Thursday, March 07, 2013

Culture to eat!

Listening to Chopin played by Ashkenazy was soothing enough as death defying motorcyclists wove their way around me on the motorway this morning, but being accompanied by sunshine made the whole experience positively mellow – even when a car driver, who was obviously newly arrived at his vehicle having just graduated from his motorcycle, attempted a three lane motorcycle swerve in his car narrowly missing startled drivers – even then, the tinkling ivories through Ashkenazy’s stubby fingers (I know I heard him play in the Memorial Hall in Barry of all places) wafted my anger to another place and stability was restored.

It is clearly getting lighter in the mornings and that does its bit for the mood with which one sets off for school.  It is still not easy to get up at the ungodly hour that I do, especially as I was well into a very vivid dream about the appointment of a new headteacher in what appeared to be my old school in the UK, with my seemingly having some sort of authoritative overview of the tasks that the candidates were being asked to do. 

As I recognized most of the candidates, it probably says more about my subconscious that I made them fail so spectacularly, though just at the point of waking up, I was actually questioning why a particular task had been given to one of my colleagues when he obviously couldn’t even come near to completing it successfully.  Perhaps it was just as well that my mobile phone alarm clock interrupted this line of thought!

As is usual in a Protestant view of life, the sunshine has come at a price.  I was greeted in school with the news that one of our colleagues is not here so classes will have to be collapsed to accommodate this absence.  Today is a “short but full” day so the added irritation of double class sizes will make the end of my teaching time all the more welcome!

The concert yesterday was spectacular, but now I want to remember the misery of trying to find something to eat before the thing started.

As concerts in the Liceu start at 8.00 pm it usually means that the length of Operas mean that one is stumbling out onto the Ramblas after midnight into the welcoming hands of prostitutes, pimps and purveyors of illicit booze.  There is little there to tempt one to stay and find a bite to eat before the trip back.  It is therefore advisable to find something before the concert starts, but the timing is not good as “dinner” does not start until after seven and then one is rushing from the restaurant to the Liceu and one gets to one’s seat hot, bothered and with a touch of indigestion.

This time I found a little tapas bar in the Gothic quarter and found myself sitting down with a plateful of goodies before I thought of how much it was going to cost.  This was something which was only a momentary spasm before I thought of a way of justifying the expense.

I had previously tried to get a meal in the central Barcelona store of El Corte Ingles where the view from the top floor over the central square and the surrounding buildings is spectacular.  The service was, however appalling and I decided to leave as I had been comprehensively ignored by all the waiting staff who looked morose and resentful throughout my stay in the ignored seat.  The cost of the meal that I didn’t have would have been €18 (!) and that was just for the dish of the day, so when I was sitting in my little tapas bar I felt that I had a certain leeway as far as cost was concerned if I compared it with what I didn’t spend there.

Such twisted logic has kept me happy throughout my life!

And the tapas were exotic and poncey in exactly the way I like!

Tomorrow, as soon as I get home, preparations for the Essay Weekend must start.  I intend to have a rough draft of the thing done and dusted by Sunday evening.

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