Friday, 16 October 2009

Week 3


The urgent need to improve my Spanish became apparent on Wednesday when I met our old lady neighbour, and we had a five-minute conversation in which I mainly grinned stupidly, repeating “soy inglesa, no entiendo”. Still, I’m sure relations will improve and we’ll soon be chugging back cava together every Friday night.

I’ve decided that the life of a freelance journalist is much like when you first start going out with someone: You obsessively check your inbox every 30 seconds to see if you’ve heard from any editors, your heart leaps when you see you’ve got a new message, then you plummet into despair when it’s a newsletter from Ticketmaster. However, I remain buoyant and I’ve resolved to look for bar work and I’ve also just filled out a form to get a refund for paying too much fuel tax on a Virgin Atlantic flight in 2005. If only they had Boots here, I could use my Advantage Card points to buy lunch.   

While money is tight, Will and I are doing our best to avoid Barcelona’s many tempting bars and restaurants. On Tuesday we decided to go for a post-dinner walk at around 11 o’clock (I’m getting used to Spanish hours and I’ll quite happily eat dinner at 10pm: this is from someone who has been known to fall asleep in a restaurant. Sorry Amy and Catherine). We wandered through the Gothic Quarter and ended up sitting in Plaça Sant Felip Neri. It’s my favourite thing we’ve done in the city so far: the square is a magical and ghostly place, especially at night when the tourists are safely tucked up in their hotel rooms or over on Las Ramblas. As we sat by the fountain, we noticed the damaged façade of the church which, it turns out, was hit by a bomb during the Civil War, killing many children who were taking shelter inside. The architect Gaudi was on his way to the church here when he was run over and killed by a tram in 1926.  

I don’t want to end this entry on a sad note, so I’ll finish by reporting that I bought some 3 Euro trousers yesterday.  

A gargoyle, yesterday.

 Last Sunday, I watched a man walking a small, hairy pig along the promenade at Sitges, a little town down the coast from Barcelona. The pig was wearing a collar and lead, as a dog would. But it was a pig.

This week, Christina and I have been doing our best to get some work done. Work is important, because I need to buy a new guitar – my old one received a broken neck during a late-night prancing incident in a French campsite – and Christina thinks we should have food and accommodation as well.

There are two kinds of work that I’m doing at the moment. The first is brilliant fun: I go to a café on a secluded alley in el gótico, where I am often the only customer, and I sit at a table outside with my notebook and work on a short story. The second is the business of freelance journalism, which involves sending out lots of emails and often being ignored. I take each rejection with all the pragmatism and sang-froid of a teenage girl, so I’m beginning to think it might be smart to get a trade. The following options are open to me:

Chauffeur: how hard can it be? You just drive around. I’ve got a sat-nav.
English teacher: I speak English. Not sure what else you need.
Guitar teacher/busker: also, this gives me a good reason to buy a new guitar.
Carpenter: I know the Spanish for glue (cola), and I like the smell of sawdust.

All these options became defunct, however, when I spotted the following advert in the classified ads pages of Barcelona Connect, an English language magazine, under ‘Sales and Marketing’:

Cabbage Sales
Looking for a door to door cabbage sales person. Previous experience not necessary, full training given.

I replied immediately. ‘Dear Sir,’ I wrote, ‘I have extensive experience with cabbages…’ I won’t reproduce my application here in full, in case some crafty vegetable-hawker tries to copy it, but let’s just say I’ve got a good feeling about this one. Within days, I will be riding a cartload of brassicas about the Old Town, singing a merry song and enjoying the heady life of an itinerant cabbage-trader. My parents are going to be very proud. 

'Your dog looks hot, Brian.' 
'Tell me about it... he's positively bacon!'

1 comment:

  1. HAHA!!! You guys are great! Good luck with finding a job!!!
    xxx BarceloMIA