life seems dependent on technology now and it can really wind me up – only a few years ago these things didn’t exist and I don’t like feeling so vulnerable to the whim of the airwaves. Perhaps they are the new God – we don’t understand them but we try to please them and hope they won’t suddenly knock us to the ground.
I have the feeling that I keep up, but only just. I can’t get my phone to send pictures by email – something which would evoke derisive laughter from the Resident Adolescent, if I dared to ask him for help! And now yet again my  whiteboard drawings are stuck on the phone and I can’t send them here. Not even by Bluetooth……which I am quite proud of knowing about. It still fills me with awe that I can press a couple of buttons and music or a photo will just invisibly move from one machine to another.
If this is how I am at age 54 then how will it be in ten years time?
54 – yes, it was my birthday at the weekend and we went to the Costa Brava.  Sometimes I feel like an innocent abroad, a wide-eyed child who still jumps up and down with delight

I still get a thrill from words like Costa Brava, Mediterranean, Barcelona…..I have to pinch myself that I am here. Must be all those years living in rainy cold climates huffing with asthma and being buffetted by sharp winds. By the way, do you see those small beginnings of muscles on my arms? That’s the gym starting to work……more on that later.

So, when I see a vegetable market I HAVE to look round the stalls

And after shopping, I HAVE to have a coffee on the terrace of a cafe.
The sight of a pastisseria makes me HAVE to eat a cake

and when I find a beach with  sparkling blue green Mediterranean waves, I HAVE to swim

The taste of Orxata makes me swoon although I could have it every day if I wanted

Duna came too and enjoyed the sea, drinking it by the bucket after a long hot walk with the inevitable consequences later that night

Talking of markets and my excitement when I see one – I took these photos in Granollers last Thursday. I love this one of the men’s arms stretching across a sea of fruit and vegetables

These aubergines looked like a painting

Talking of arms…….I don’t know what to do about Golds Gym. I had a really good session last week and also a more tense one. Depending on who is in charge there is music on Flashfm or a combination of videos and music on CD.  If there are videos you get the opportunity to study at close range some of the fantasies of the men in the room. I don’t think you really want to know about this in detail. Perhaps another day I’ll tell you more. But sometimes I am so glad that I am probably the only person in the room who understands the words of the songs!
After one of these not-so-nice sessions I girded my loins to return on Thursday – only the promise that ‘running will make the weight drop off you’ makes me go on days like these. When I arrived the place was almost empty. No videos, no pumping muscles, no stern unsmiling faces to greet me at the door. I did my running – more than 20 minutes straight through. When you get on a roll it feels like you could go on for ever. Like you get into a groove and it carries you along.
No sign yet of ‘the weight dropping off’ me though.
Then, for the first time ever, another woman, who wasn’t Tiffany, walked in. Ok she didn’t look at me or smile and she was young beautiful and slim and dark. But somehow I felt the presence of more oestrogen in the room and it made me relax. I ran another 15 minutes before leaving with more of a strut than my usual scuttle to the door.
When you arrive in the gym this picture greets you

– after that it is all sweat and iron, noise and boys.
Hope to see you next week. We might have to make it a virtual gin and tonic? Not sure where to get vermut in Penzance.