Monday, 4 January 2010

Week 14

At six o’clock this morning, I drew back the covers and took a tentative sniff. It was even worse than I had imagined. As a gust of two-hundred-degree air may singe the eyebrows of a too-eager oven user, so my nasal hairs withered and crackled in the ghastly brimstone of my nocturnal flatulence.

I have been spending too much time in the company of vegetarians, three of whom Christina invited to spend New Year with us. In the last three days I have eaten nothing but spicy white bean chilli, cauliflower curry, eggs, spinach and falafels. As a result of this unfamiliar diet, I am now so flatulent that nearby offices have had to be evacuated. Birds drop dead in mid-flight and fall onto our roof, their eyes massive, their beaks twisted with disgust. The seagulls land with a crunch and ricochet clumsily into the street below, where children in gas masks give them solemn, inappropriate funerals. As far away as Tarragona, 100km to the south, people have reported that fresh milk turns to mucky Stilton upon contact with the polluted air.

With my bottom pouring forth a fresh miasma once every few minutes, every living thing in Barcelona is clearing out. Even the rats have fled. They emerged from the sewers last night and came streaming out of the Raval and up Las Ramblas, making for the hills. A scurrying brown river of nasally offended rodentdom, they crawled over the last few escaping tourists and headed West, where they hope to make a new existence, free from the terrible consequences of my misguided dalliance with meat-free dining.

It has to be stopped. If I continue to not eat sausages and burgers, all of Western Europe will fall. If there is anyone out there with a strong stomach, no sense of smell and their own scuba equipment, for pity’s sake, get me a mixed grill and restore the balance before it’s too late. We’re counting on you.

And a can of Coke, please. And a Twix, for pudding.

A band playing outside the cathedral on Christmas Day

And that was Christmas. Will and I stayed in Barcelona, making it the first Christmas either of us has had away from home. I had been feeling quite homesick thinking about my usual festive routine: Quality Streets for breakfast, a glass of Harveys Bristol Cream with mum while the turkey is in the oven, falling into an Eastenders-and-Coronation Street-induced coma before rising again for turkey sandwiches and a game of Absolute Balderdash.

By Christmas Day my homesickness had turned to actual vomiting. Admittedly, this was the result of too much booze the night before. In the absence of a traditional English pub, Will and I went for the next best thing: an Irish pub. There was lager, there was Guinness and then there was half a bottle of port at about 2am on Christmas morning back at our flat. I can’t decide whether my hangovers are getting worse with age, or whether it’s because I have taken to drinking like a sailor since moving to Spain. It’s not helped by the fact that the spirit measures are so liberal here and I have got it into my head that to drink lots of wine makes me terribly continental.  

Hungover or not, Christmas can be a stressful time. I think Will and I were both a bit nervous that, having spent the last 101 days exclusively in each other’s company, it might all become a bit much. Would my mounting resentment at him using our curtains as a tea towel result in me boxing his head with the Peep Show DVD boxset? Or would my crimes against washing up (see Will’s entry, week 7), culminate in strangulation by tinsel? No, we buttoned up and carried on. Once my hangover had worn off, we had a lovely time opening presents, walking around Barcelona Cathedral and the Parc de la Ciutadella, eating traditional Catalan food and drinking cava. I did miss the Quality Streets, though.

The fairground at Tibidabo, which looks out over the city

No comments:

Post a Comment