Reasons why I don’t have kids #66

Social media.

Somewhere, deep in the annals of time (like maybe a thousand years ago), there are hazy memories of shenanigans and japes and underage naughtiness. Of course there are, none of us are angels. And if you claim to be, then I don’t trust you one little bit.

I tried my first cigarette at thirteen. Thankfully it nearly choked me half to death and I threw up behind the bike shed, putting me off good and proper, until my twenties in London. I remember buying a bottle of Martini to share with my friend in the public toilets, age fifteen/sixteen, before the work’s Christmas dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. We adopted different Coronation Street characters as we polished off the bottle, and swapped from cubicle to cubicle acting out life on the cobbles, as if we were Vera and Hilda. Totes hilarious, until we arrived at the restaurant, where I promptly threw up again. I’ve never been able to hold my liquor.

On that occasion, I was taken back to work (the hotel where I was a chambermaid), by a very understanding boss, sobered up and sent home in a more acceptable state some hours later.

I snogged boys and tried to get into pubs. In a town as big as a thimble, and with a father who drank in most of them – the latter was not my best idea. The former wasn’t all bad…… But, although my parents were not at all stupid, they couldn’t know for sure exactly what had gone on, could only guess and cook me a full English – in all its greasy glory – the morning after; to prompt a reaction that might cement their suspicion. Crafty mother. *narrows eyes*.

However, in the absence of smart phones (and shared drives, more of that later), and a complete lack of the narcissism necessary to carry around an actual camera – none of this, none, was documented. Thank all the gods in the heavens above. Unlike, say for example, the son of one of my students…….

Whilst scrolling through his photos, in order to show me something from the weekend, he happened upon his son smoking in several snaps and with his girlfriend draped over him etc. etc. All very James Dean, although I doubt very much the kid knows who he is. Nothing too disturbing, but nonetheless there in all their high-definition glory. I’m quite sure no parent wants to actually see their suspicions confirmed. I know absolutely for sure that I wouldn’t.

First thing – don’t photograph every. little. detail little people; it’s just not necessary. Why do you do it? Trust me, when you look back in future years, you will be so mortified and ask yourself, ‘what was I thinking?’. I do, and that’s without photographic evidence floating about the ether for all to see. Secondly – WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU DOING SHARING A DRIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS? Come on already, think damn it, THINK! For the love of sweet baby Jesus.

This is where we’re at. No kids have dodgy make-up mishaps, they’re contoured and plucked and sculpted to perfection. Where’s the fun in that? And everything, literally everything is recorded and posted online. And if the ‘rents are footing the bill, chances are – you’re all connected. And for that reason, I am soooo glad I don’t have to face that. I’m happy enough simply not needing to worry about where anybody is or who they’re with or what they’re doing; let alone worry about the possibility of actually seeing it too. I’d be a nervous wreck, more so than I am already. Probably a thin nervous wreck, but a wreck nonetheless. I know that’s by the by, but you know…….. The problem is you see, I remember me at that age, I know what we get up to, and now it’s sped up and happens earlier than ever before. I don’t have the emotional strength to deal with offspring that would inevitably have inherited at least some of me and my character – and most definitely not to see it reflected back to me by chance, while flicking through my cloud/drive.

And that is my ‘reasons why I don’t have kids’ #66


How your body changes in your forties – a scientific report



No, really, here’s how it’s panning out…….

Strange things are a happnin’ in ol’ PANKsville, over yonder way….. (for reasons unbeknownst to even me, it appears that I have adopted the persona of a suspicious swamp-dweller).

Well anyway, they are. Doesn’t really matter my location, or weird alter-ego. The most notable change might actually be my giving less of a shit about the shape of my body, and therefore eating what ever the hell I want these last three months since I moved again. I remember distinctly, that it happened just after I moved into the old place too, so it’s no real surprise. Too tired and uninspired to cook or……. think, actually. So shopping healthily ain’t happening. And as long as my arse hasn’t swapped places with one of my boobs overnight, my head is still atop my neck, which protrudes from where my shoulders meet in the middle, and fingers all still in tact (those bad boys are kinda important, if you know waddamean) – I’m all good. I’m still recognisably human-shaped, and that is ok. OK?

But, but there are things that I’m noticing, that cannot in the slightest bit be connected to my being JustEat’s number one Barcelona customer.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the sheer weight of my head being carried around for the best part of forty-seven years, but I’m beginning to feel like Jabba the Hutt – you know, in that no-neck-no-shoulders slobber of amalgamating flesh, kind of way. Like someone lit my wick a couple of years back and I’ve melted into my own upper body. Five foot one, can not afford to lose inches! Age can be cruel……. proof if ever it were needed, that God does not exist. There are some mornings when I feel like I literally have to pull my head out of my own arse, but not from the direction you would normally associate with this.

OK, hear me out on this next thing…… I first noticed my feet getting smaller (they aaarre!) many, many years ago, in those long gone days of wearing heels every second of every minute of every hour of every God-given day, when my extensive collection of size threes, started to be too big for me. So I couldn’t possibly blame it on brands changing their sizing without informing the public – unless of course they did and then crept into my two different Liverpool flats and replaced my entire shoe collection, like an army of tiny evil Geppettos – Hell-bent on messing with my head (and my ability to walk with a soupçon of grace).

I was absolutely delighted when I arrived in Barcelona, the land of tiny, beautiful women, to discover a cornucopia of size thirty-fives! That’s a Brit size two and a half. Imagine the headlines, ‘PANK smash-n-grab, shoe shop haul‘. Until…………. Zara winter sales 2018. As I no longer wear the heels all the time, I love me a pair of loafers – the more unusual, the better. I had my eye on a couple of pairs and as soon as those sales stickers were on, I was there!

And the thirty-fives are too big! What the fuck is happening to me? How am I still even vertical, people?! If it were possible, I would be thinking right now that all the fat that you obviously store in your feet (!!), gravitates upwards to attach itself to your arse. As my feet are getting smaller and smaller, my backside is getting bigger and bigger – it can be the only logical solution…… foot fat becomes booty lard, while your neck and shoulders send all their junk downwards and dump it unceremoniously in your trunk too. And don’t even start me on the effect of gravity on these life-changing metamorphoses.

Talking of gravity……. boobs. First, the hormones affect the size of those (will they never stop expanding?!). People, these fun bags are heavy, and gravity exists – the end.

Nobody tells six year-old you about this stuff when you’re growing up. NO-one. As well as not mentioning that being an adult is a somewhat boring hamster wheel of work and bills and shit dates, only occasionally punctuated by holidays and Christmas shenanigans and wine nights with the girls. Oh, and painting and books and music…..

………. which coincidentally, are the only things that will get me through the next few weeks until my *tiny voice* forty seventh thirty-ninth-again birthday.

An open letter to my nieces and nephews

Seeing most of you at Christmas, and keeping abreast of the rest of you with proud updates from your mums and dads, was like a giant punch in the gut. Oh! Not in a bad way, but y’all getting soooooo big! But let’s focus – more than that, I appreciated this year just what wonderful human beings you are all growing up to be, and I’m amazed every day.

Comme des Garçons

I’ve said it time and again, when I’ve seen pictures of you running courses with your mum, hear about you doing a gymnastic floor routine, see you rocking the drums or guitar, trial biking, trampolining, raising money for charity, writing and performing your own songs (and being interviewed on the radio and in the newspaper!) – you are quite literally, the coolest people I know, maybe even on the whole planet.

When I saw you in the summer Erin, and saw how excited you were, at just fourteen, to have your first job and open your first bank account, I could have burst with pride. And a promotion within six months? AmAZing! And at Christmas Archie, when your *Nain told me how lovely you are with her asking if she needs help with anything, I could have burst with pride. And of course there’s the fact you’ve always been a (not so little now) entrepreneur, window-cleaning, djing – what next?

Rose and Mila, such an incredible pair of little toughies over this last year, and not only that, being there every step of the way for your mum; I could burst with pride. Welsh dragon blood mixed with feisty James women genes, definitely run deep in your veins! What a cocktail.

Harry and Ellis, you are both completely hilarious!!! That one very special Valentine message to your mum Harry, and killing me with ‘The Force’, and photos of home-made toilet paper mummies/box-sitting and funny photo faces, Ellis – crack me up. Boxing Day at Sarah’s would not be nearly so much fun without your humour and shenanigans!!! Does a life on the stage beckon? I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest!

Cian and Jen and Harvey and Leo, when I see just how much joy you bring to the lives of your Nain and Taid, and how much they love all that you are and all that you do, that brings me more joy than you could possibly imagine. They are so proud of you all, your exams (urgh, horrible things, but you’re studying hard), your gymnastics competitions – completely fearless, your school plays and thousands of hobbies….. And the time spent with your Nain, Jen, crafting and learning to sew, I know was so special. I was such an undisciplined kid in comparison to you all (not much has changed there! Does that cheeky-winkyface-elbow thing here). I don’t know how you do it, but you’re all blewmin’ awesome!

And Jules, all the way over in New Zealand, even though we haven’t met yet, apart from being the most absolutely adorable cherub – with your big blue eyes and blonde curls, I know just how precious you are to your mum and dad. And how much joy you bring to your Nainy and Taidy, too. They couldn’t love you more, and from all the way over here, nor could I.

This silly aunty, shambolic aunty, little bit bonkers aunty, (gin-soaked) usually up-to-no-good aunty; couldn’t be luckier and couldn’t wish for more. And with a heart full of love and pride; this blog post is for all of you.

With many kisses and hugs – the things I am totally sure I’m completely amazing at…..

Big love

Aunty Anne


*Nain and Taid are Welsh for Nana and Grandad

If one more man says…

….. to me, ‘you seem to have very fixed ideas‘, I will kick them so f*cking hard in their crown jewels, they’ll have to start thinking with the brain that lives in their head.

In these last three months, I have felt the pressure to just simply keep my mouth firmly shut, more than I have ever noticed in my entire forty-six years of life. So, like so many people have shut me up, shut me down, put their hand in my face to stop me speaking (both literally and metaphorically), put their face in my face, shouted me down, shouted over me, told me their opinions, then said they don’t want to hear mine, said that ‘they don’t want to argue any more’, when the last word I spoke to them in disagreement was a month previous.

What, the actual fuck, is it? Seriously. It’s a real question, for real answers.

So, I was chatting to one of the only two guys I kept in touch with from the dating sites, about possibly meeting on Sunday. He made a suggestion. Cool. I made a suggestion – cue the ‘you seem to have very fixed ideas‘ comment. What!!?? Like: WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK?

He said we could spend some hours walking and then have a drink….. for a first date, that’s too much commitment of both time and effort. What if it’s horrific? So my response was simply, ‘well, how do you fancy enjoying the sun and meeting for a coffee this time, and see how it goes?’ *INSERT FIXED IDEAS COMMENT HERE*

Am I not mistaken, there are two people in this situation, aren’t there? Or am I quite literally going mad? Do we no longer toss around a few ideas? Or am I only just realising, that agreeing with a man is the only way forward in the world? Even on such a trivial level…..

Imagine if organising a girls’ night out was the same level of ‘JeeZUS WOHman, you got the opinions’! On any given night out, there could be a minimum of five of us. We’d never leave the fucking house!! What is it????

Back the fuck up man, just chucking my hat in…. lighten up.

I am quite literally sick to the back teeth of it. I have ideas, I have opinions, nothing fucking crazy, this is 2018. What do you actually want??

I get it, picture this, if I say, “well, I thought that we can meet at five minutes to four, to have five minutes to decide which direction to start the walking at precisely four pm. I will wear my stylish loafers which are also comfortable, in order to walk around a little bit, then after two hours of walking and chatting, I will definitely want to sit at a cafe and I will have a glass of cava while we flick through the pages of some wedding magazines (that I had hidden in my bag), set a date and GET MARRIED ON JULY 14th 2019!!”. Those are fixed freaking ideas, mate.

I don’t want to walk around parks, because I need the squares of paving slabs to feel comfortable – that’s a fixed idea.

I need to pray to Jesus and ask for his forgiveness, before I even do the thing that needs forgiving – that’s a fixed idea.

‘Fancy a coffee in the sun?’ is a FUCKING suggestion.


*Maybe I should leave the dating for a little while……. I think I might feel up to it (learn to shut up) by 2027.

New Year’s Eve

It’s a funny old thing, isn’t it? For me anyway. I really can’t remember the last time that I did the whole, head-to-toe, two day preparation ‘out out‘, New Year’s Eve. Not since my siblings and I went to the ‘Living Room’ (not ‘a‘ living room. That would be weird. A family coming home from a food shop in preparation for the NYE celebration, to discover the PANK family making themselves at home, feet up, watching the telly, reading the papers). No, no, *The Living Room in Liverpool, where my sister convinced the ‘one inclusive glass of fizz per guest‘ waiter; to bring us trays of the stuff. All night.

Now, bearing in mind I’ve been in Barcelona six years, three months and 25 days (but who’s counting), and before that I lived with the Mexican for two years and the time we went to the Living Room, was like a gazillion years even before that. Basically, it’s been a while. I have had a NYE out in Barcelona, a couple of years ago with friends; but there were no hair rollers/heels that increased my height two fold/false eyelashes or nails/push-up bras/fake tan/Aquaban/week long liquid diet and levers and pulleys under-garments involved. Safe to say, it’s very much more relaxed here.

So, apart from that, for many years now, I have always spent Christmas holiday week with my family and friends, but also made my way home in time for the 31st December. One of my favourite New Year’s Evenings was only a couple of years ago, when in the old cave flat I decided that I would invent

some magic ritual, and use a mini portable barbecue I had, to light a small fire to throw the past year’s negativity into. That negativity being notes I’d written on paper. Which burns. SURPRISE! Oh the japes. This in turn creates a lot, like a lot of smoke. I did this inside the flat ~tuts and rolls eyes to the heavens~ I thanked the Gods for two balconies I could open onto that night, let me tell you! And a room small enough, and doors big enough to find by only the power of touch, because of all the smoke and my newly acquired temporary blindness. But thankfully there were no smoke alarms fitted in the rental building, haha! So no-one was alerted to my stupidity. Wine may or may not have been consumed.

So now, I don’t like to burn things so much. But I do like to get something nice for dinner, a good wine, read, write, watch Hootenanny, think, reflect; a strange calm seems to fall over me. I feel at peace with myself. Which is really quite a lovely thing, when I spend the most part of the rest of the year waking in the middle of the night to worry about a twenty-year old comment, that may or may not have upset someone. Or feeling stressed that I will be discovered as a fraud at any moment. Or trying to untie the knot that has inhabited my gut for weeks. And now after so many years, it feels like if I break the habit, the earth will shift on its axis, the gates of Hell will finally be opened, the hounds will be unleashed and the world as we know it, will end.

Or, like, maybe I’ll just feel a bit weird.

Maybe in the (not too distant) future, I’ll like to book a fancy restaurant, followed by cocktails or something. But for tonight, I’m going to relish my first New Year’s Eve in my new place, wrap up to sit out on the balcony for the stroke of midnight; watch the fireworks, listen to the cheers of the people in the street, and encourage strength and positivity into 2018, for myself and all those I love and care for dearly.

Have a wonderful evening and a new year filled with love and luck, for you and yours.

A million hugs

AP xx

*The Living Room was a fancy bar/restaurant where girls would go to pick up wealthy business men, and wealthy business men would happily go to get picked up. It’s now closed.

End of year review 2017

2017 was the year I had a relationship.

And then I did not have a relationship.

The End.

Only joking! Lots of other stuff happened. Maybe not quite as important, but you know, you gotta be accommodating with these things. So let’s *begin the begin (as the late great Julio Iglesias once sang) – Is he dead? Or Cole Porter if you’re after a classier cover version. On the twentieth day of January, a strange man with a furry head growth, named Darth Trump (alarm bells should have been ringing people), was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. And a world wept, not least because it showed us that the entire world’s education system was failing, if all those people could believe any word that came out of his tiny alien mouth. And also that a political system was failing, if the candidate with quite literally 2.9 million more votes, was the loser. But then we all clapped and cheered (and shouted at my telly), like lunatics when he was immediately hauled away in handcuffs for being a hateful c*nt. And an idiot. It’s in the 28th Amendment in the Constitution, which was introduced in the final days of the Obama administration. The country has been run since by a succession of aides who have done a marvellous job of replicating his idiocy, through the medium of Tweet. Also, America has been embroiled in numerous investigative situations involving very important acronyms like the FBI, CIA, MFI (remember them?), and I believe – DFS, and we’re waiting with baited breath to see if Darth Trump and his offspring, and quite literally everyone he knows, will go to prison. Because let’s face it, if he’s your mate, you’re a shifty bastard.

Meanwhile, over in Blighty, the crack negotiating team for Brexit was making excellent progress, by being paragons of professionalism. Having spent the months after the referendum getting their heads down, buried in a mountain of in-depth research (see photo), they sailed through the first round of talks and didn’t embarrass the country once. *stands up and salutes, while God Save the Queen plays in the background*.

On a very serious note, sadly as we have come to expect, there was a slew of violent and fatal attacks around the globe, committed by perpetrators of every colour and religion. But we still failed to simply condemn violence instead of particular groups. The Las Vegas mass shooting, for example, which left fifty eight dead and five hundred and forty six injured, was the deadliest committed by an individual in the United States: but you know – Muslim ban.

Horrific, freak weather also wreaked havoc across the globe, causing abject devastation to some communities. But thankfully some super-learned politicians in America, who are so clever they don’t even need to believe in science – explained to the rest of the world, the root of the problem. The gays. So that was cleared up nicely too and we all moved on, but kept our eyes open for sequins and feathers and awesome seventies disco, in order to take cover in case the rains came.

Time’s Person of the Year, was in fact many people, who had finally broken their silence about sexual misconduct, harassment and abuse they had suffered over decades. And it really, really upset Matt Damon. If you were not aware, Damon was made Worldwide Ambassador for Unwanted Opinions on Anything and Nothing, a couple of years back. He has successfully started the

#PraiseAnyGoodBehaviourThatShouldGoWithoutAsking hashtag campaign, which has rightfully swept the globe. Everywhere, those poor people who have not kicked puppies, kidnapped children, who have put the toilet seat down, those who have helped an old person with their shopping or to cross the road, not left their supermarket trolley in the middle of the car park, or set fire to anything they shouldn’t have set fire to, are finally having their voices heard. And rightly so. Matt Damon will be made their patron saint in January of 2020.

There was a remake (or reboot, as it’s now known)………. of Jumanji. I don’t know what else I can say here.

The Handmaid’s Tale was really rather good, Prince Harry got engaged, which was all kinds of lovely and I moved into a new flat; which was absolutely, f*cking amAZing! Read why here………. And the movie of the year was A Ghost Story. See it and die inside when your heart quite literally explodes with grief.

But on a positive note (and there is one), it really helps you to reconnect with your feelings. Those not being outrage, incredulity, indignation, utter disbelief and shame.

Thinking about it, they really could have used that on the poster.

**This post was brought to you by fake news and a fundamental need to fact check.

*please don’t @ me, I know the real name of the song. This is a humour blog……..

Things I will not do in 2018

This year has served me well in respect of my own personal growth…. and we all know that that is a quite excellent thing.

The Rumi memes and great sooth sayer, Yogi Bear tell us that every day. Who knew that Yogi, like Paul Newman, and his smashing spaghetti sauce, had lent his name to a popular consumable (tea)………. I’ll be honest though, I just discovered that Rumi was a thirteenth century philosopher, and not some hippy dude in California, eating mung beans and spouting feel good bollocks. So the first lesson I learned was to check stuff, before writing. (To be honest, I already did that quite a lot, but usually connected to politics and just to piss off Nigel Farage/Brexit supporters).

2017 taught me that kindness and understanding doesn’t pay. I mean really, I could just end the post there.

I spent a whole year of my short life, fitting in to another person’s timetable, massaging their ego, telling them, ‘don’t worry love, it’s ok, it happens to everyone‘, introducing them to the joy of (what I consider to be) pretty basic sexiness – a saucy glimpse of lace underwear, a high-heel. Tippy-toeing around a moody seventeen year old girl, exercising patience and understanding on a level I did not know was humanly possible (or that I possessed) – to be finally told ‘what I want in a relationship is comprehension and empathy’.

That’s it mate. That’s exactly what it looks like, dude. You got it. It’s right there under your nose.

So in 2018:

I will be kind, but not fucking stupid.

I will be understanding, but not fucking stupid.

I will not try to encourage a man to go to the doctor, unless of course the problem is with his penis. A man is always more than happy to go the doctor when his penis appears not to work, but little else. Including troubling deep-seated, emotional grief that hurts their head and heart. Oh, and a possible broken toe.

I will be helpful, but not fucking stupid.

I will not have sex in the manner of an adolescent or illicit lover, because I am definitely not the former, and right at this moment – not the other.

I will be generous of spirit, but not fucking stupid.

I will steer clear of people whose first response to anything (including the immensely demanding: ‘fancy staying at mine after dinner on Saturday’), is ‘it’s difficult, it’s complicated‘. Because, most things in life are in fact, not that complicated – except brain surgery, space rocket designing, or breathing under water without gills. I imagine.

I will be accommodating to other people’s restrictions/limitations/needs, obviously – but not fucking stupid.

I will start being a bit more selfish, if that simply means considering myself and my own needs, emotions and desires. And if so, then selfish it is and selfish I shall be.

So, ultimately my new philosophy is:

Do all the nice shit, but don’t forget yourself and be a fucking stupid, push over twat. (I think that Rumi and Yogi would be proud of me, and that).

Call me cray cray, but with all this introspection and ruminating, I have a sneaking suspicion that 2018 might just turn out to be alright for me and my heart.

Copyright ©AnnePANK 2017 – Smarter than your average pank

**Starts website and commissions merchandise immediately.

Dating toe dipping

….. is all it’s going to be I think. Inevitably, I have logged into trusty old Tinder, to see who’s about, (and to get a little boost for my ever-so-slightly bruised ego). Obvs. #sorrynotsorry. And it really is just that. Yes, I loved Mr C, but I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but it feels like it gets easier and easier to deal with the disappointment of failed relationships. And quicker and quicker to feel almost normal again; without the dull ache of memories and wishful thinking, gnawing at your gut.

I was not at all surprised to see a slew of familiar faces, some of whom I have encountered on various different platforms and, from six years ago when I first arrived in BCN. Have they been there all this time, or like me, tried and failed a few times? I suspect the former. Cynical, me? It’s something I have pencilled in to talk about with my lovely therapist after the Christmas holidays. My disdain for men seems to also grow easier by the day – especially when someone’s opening gambit is, ‘want fuck me?’ Eehhrrmm, I’ll pass thanks. You old charmer, you. And: excuse me sir *adopts haughty air* but please don’t assume I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH! Damn this typical British look.

Anyway, things I look for in a profile are:

Not a photo of a wolf (any other savage animal)

Eyes. Call me strange, but I’m partial to a man with eyes. They’re also practical and help you see all the stuff. Where are your eyes. No eyes, no replies! (Also: poetry) If every photo is in sunglasses, then I’ll assume you have epic conjunctivitis, or the look of Marty Feldman. No. Next.

See also: teeth

Not all your photos are of submissive women. They’re out there, they exist but I ain’t one of them.

A profile full of photos of you, not none of you and then also one is Woody Allen. I’m going to assume the worst. Dude, the man’s a (suspected) paedophile. Seriously?

Not a man who spends his time dressed in combat fatigues/camouflage and hides behind trees and in bushes, with firearms, (in every photo). Chances are I’ll probably report you. This screams: ‘I am dangerous and violent.’ And danger and violence are your only hobby. I think, anyway. Maybe I’m wrong and it translates to ‘I’m a doctor without a border and in my spare time I run a pet rescue centre’. Maybe I really am cynical.

Ditto: photo of van, followed by you in a balaclava. This says, ‘I will kidnap you, then murder you.’ Probably.

So, ultimately I think three significant heart breaks is enough for anyone in a lifetime…. especially when that spans almost twenty years of said life. And truth be told, I’m really rather enjoying reclaiming my spare time, as actual spare time. It’s been blissful, because all I want to do is be snuggled up in my new gaff. And so, when Sex Tuesday stopped happening (I know, so romantically like clockwork, right?) I kind of started enjoying being at home alone again, doing the domestic stuff, exploring the neighbourhood, or simply being. With my music and a book. Like I was before my last relationship, for three. whole. years. I was kind of ok with it then too, with the occasional date here and there, and the occasional French boy here and there. And Italian. And come to think of it, Welsh (weird coincidence) and local…….

But enough of that. I think I’m going to take the executive decision to come clean with the couple of chaps I’ve been talking to, and explain exactly that. Make my apologies and get the hell out of Dodge. Christmas is just around the corner and a week with family and friends. And a brand new, shiny year is twinkling on the horizon.

Who needs dates, when you’ve got all that to look forward to?

Fairytale of Barcelona

Picture this, if you will……. a beautiful *princess has been released from the shackles (a restricted budget and rocketing rental prices), that have kept her prisoner in a darkened dungeon for three years, (a first floor flat over a bar in the Gotic). She had been waiting, with so much hope in her heart, that someone, anyone might have seen and read the **note that she had sent out into the night on the back of a winged messenger. But sadly, no word had reached her from those on the outside….. she had resigned herself to a life of darkness with the sounds of hell bellowing in her ears, and the idea that she might become an actual vampire. Or develop rickets.

PANK dreaming

One day, as she was sweeping more cobwebs and dust, than anyone would think feasible for a tiny person in a mere week, and gathering in her dustpan, hair balls the size of small mammals – she received a heartening ***sign from her fairy godmother. It spoke to her of a prince who would vacate his ivory tower in search of riches in far-away lands, leaving the palace vacant, for someone who would cherish it as he had. With a skip in her step and a song in her heart (and a bin bag full of floor dirt), she snuck out of the dungeon to visit the prince and tell him of her plight and her hopes for a new beginning – she also went to see the estate agent to make an offer. But her evil captors caught wind of this shenanigans and began to assert their authority by threatening to withhold the little money she had, to limit the chances of her escape. But undeterred and with a new sense of purpose and new-found strength, she faced them head-on (by cleaning and painting everything so as not to anger them still further)……. because she could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The ****prize was within her grasp. And so, with help from a trusted friend she finally made her escape, with a smattering of possessions and her deposit in her pocket; to begin the next chapter of her story.

And so here we are, three weeks after her daring get-away, and forty-eight hours after her final battle with her captors. We see our modern day Rapunzel – but with short grey hair not even strong enough to handle a gerbil, let alone support the weight of a fully grown man (person) – gazing out over her new kingdom from the fifth floor balcony. She’s been there more or less the whole time in her beautiful *****nightgown, since returning the enchanted (rusty) keys, that had held her under their spell for so long. Now she could wait, peacefully, for her Prince Charming to arrive. If Prince Charming was the Just Eat guy. Happy and contented she looked upon the super moon, and wished on the first star she saw, for more good things to happen. And with a strange kind of certainty that they would………

*knackered late-forties-year-old

**put her name on an estate agent list for a particular property

***whatsapp from a friend

****little flat in the Eixample

*****favourite ‘house trousers’

****** OKAY! Enough with the asterisk

New beginnings

But like, properly new beginnings – finally

I’ve just taken delivery of (almost all) the deposit for the old flat and handed back the keys. The daughter of my cantankerous, old landlady was, not too surprisingly just like her mother – on speed and a thirty a day Marlboro Red habit; with all the pent up anger of a five-foot-nothing volcano about to erupt. Or someone who needs a bloody good rodgering. You choose. Someone who says, “listen to me!” before every freakin’ sentence, talks over you and and gets all up in your grill – deserves a kicking. And by all the heavens above, I’m sure if my friend had not been there with me, we may have come to actual blows. So a huge thank you to him, for everything these last days.

The flat is immaculate, freshly painted, bleached to within an inch of its life and cared for, and everything works perfectly – as one would expect from someone of my years (and a lifetime of experiences with bad landlords in various cities). Let’s be real, the place has not experienced the kind of raucous house parties of my college days in London, because quite frankly, I can’t handle it. And I doubt very much, the property could either, so little in the way of maintenance had ever been done. But it has seen a liddle action, if ya know waddamean *does exaggerated winky face*, but nothing that might see broken water pipes, exposed electric cables, a smattering of lifeless bodies and a littering of pizza boxes and alcohol debris. And yet she saw fit to withhold two hundred fifty euros to cover outstanding electric and water bills for three weeks, usually €60 a month, and to pay the cleaner – €10 euros/hour for four hours. Haggled down to two hundred, I’m supposed to return to the old flat for the missing money later today, but you know what? We’re done, I’m done. I’m tired and I want to move on. I need to move on. Between navigating the end of a the old contract, the palaver of getting the new one and the end of my relationship (and ensuing month of messages, the final one last Friday being an epic list of things he didn’t like about me, just in case I wasn’t absolutely sure) – I’m really rather reluctant to continue this episode of my life. As you might imagine. And also……. I have a very low tolerance threshold for histrionics and unnecessary fecking drama and stories of bad tenants you’ve had in the other ten properties you rent (that you haven’t declared). Yeah, I know about that. It’s irrelevant to me and the state of the flat in Lioness street.

So keep the money, be happy, find joy, get a massage (or laid), it’s on me. I don’t care. Being chill, and not having to worry about any of that shit for at least another three years, fills my whole being with abject happiness. That’s it, we’re finished. All of us.

To Señora V, senior y junior, Señor C and the little flat behind Placa Reial, and all the fun I had there, I say –

…….. gracias y lo más importante, con todo de mi corazón – adiós.