asparagus season


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So we’ve all been enjoying asparagus season here at Casa Azahar, and especially Luna. As soon as she smells it cooking she goes mental, meowing and spinning around in circles. But as you can see, they all love a little snack of asparagus.

People often think this is odd behaviour, and perhaps it is, but then that means that I have ALWAYS had odd cats. As you can see here in this video of Azar and Sunny, taken many years ago…

going for it…


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So after the HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT of not getting my CT scan results yesterday (though I DID get to ride in a Jaguar XF!) I have decided – fuck it – I’m just going to go for it. I’ve been putting off making any summer travel plans. You know, JUST IN CASE. Because if I suddenly needed surgery or treatment, well, then I’d lose deposits and/or entire payments for hotels, flights, etc. Given that I’m not feeling too badly and that nobody seems to know what is going on… I have decided to book my summer holidays! Today.

First up… three days in Granada in mid-July. It’s been over three years since my last visit and I really want to catch up, and also hang out with Gayle @granadatapastour on her home turf. From there I will carry on to Málaga for a few more days. Not sure for how long yet, but that is flexible as I am staying at a friend’s place.

Then… a week in San Sebastián at the end of August! I have been planning to visit my friend Gabriella @tenedor (aka Shawn of The North 😉 ) for YEARS. And now it is finally going to happen. I will also spend a day or two in Bilbao, that bit is still up in the air. But I am going to book my flights and then the rest of it I can sort out later.

And so, excited and nervous. Apparently I have the next oncology appointment on July 5th, though I wasn’t given a time and was told I will have to sort that out myself. In the meantime, life goes on… I hope…

the jag


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So this morning was THE BIG DAY. After several months of tests, including the original PET scan, then a colonoscopy, endoscopy, blood tests, a CT scan with another follow-up CT last week… I was finally going to get my results. To hopefully tell me what is going on with the mysterious “area of inflammation” they found during my last PET scan in February.

I won’t lie. I’ve been a bit of a mess about this since they started “investigating” this inflammation. I do my best to live in denial and just carry on with my life, but when it comes to stuff like booking a tapas tour a few months in advance, I am left wondering if I’ll actually be able to do it. Likewise with my summer plans. I’ve been putting everything on hold until I got the “go ahead”. Which was supposed to be today.

Except it wasn’t. I got to the hospital and after more than an hour in the hot and crowded waiting room, I was shown into the oncologist’s office… only to be told the CT scan results hadn’t been processed yet. WTF? My oncologist looked surprised and said – “oh, didn’t they call you yesterday?”. Well of course they hadn’t fucking called me yesterday, otherwise I wouldn’t have been there. Also, I wouldn’t have lost most of this week in a state of suspended emotion, not daring to feel or hope… JUST IN CASE. And so I sat there not believing this was happening. Then the doctor pulled a date out of the air – July 5th – to meet again, saying that FOR SURE the results will have been processed by then. Well, what choice do I have?

I walked out of the hospital feeling a whole whack of mixed emotions. In some ways I was relieved because “no news is good news”. Well, maybe. But I was also annoyed at having lost my entire morning, not just the 3 hours getting to and from the hospital, and waiting there, but really the whole day up until then. BUT… what saved the entire experience from total disaster was… my taxi! I always taxi to the hospital and then usually walk back, mostly because I am so stressed before going that a taxi is a comfortable and easy way of getting there.

Anyhow check it out. I got into the taxi, not paying much attention. Then I noticed the big JAGUAR logo on the dashboard screen. And so I stupidly said to the driver – THIS IS A JAGUAR??? Then I went all fan girl, saying how Jags were my favourite cars and that I couldn’t believe that I was in a Jaguar taxi. The driver informed me that not only was this was the only Jaguar taxi in Sevilla, it was the only one in Spain. WOW. I told him that I was going to the hospital for test results and that I took this as a positive sign, and also that it was so cool that I’d be arriving there in style. And bless him, he said he was sure this meant everything was going to be okay. Then he showed me a photo of his friend’s taxi – the only Maserati taxi in Spain. I’m telling you, this totally MADE MY DAY. Being driven to the hospital in a Jaguar XF.

Meanwhile, I now have two more weeks of hellish anxiety until the next oncology appointment. I wish I would have asked my driver for his card so I could always call him up when I have to go to the hospital…



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Here you see the landmark Edificio La Adriática in Avenida de la Constitución, now reduced to housing cheap & cheesy souvenir shops. Below was once a traditional family-run shop in Calle Francos that is now a tacky “express market” catering to the tourists living in all the holiday apartments in the area. It’s bad enough that we’ve already lost Barrio Santa Cruz to this sort of crass tourist-focused commercialism, but now it’s spreading further afield. There is almost no more affordable decent housing in the Casco Antiguo. Likewise, independent shops have been closing in droves, only to be replaced with shit like this.

Yes, tourism is one of the most important industries in Sevilla. Heck, it is also (in part) how I make a living. But by destroying the centre of town like this, what will be left to attract people here? Before long what was once one of the most charming and beautiful cities in Spain will soon become a wasteland filled with tacky shops, awful bars and restaurants, and streets filled with huge tourist groups. Wait… soon become? It’s already happening. Shocking that the local government is just looking at the short term profits. You’d think the Spanish would have learned by now that if you over-fish an area then soon there is nothing left. I hope there is still time to turn this terrible greed-fueled trend around.

summer drinking


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Pretty much the only fluids I drink are water and wine. Okay, I have a cup of coffee and small glass of juice each morning, but really that’s about it. During the winter I drink room temperature water, and a lot of it, at least two litres a day. And sad to say, I drink mineral water, which makes me feel guilty about ALL THAT PLASTIC (even though I do recycle). It’s just that at room temperature the tap water can taste a bit weird. But in summer I do this! And I love it. Jugs of chilled tap water filled with lemons and limes. It’s not only delicious but I can drink it guilt free. Though I still take a bottle of mineral bottle to bed with me at night…