Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

26th -29th September 2017 After 14 months of pressing my case at work, 2 pints at lunch and an angrily written email, my boss agreed to let me visit our Madrid office. They didn’t exactly show me to the full business-trip treatment that, say, my boss gets when she (regularly) travels. Yes, flights, hotels and…

Little Europe

11th August 2017 I went out for dinner with a group of Italians living in London. Naturally for pizza. The Italians came from across their country: Lombardy, Puglia, Piemonte, Venice, Naples, Rome. It had me thinking about Italy’s regions, languages and peoples. Lombardy and Veneto recently voted for grater autonomy from Italy, adding to independence…

Bologna I: New Worlds

2011 – 2012 Did I already mention I did a year abroad? in Paris? It gets worse. I drank wine on terraces while watching the world go past. And ate steak-frites. I walked through Montmartre. At night. In the rain (probably, at some point). I didn’t smoke gauloises. And I’ll forever regret it. I sat…

Back and Forth

20th March 2017 I lead a hard life. Before flying back from Huelva, we had a wander around Seville and stopped for lunch in a once-genuinely, now tourist-pleasingly rustic restaurant. The first time I came to Seville was when I was living in Granada. The two cities are rivals, sort of. The sevillanos just don’t seem…

Habladores

17th – 19th March 2017 From Faro, it was an quick 90-minute bus ride to Huelva. My girlfriend gets quite travel sick so I had to do most of the talking (while also arranging where, when and how we would meet my friends M&J). We’re quite a talkative couple – as are the friends we were…

Fleeting Moments

Simenon’s work features some of the most searingly genuine and true characters I’ve ever found in a novel. They can often be bizarre and are never bland but I cannot think of any that aren’t strickingly human. In seven volumes, Proust explored jealous love. Time and time again, Simenon captured a jealous lover in a…

‘Happy’ Birthday

25th March 2017 The European project was begun in earnest 60 years ago today. But the festivities today will be rather muted. As we march through London today, I hope it will be seen as a pro-EU demonstration but cannot ignore its antipathy to out governments apparent negotiating strategy. Let’s suffice today with a brain…

Birthday Celebrations

5th November 2016 For the third year in a row, I celebrated my birthday in Granada. The first year I was living there, up in the Albaicín, the old town. The crowded, white-clad houses and their cobbled streets sit on their hill looking out to their protector, the Alhambra palaces.  Later, the town became the…

The Truth and Other Lies

September 2016 I’ve been re-reading some of the things I wrote while studying in Paris. I had remembered writing about truth and appearances (but must have forgotten the heavy handed zeal with which I intoned). What I found was more about lies. In my clumsy prose, I kept returning to the idea of constructing something true…

Growing Up

September 2016 About a year ago, I was introduced to a group of Spaniards and told to “say something”. Everyone was very amused by my southern Spanish accent. (It was a step up from the older madrileña I met on a flight once who asked “Can we speak in English? Your Spanish is ugly,”). One…

Terrorised

2001 After 9/11 and with many of our parents working in the centre of London, my school lifted its nascent ban on mobile phones. Our heavy, monochrome mobiles (mine still had an antenna) would be allowed on school premises, kept in our lockers, in case we were called upon to jam the networks attempting to…

A Dark Day at the Beach

June 2016 And so we’re back where this blog began. I’ve tried to show the extent to which my life has been shaped by Europe (studying in France; living in Spain; friends from across the continent) and I’ve described some of the memorable experiences I’ve had in my continent since the idea of the EU…