Learning to embrace mañana


Woohoo hoo. I’ve been moved up a class. The thing is, I was a move or two ahead of my fellow student. In my new class, I’m two weeks behind. Better that way. Our teacher forces us to dig about till we find a way to express ourselves. I found myself casting about for a way to describe the plot of Colm Tóibin’s ‘Brooklyn’. However did I – sort of – do it? With some help from a fellow student is how. But I’m shattered, truly shattered.

The way forward is to have a long lazy drink and a bit of lunch in a friendly little bar I’ve found in a rather down-at-heel (for ‘down-at-heel’ read ‘picturesque’) square. 

Back to school to do my homework, then maybe a bit of culture. I’m not really capable of giving any museum my best shot at the moment, but it was still good today to mooch round the Baroque sumptuousness of the National Museum of Ceramics and Art, once the palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas, and still recognisable as an aristocratic home.

Home to Carmen’s flat. A chat, TV, a meal. That’s it really. Nights on the town need not apply. Exhausted. But in a good way. And I’m beginning to learn that less is more.  Mañana.

Sunset over Plaza del Ayuntamiento.

Spanish as she is spoke


Today, it began, this business of speaking Spanish. Except that in fact it began last night.

Back in England, Malcolm and I had decided it was pointless to go and study together. We’d only go talking to one another. In English.

So here I am, in Valencia, the paying guest of a delightful Spanish woman who speaks no English. We exchanged a lot of information last night despite the language barriers. We know all about each other’s families, and I know about the parrot next door too.

And today the classes started. My only fellow student is an 18 year old from Beirut. He has eight months to get it right. I have a fortnight. But we devised quizzes, inviting each other to guess where we were born, enquired tenderly after each other’s health, and confessed how old we are, all in Spanish. Not bad for day one.

After three hours of all that, I cleared my head with a walk. Here’s the National Museum of Ceramics, closed today. I’ll be there before the week’s out.