The night I got back from Madrid I was welcomed by all the cats, but it was clear that Morcilla was especially happy to see me. I’ve been wondering how to tell her I’m leaving again on Sunday…
A couple of months ago I spoke with my landlady about the possibility of installing a split in the living room, rather than using the central aircon/heating system, which costs a fortune (and frankly, I don’t need to be cooling and heating half the apartment that isn’t used most of the day). I offered to go 50/50 with her on the price, but she told me that if I wanted to do this then I’d have to pay for it myself and – I quote – “you can take it with you if you move”. Huh? So I decided to forget about it.
Then a few weeks later water started dripping from the kitchen ceiling (well, false ceiling – the heating/cooling unit is up there) and eventually it was discovered that the old machine was low on gas, but because it was so old the type of gas it used is no longer made. So now the landlady had two choices: replace the entire central system or get a split for the living room. She chose the latter, though not without trying to go for the 50/50 deal again. Too bad for her she didn’t take me up on my original offer at the time.
Anyhow, here is my new split, somewhat oddly placed near the balcony door instead of the centre of the room (landlady wasn’t going to spring for an extra 50€ to install it further inside) and I’m not sure if it’s actually powerful enough for the space (I’m pretty sure she went for the cheapest unit she could find) but hey, it works well enough and should save me a lot on electricity. Also, it’s good to have aircon again. While I was away in London poor Peter had to suffer through 10 days of 40º temps because they weren’t going to install the machine until I got back.
Have to say though that this latest incident with the landlady makes me want to move more than ever. She went on and on about all the “expenses”, how she couldn’t afford to pay for a new split, etc, etc. Give me a break. She and her husband are both lawyers and her family owns this entire building. And when I met with her to talk about this she brought up other “expenses” from 3-4 years ago, as if they were my fault. Meh. Luckily I don’t have to deal with her very often. But if they put the rent up in February then I’m outta here.
I always like to take advantage of the summer and winter sales here to stock up on basic stuff like sheets & towels, so today I went out to see what I might find and ended up with a whole whack of towels and one new set of sheets for me. I thought I was being quite decadent until I checked back on the blog (so handy that) and saw that the last time I splashed out on new sheets was in 2013 (I honestly thought it was much more recent). Then I was shocked to see that my last new towel purchase was a year before that! Well, judging by the state of my towels I shouldn’t have been that shocked, but whatever. Now I have lots of everything, though I still want to get a second set of new sheets for me.
What’s weird is that for at least the past 25 years or so, I have never bought patterned sheets. Or coloured towels. I’ve always had a thing for white or off-white when it came to sheets and towels (and nightdresses too, come to that). Okay, a little embroidery was fine, but no colours, other than in quilts and duvet covers. And suddenly today I wanted these happy bright poppies on my sheets and deep blue for the “guest” (actually roommate) towels. Roommate also got new sheets along with the new bed in May, so I am feeling totally up-to-date in that department.
So what to do with the massive pile of old towels and sheets? Well, what I always do with old clothes and such. I wait until after 8 pm and leave them next to the bins up on the main road near me, in unsealed bags so people can easily see what’s inside. And they are usually gone within an hour or so (municipal rubbish pick up is long after midnight).
I don’t even know what’s “normal” when it comes to stuff like this, buying new sheets and towels. Once a year? Every two years? Three? Also, as I said in another blog post, this has never been a huge priority for me. I always prefer to spend my money on experiences. How about you?
Last night I got home late and was getting ready for bed when I took a step back without looking and landed full force on poor Luna’s tail. Her response was to sink her very impressive teeth into my calf – TWICE – before tearing off to hide under the sofa. Well, there was blood everywhere and I had to get into the bathtub to rinse off my leg, and then staunched the bleeding with a betadine-soaked cloth. After the worst was over I spent the next 20 minutes trying to coax Luna out from under the sofa. She finally came out, visibly shaken, and let me pick her up, rub her belly, kiss her head, all that jazz. When I saw she had calmed down I went back to my wounds. The two massive vampire bites on my calf had started to throb and I was reminded of the last time this happened (it was pre-blog or I’d link back) about 15 years ago.
My friend Jim had left his pretty siamese girl Echo with me for a week in the hope that my handsome burman Sunny would get her pregnant. Well, that bit didn’t work out, poor Sunny didn’t seem to know what to do, even when (castrated) Azar demonstrated by mounting Echo several times. Meanwhile, Sunny’s mother Lua was not pleased with having company and one day Echo strayed too close and got a serious whupping. Because I’m stupid I got between them in an attempt to break things up at which point Echo clamped her teeth onto my ankle and Lua walked off in regal disdain.
Then I saw the blood, and so with Echo still attached, I made my way to the bathroom. Finally Echo released her jaws of death grip and ran off, leaving me to bleed all over the bathtub for a good while. That ankle still bears the Mark of Echo to this day. At the time I didn’t think much about it, other than the next day when it hurt so bad I could barely walk, and a friend said I should really get a tetanus shot. Let’s just say it was quite an adventure trying to get a tetanus shot on a Sunday in Sevilla in the summer.
Fast forward to waking up with super painful vampire bites and wondering if I had to get another tetanus shot just in case. Quick call to my doctor confirmed that it was probably a good idea, so off I went to my local medical centre. But when I got in to see the nurse she told me it probably wasn’t necessary (it’s not like in the old days! she said) but since I couldn’t remember my childhood vaccinations, or even when the last booster shot was (other than about 15 years ago) she gave me the injection. I really liked this nurse – she was the sort of no-nonsense and clearly knowledgeable person I like to have in charge of my health. Very likely I won’t need another tetanus shot before I die, which is a good thing because my arm hurts almost as much as my vampire-bitten calf.
When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?
Don’t judge me. I’m actually a great cook, love cooking. But I’m not tidy about it. Once I get going I tend to leave a trail of destruction in my wake… but the results are always tasty. I’ve tried tidying as I go, but find it gets in the way of the creative process. 😉
Anyhow, in this case I was making a tortilla and some other snacks that would end up being mostly consumed by flatmate Peter. In return he does the washing up. Win win! Because I’d never make all this stuff just for me. What’s your cooking style?
So that’s about half of Morcilla up there, after her first wet combing last night. And OMG she loved it. Then I tried it on the other two this morning (and Morcilla again) with mixed results. Loki and Morcilla swooned with pleasure, Luna was clearly just putting up with it. But afterwards all three of them were not only shed of excess fur, the rest of their fur was sleek and clean (ie, not dusty) and everyone was happy.
This all came about when fellow cat lover Nancy Li asked me on Facebook the other day if I’d ever wet-combed the cats, saying that hers loved it, especially on hot days. So I finally gave it a go and I think we are all hooked on this now. I met Nancy I don’t know how many years ago on the Slow Travel forum, and also met her in person when she and her husband visited Sevilla. We’ve been FB pals ever since. Once again, the power of the internet and social media, bringing people together and – bonus! – helping with your cat grooming needs.
One of the many joys of living in Sevilla is that I get to wear sandals 8 months of the year. Which means I still have to wear shoes for 4 months, each day of which makes me feel somehow TRAPPED, especially when I also have to wear tights (socks are bad enough). My toes were meant to wriggle around free, so of course the first thing I do when I get home is kick off my footwear and go barefootin’.
Well, okay, in summer I also give my feet a nice cool wash after being outside in HOT SANDAL WEATHER. And in winter I need to wear slippers to keep my feet warm, but always opt for the soft “fluffy sock” kind of slipper, rather than the ones that are basically shoes with hard soles. In short, whatever is or feels closest to being barefoot is when I feel the most comfortable and my feet are happiest.
And so today, while taking a nice long afternoon break to watch a film (hols at home!) I was struck by a couple of scenes with people at home WEARING SHOES and it occurred to me that this is always happening in films and television programmes. People wearing shoes at home. Like, while they’re cooking or relaxing… today it was a guy lounging on the sofa reading the newspaper and WEARING SHOES. I mean seriously, do people in real life actually do this?
While I was in the throws of The Torcal Incident a couple of weeks ago, Victor asked me if I wore shoes at home or went barefoot. Perhaps he was just trying to take my mind off possibly having to be airlifted out of the place with two broken ankles, but he said that he’d heard that older people (presumably ME) had way better balance if they didn’t wear shoes at home. And again I thought “who the hell wears shoes at home?”
So I ask you… do you wear shoes at home? And if so… WHY?
So yeah, the BIG NEWS is that I’ve decided to take a couple of weeks off, and possibly longer. Well okay, not exactly OFF in the sense of not working, or going away somewhere, just not doing my tapas tours for awhile so that I can focus on getting caught up on my other work (massive backlog of blog posts and photo editing) as well as work on some new ideas for We Love Tapas. Re: the latter, there are a couple of things coming up this autumn that I think will be very exciting, but I do need some time to get those going properly. Yeah, I know my Trip Advisor rating will probably suffer as a result, with all the posers racking up fake reviews on a daily basis but, to borrow the pithy words of the Divine Marina O’Loughlin… “I don’t hate it because it enables reviews of and tickets for cruel animal attractions, or for its climate of blackmail-enabling entitlement. I hate it because it’s shit.” Suggest you read this article.
Of course it’s great that while I am “away” I can steer my clients towards We Love Tapas, because the team is going to be working all summer long. Meanwhile, my summer getaway plans are still going ahead, with Galicia Getaway booked for the end of August, though I may swap San Sebastián for London, not sure. Or do them both?? Really no idea at this point. All I know is that for the next week or so I am on “hols at home”, which is mostly about doing a lot of research and writing. But it feels great, and I’m also focusing on healthy light eating at home. Feel very privileged that I can work like this, doing things I love, in the way I want to do them. Anyhow, watch this space…