UPDATE 12 September 2018 “The day the men from City Hall came with chainsaws to prune the plane trees on the street outside our Hotel, Gabriela freaked out. She swore
Verdaguer Maybe the first thing that springs to mind is that metro station in Barcelona whose name you can’t pronounce. The Verdaguer monument is close by, unreachable in the centre
Ullastret and Ulldecona From ancient Iberian settlements in the north to rock art and ancient olive trees in the south, the history of Catalonia goes way back. Ullastret (oolyaSTRET), a
Tombatruites Making a truita (trooEETeh) de patates (Spanish omelette) is dead easy. You fry the diced potatoes in olive oil till soft. You beat the eggs in a bowl, with
Pirineus From north to south, from east to west, the Catalans do mountains big time, and Els Pirineus (pronounced PeereeNAYoos) are the biggest of the lot. You probably know that
Oli d’oliva Liquid gold… healthy Mediterranean diet… absolutely delicious. And the Catalans do no less than five Denominació d’Origen Protegida extra virgin olive oils: Les Garrigues, Siurana, Baix Ebre-Montsià, Terra
If you love being made to jump out of your skin while strolling peacefully through your local square, if dosing your dog with valium is your thing, or locking yourself
Mar i muntanya ‘Sea and mountain’ is a type of dish that combines ingredients typical of mountain areas (meat, sausages, game etc) with fish and seafood, as in arrós mar
Llobregat “The land of seven harvests” was how the agricultural area of the Delta del Llobregat (lyoobrehGATT) south-west of Barcelona was known historically, thanks to its great fertility, plentiful water
Jaume 1 Metro station in downtown Barcelona, named after Jaume el Conqueridor (James I of Aragon, aka the Conquerer). Pronounced JOWmeh (as in jowl) preeMEH, Jaume 1 (1208 to 1276)
Indicació Geogràfica Protegida Chickens (possibly headless) flapping and clucking along the runway amongst the aircraft: this was the image, still indelible, that popped into my head the first time I
Gegants The giants of Catalonia are not the kind of horrid monsters of fairy-tale and legend that gave us childhood nightmares, but huge figures of men and women that are
FC Barcelona Having married into a family of cradle-to-grave Barcelona supporters, Football Club Barcelona, aka el Barça, is naturally one of the main threads in the tapestry of my life
Ebre I knew that the Riu Ebre was Spain’s longest river. That its delta was an important wildlife reserve. For many years I also ‘knew’ that it was the boundary
Denominació d’Origen Protegida Hazelnuts from Reus, rice from the Ebro Delta, pears from Lleida, butter and cheese from Alt Urgell and La Cerdanya in the Pyrenees… olive oil from Siurana,
Calçotada The calçotada is the Catalans’ favourite gastronomic bash, traditional to the town of Valls and environs, and is the festive outing of choice from November to April. The last
Besòs One of the rivers that Barcelona lies between on the coastal plain, as opposed to having a river flowing through the city. You know those three tall chimneys you
Andorra Very long and very crowded duty-free shopping street running through the mountains between Spain and France. In fact, Andorra is a mini-country, capital Andorra la Vella, officially called the
So I had the idea of doing a kitchen-themed exploration of my language obsessions. What gadgets or utensils or whatever were worthy of note, linguistically speaking? Stick beater. I like
Sorry, no idea what a vector is. Nor has anyone else (except, presumably, rockstar mathematicians and engineers.) Not to worry. It’s extremely versatile and sounds great. Just toss it in
Use this word to shift gazillions of self-help and personal development books, audios, workshops, webinars, systems, seminars, courses, toolboxes, practices, healings, activations, attunements, ‘transmissions’ and master key programs.
“Can I pick your brains?” says my friend who, poor thing, works in ‘communication’ and spends his days (plus nights and weekends) writing, editing and translating applications for funding for,
I have seen ‘innovation’ and ‘innovative’ obsessively bandied around enough times (solutions, platforms, applications, strategies…) to suspect it is pure bullshit, but I couldn’t put my finger on why exactly.
The wild card applications of this word are endless. Incentivize future-proof functionalities. Repurpose robust functionalities. Synergize mission-critical functionalities. Functionalize synergistic initiatives. Now it’s your turn. The A-Z of
Lying on my yoga mat, focussing on my breathing, focussing on releasing the almost crippling tension in my neck and shoulders – suddenly it comes together. Dots join. It’s like
“Tortoise had become so demoralised by other, faster, nimbler animals bullying him that he lost all his self-confidence. Instead of feeling calm and unhurried and savouring every instant of Now,
This vase was bought my late parents many years ago on holiday in Portugal. How did this vase start life? As clay. Formless and colourless. So how did it become
A story that plays with both British and Spanish stereotypes. “Whenever we Costa Brits became weary of sun, sea and sangria, tired of bright beach umbrellas, blue skies, palm trees,
My most chilling – and successful – story (if successful means the number of times it’s been published) came straight from my unconscious mind. It’s the only story I’ve ever
Many people tell me they have big problems writing for their business. They know all the stuff they’re supposed to do to promote their products and services: email marketing, newsletters,
Passion – Perseverance – Patience Passion drives the story and sweeps the reader along. Your passion for your subject, your story, your characters in some mysterious way leaves its energy
Big congratulations to Creating Worlds writers Kobie du Plessis and Sam Mardell on the publication of their stories, both set in Barcelona, in Foreign Encounters 2012, the third anthology published
Ever since I was a depressed, angst-ridden teenager in Manchester, I’ve zoned out / self-soothed / chilled out by wandering round shops. So when I read about the wonderful Artist’s
“Cicero,” declared my grammar school classics teacher, “was an old windbag.” And that’s when it all came alive. I was a straight A student – Latin, Greek and Ancient History.
Creative Writing Magic: a fun and festive introductory workshop in central Barcelona. Spark the magic with simple but powerful creativity and writing tools. Click here for more information.
When my mum came to pick me up after my scary first morning at primary school, I pretended I had not left a puddle on the brown polished wood floor of the classroom. If I pretended it wasn’t there, no one would see it. But childen’s magic doesn’t work for grownups.
When we talk about books, reading and writing, my mum always remembers an episode from one of those wonderful novels by H.E. Bates (probably The Darling Buds of May) where Ma Larkin makes jam tarts.