After Will threatening to do away with me if I didn’t stop leaving dirty teaspoons in the sink, I’m sad to report there has been yet more cleaning-related conflict this week. On Sunday, we had a fight because I suggested (or ‘ordered’ as he puts it) that Will clean the kitchen while I took care of the other rooms; he was angry that I was being bossy, I was angry that he was angry and it resulted in an hour of door-slamming, furious mopping and heavy-hearted scrubbing from both parties. Yes, we argue about the really important stuff.
I eventually flounced out of the flat (more door-slamming) to go for a walk along the beach. Because if you’ve got a beach on your doorstep, that’s where you go when you’re in need of a think, isn’t it? Just ask anyone in Home & Away.
I’d just found a spot to have a nice sit-down and a meaningful gaze out to sea, when a man came into my line of vision. He was sitting a few metres in front of me, reading a paper and, apart from a shirt, he wasn’t wearing anything else. What is it with this incessant flesh-baring? I know it’s a beach but it’s not summer anymore, you’re not going to get a tan, you’ve gone to the effort of putting on a shirt, just put on a pair of trousers love, and stop terrifying the women and children!
I quickly moved on, but it wasn’t time to go home just yet. When you’re in a strop you want to string it out for as long as possible so I wandered around for a while longer, hungry as I hadn’t eaten since breakfast but adamant that I was far too furious to eat. I sat on the steps of Barcelona Cathedral, just around the corner from our flat, a bit like a child who pretends to have run away from home but who is actually hiding in an upstairs wardrobe. Eventually I returned, half-expecting the living room to be filled with heart-shaped helium balloons, roses and a string quartet. It wasn’t, but the kitchen did look really, really clean. Thanks Will.
A transparent cross-sectional model of Las Ramblas. I call him 'Lampy'.
Casa Batlló is a large house on the Passeig de Gracia, a long, wide street that runs north from the Plaça de Catalunya to the Avinguda Diagonal. It is instantly recognisable, because the windows are irregular, swooping and multi-coloured, flanked by bone-like struts and topped by a humped, scaly roof that looks like a dragon’s back. The inside of the house is an airy, spacious grotto of cool blue walls, swirling ceilings and abstract submarine forms. It’s a big place, but there are lots of nooks and crannies and clever cupboards, so it’s cosy, too. It is probably the nicest house I have ever been into, from a design point of view. The only thing ruining Casa Batlló, when we went there last Saturday, was me.
“This must have been such an amazing place to live,” I droned, mooching from room to room with my audio guide stuck to my face like a big mobile phone. As the home of one of the city’s richest merchants, Casa Batlló was where the cream of Barcelona society came for parties and receptions, my audio guide told me. Wow! That must make me the cream of Barcelona society, because I was free to wander about the place as much as I liked, having paid my €16.50 at the door. I stopped to take a picture of the cosy, shell-like nook designed for couples who wanted to sit by the fire. Luckily for me, it is now roped off, and no couples will ever be allowed to sit there again, so I could get a proper photo. I shuffled into a small room which I think might have been a bedroom for one of Señor Battló’s ten children, but is now a gift shop, and then I wandered upstairs to take some more photos.
Back in the good old days, Señor Batlló would probably have rolled up his sleeves and kicked this bimbling, camera-toting intruder out onto the Passeig de Gracia, but now any such behaviour would be recorded by the security cameras that adorn every wall in his old house, and I’d be able to sue him. The cameras are a feature Gaudí probably never thought about, along with the fire exit signs and the smoke alarms. That house was designed as a beautiful home for a big family and their friends, but now it’s full of berks like me. On the other hand, I got some cracking pics in there! Nice one!
A window. I call him 'Window-y'