still blue

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I know we need the rain, but it’s so hard to wish for it when the sky is this beautiful (and I can still wear sandals!). I was thinking that Anna @annalibera would bring rain with her from Galicia when she visits next week (like she usually does!), but they are in the middle of a drought up there so who knows what will happen.

A quick check back (my goodness this daily blog posting thang is useful 😉 ) shows me that I didn’t have to start wearing tight & shoes until November 7th last year, so there are probably still a couple of weeks of sandal weather left.

How’s the weather where you are?

they’re getting older…

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It occurred to me as I was placing an order for cat food delivery this week that it was high time Loki (7 almost 8) was switched to “mature” food. And Luna (6 and a half) isn’t that far behind him. But Morcilla (4) is still a kid. So now the fun begins. I’ve mixed one bag of Young with Mature and this 50/50 mix will serve as transitional food for the oldsters. Meanwhile, Morcilla will stay on the Young food as much as possible … for the next three years! My schedule is too crazy to keep to three separate feeding times, so doubt they will munch on each others’ bikkies now and again at midday, but at least morning and evening Morcilla will have her higher-calorie food served separately.

pizza!

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Sometimes only a pizza will do, right? And my favourite place for a pizza is in front of the original Casa Azahar in calle Mateos Gago, at L’Oca Giuliva. This was a diavola “devil” pizza, hinting that it would be hot and spicy, but of course I would have sprinkled more chillis on it. Wonderful pizza though, with (for my taste) the best crust in town. I’d be in big trouble if they ever started a home delivery service.

reunited

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Every now and then the fabulous Victor @welovemalaga whips through town on one of his many special Mediterranean group tours, which usually give me a small window of one hour in Sevilla to meet up with him. This time it coincided with a visit from the “Cheeky Pigs” Stephen & Julia (who also know Victor from previous visits), and so we all met at one of our new favourite tapas bars Berrinche. A short and sweet visit, but always better than nothing.

shawn quijote

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Remember back in August when I finally got to meet long-time Twitter pal Francisco and his friends Eduardo and Miguel at La Grulla? Well he sent me this mention in the ABC newspaper today and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Having my work recognised is always an honour, but it feels extra special when this recognition comes from my “fellow Spaniards”. So I especially liked the “Sevillana since 1993” bit. 🙂

For those who don’t speak Spanish here is a translation…

Although several neighbouring cities (which we are not going to name – these are not the times for more regional rivalries) have long been trying to snatch the title of “birthplace of the tapa” from Seville, the truth is that little or nothing is done by our city council to exploit said claim.

In fact, just one person, Shawn Hennessey – Sevillana since 1993 – has done more to make our tapas known (through her blog, organizing tapas tours for foodie tourists, and social media activity…) than the entire tourism delegation.

We continue to be a country of solitary Quijotes, and it always takes somebody from outside to remind us of it.

Aunque varias ciudades “vecinas” que no vamos a mentar – que no están los tiempos para más rivalidades autonómicas – llevan tiempo intentando arrebatar a Sevilla el origen de la tapa, la verdad es que poco o nada se hace desde nuestro ayuntamiento para explotar dicho reclaim.

De hecho más hace una sola persona, Shawn Hennessey – sevillana desde 1993 – por dar a conocer nuestro tapeo (a través de su blog, organizando rutas de tapas de guiris-foodies, moviendo contenidos en redes sociales…) que toda la delegación de turismo.

Siguimos siendo un país de quijotes – o quijotas – solitarios, y siempre tiene que venir alguen de fuera para recordárnoslo.

THEM again!!!

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Yes, it’s true. The fabulous Julie & Steven (AKA Julia & Esteban) ARE BACK IN TOWN. This time to spend almost a week here in our gloriously HOT & SUNNY October weather. And of course, to go out with meeeeee! We got off to a good start last night with a bottle of Juvé & Camps cava at the Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience before I whisked them off to one of my new favourite bars Bodega Palo Santo. Looking forward to us being vecinos again for awhile. xx

let there be lights!

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When I moved into the new Casa Azahar in August it was all freshly painted and lovely and clean, but the previous owners had taken their light fixtures with them, which is fairly typical. And so, except for in the kitchen and bathroom, there were just dangling light bulbs waiting to be replaced with something prettier. This was actually the first time in about 20 years that I’ve had to buy ceiling lights, and back then it was strictly white paper globes, which was all I could afford. But although I’m more of a lamp person and prefer soft indirect lighting in the evening, my new place isn’t as bright & shiny as the last two were, and so it was clear that I would have to turn the ceiling lights on during the day *gasp*.

Thus began an almost two-month search for attractive and affordable ceiling and wall lights. You wouldn’t think this would be difficult but it turned out that the ones I liked cost a fortune, and others were too fussy (or, to be honest, just plain ugly). Finally I decided to just settle for the simplest designs in white, so that you wouldn’t actually notice they were there. Except for my bedroom light, which looks like fairies are visiting.  😉

Then of course they had to be installed. Back in the day I wouldn’t have thought twice about dangling atop a rickety ladder and connecting new ceiling lights. But let’s just say those days are gone. I’d received one very high estimate (80€!!) from one person, then I heard of someone else who would do it for half the price. And then my fabulous landlord came to the rescue. There were a couple of repairs that he was going to take care of, as well as swapping out the old oven here for my new one, and he said he’d have his guy come over and install my lights too. Yay!

There are still a few more things I’d like to do with this place, but those will be on me. I have to say I am very happy here and it really feels like home. Cats like it too.

on my own

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A photo of the “office” this morning, with an important difference. Normally Peter’s laptop would be set up on the white table on the right but, at least for this month, he has moved to his own place. We’re still not sure if this will be a temporary situation or a permanent one, but we both agree that it was a necessary one.

Don’t get me wrong. We are still very good friends, and I hope will remain so. But after over 13 years of being flatmates and workmates it was time for a break. I have to admit this was mostly my decision, but I do think it will be a good thing for both of us. I guess I just got to the point where I had forgotten what it was like to just be me at home, and not have another person there, always around, and always reacting to this other presence in my house.

During my last visit to Málaga in August I went through all kinds of emotions when I first got there. I don’t know why, but I was feeling a bit fragile and a couple of times I was even downright panicky. Also sad. But I was also comfortable staying at my friend’s place and visiting my other Málaga friends. The only thing missing were the cats! Then Peter came down for the last two days, staying at a nearby hotel, and suddenly I was “reacting” again to this dynamic we’ve developed over the years, rather than just feeling like myself. And it made me realize that it’s only when I’ve been away that I’ve caught glimpses of another Shawn, either someone I used to be, or someone I could be, and I really wanted a chance to pursue that fleeting feeling. At home. With my cats.

So yesterday I helped Peter move stuff over to his new temporary home. Finding short-term rentals here is almost impossible now due to AirBnB, etc, so whatever happens this place will be temporary as it’s quite expensive. But just for one month it will be fine. And depending on how things go, Peter may come back here in November, or he’ll look for a permanent place of his own.

Right now I don’t really know how I’m feeling. Waking up on my own and feeding the cats, making coffee, turning on the computer… there is both sadness and relief. I can plan my day without having to think about someone else, which maybe sounds selfish, but this is just what I need right now. Maybe a month will be enough of a break for me to feel grounded in myself again, maybe I’ll need a few months, I really don’t know. I do know that if this wasn’t an initial one-month arrangement I don’t think I could bear the sadness. I couldn’t have watched Peter leave with his last batch of clothes last night thinking I’d never see him again. But he’s still around, just over in Santa Cruz, and that’s a comfort.

I’ve actually got a busy day lined up for today, so I’d better get moving. I won’t be posting this on Facebook, which I usually do with my blog posts. I actually seldom use my personal FB, and it was only a year or so ago (maybe?) that I started auto-posting these posts over there. Things have become a bit muddled, as I now have a bunch of “friends” over there, and I’m not sure I want to share this with them all. But this blog has always been where I talk to you guys. So once again, thanks for listening, and for being here. Will let you know how things go – wish me luck! xx