Gate Crashing

19th May 2017 Like a proper European, I’ve had the summer off (apologies!). Not from work, sadly, but I have been able to squeeze in a few trips. The sun was out when I arrived in to Dublin. Which was lovely to see outside while I waited in the airport pub for my firend to…

Summer Break

8th September 2017 When the sun comes out in London, the capital is a great place to be. The city is very green and full of rooftop bars and pub gardens. And the weather is nicer than most people imagine. But that’s over now. This week has been grey and miserable. Somehow, I prefer working…

A Funny Ol’ Year

23rd June 2017 It has been a good twelve months. A change from the morning of 24th June 2016, when I went to sleep (in Spain), head spinning from the EU referendum results. Since then, I’ve been to six Spanish cities, to Frankfurt briefly (twice); I learned some Italian in Bologna (where I was told…

Flying through Frankfurt

5th – 7th May 2017 The day before dinner with my Polish housemate, I had gone for a drink with two friends from uni. They have been together since our second year and will soon be married. After a fair few beers (and a more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’ stand up comedy show), they asked me to…

A First Supper

13th April 2017 Now I’ve explored (from time to time) the self-loathing of the bottom of a bottle. But I’ve not often resorted to vodka to do so. (Beer and wine usually fill my particular void). Our new Polish housemate took us for dinner at Mamúska in Elephant and Castle. Anyone who knows that area of…

Bologna IV: Ciao, Ciao for Now

30th March – 1st April 2017 My last days in Bologna followed a similar trend: lots of food and lots of talking.  An older English woman in my class was growing increasingly frustrated with the school. She had lerned (and then taught) French in the old-school style of studying Latin and Ancient Greek; and although…

Bologna III: Getting my Hands Dirty

28th – 29th March 2017 Day two of my Italian course went smoothly. We were sudying direct and indirect peronal pronouns. Useful. Not much of a story there. I went for lunch with an Italian girl I’d met the night before. In the old market district, the streets still carry the names of the produce…

Bologna II: Styling it out

27th March 2017 An aunt of mine learnt German without studying or classes; but by spending a few months in the country. She learned “by ear”. I have nothing but envy for people like her. Others must study: grammar, vocabulary, syntax, pronunciation-through-phonetics. For them, languages are logical, rule-based and can be calculated. I don’t have enough…

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…