Friday, 9 July 2010

Week 44

With the weather being so lovely, we've been spending a lot of time at the beach. Some people are right at home in the sea: they run up and jump in with all the energy of David Hasselhoff and they emerge, unruffled, like models in Dolce & Gabbana perfume adverts. Sadly, I am not one of these people.

My approach is less carefree, more careful. On the rare occasions I do venture for a paddle, it's a right pantomime. I tentatively walk to the water's edge and dip a foot in to determine the temperature. It's invariably too chilly for my liking. I slowly inch myself in by degrees. Once the water has reached the tops of my legs, I stop for a moment. I pretend I'm admiring the views but in reality, I'm having second thoughts. I then scoop up some water, splash it over my arms and shudder. After 10 minutes of this rigmarole, I decide that I'd rather not go for a swim and I return to my towel sheepishly.

"The water looked a bit dirty, I'd rather not swallow it," I offer Will by way of explanation.

I'm marginally better in a swimming pool; at least there's no chance of getting stung by a jellyfish or colliding with a boat. And there are nice steps to get you down into the water. Last Friday morning we went to one of two outdoor swimming pools which were built on Montjuic for the 1992 Olympics. Piscina Municipal de Montjuic is open to the public from the end of June until early September and it must have the best views of any swimming pool in the world - you can see sights like the Sagrada Familia, Torre Agbar and the sea, while you're doing your lengths. Kylie fans might also be interested to know that this is where the video for her single, Slow, was filmed.  

A jar of tomato marmalade. It tastes like jam, but also like tomatoes

Something we have noticed about the Catalans is that they see absolutely nothing wrong with rooting through a bin. Everyone, from a grizzled curmudgeon to a dainty churchgoer, will stop and have a rummage now and then. This is partly because they are less fastidious, and partly because it's common practice here to dump anything unwanted but usable in the street, where passers-by can make off with it.

In Britain, the dumper of goods could be arrested for fly-tipping and the receiver of goods for stealing, so we use Freecycle, a network of internet groups which help people give stuff away for free. This is probably for the best, given that dumped goods will get rained on more quickly in Blighty, but I think it would be a good idea for councils to install weatherproof containers where usable things could be left for others to collect. It would save time, money and landfill, and it would re-connect us with the noble art of bin-diving.

I like new things as much as the next man, but people do buy an awful lot of needless crap: a new mobile phone every year, a new TV every three years. The UK throws away a third of all of all its food, uneaten. If people rooted through a bin more often, perhaps they'd start being more realistic about what they need, and what they throw away.
I've been trying to spend more time picking up stuff off the street, and my recent trash safaris have included some beautiful white orchids, which Christina thought were lovely until I revealed that I'd found them in a skip – she clings willfully to her wasteful consumerism, and stands by looking embarrassed when I stop to investigate a pile of 'treasure'.

Today, I happened across a real goldmine: several bottles of priceless vintage wine, there for the taking. I got two, but Christina's hoity-toity attitude prevented her from carrying off any more. Even so, we're both looking forward to enjoying these stunning vintages, which are probably worth at least a billion Euro each.

I'll probably be able to sell these and buy a massive house in Kensington and then do it up and sell it to some Russian oligarch and then buy two more even bigger houses in Mayfair and do them up and sell them to the Sheikh of Brunei and then I can buy BUCKINGHAM PALACE and do that up, cos its in a good location and I can put that on the market for twice what I paid for it so I can buy a MASSIVE GREAT BIG CASTLE ON THE MOON

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