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?

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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.

Reasons why I don’t have kids #65

Mothers, here’s a question for you:

Where do you find the time to wallow in self-pity, after a relationship breakdown, or indeed say, when suffering from a simple cold or hangover?

I wrote my last post yesterday about my recent relationship fail; approximately three weeks, four days, two hours and some seconds after it actually happened. (Unless you count this as the last one, then add twenty four hours to the above time total).

Crying but glamorous and with clothes falling off

It’s safe to say, I’ve got some mileage out of it. The day after it happened, I lay on the sofa. That’s it, that’s what I did. Sporadically crying and eating Pringles, while staring out through fat, blurry eyes at the mess of boxes and things lying around waiting to be packed and organized for the move.

I couldn’t do that with munchkins. It’s a self-indulgent luxury, feeling sorry for yourself, to which you must dedicate enormous amounts of time. It’s just not the same to quietly weep into the baked beans as you stir them on the hob, to accompany the fish fingers and mashed potato (Smash) – after you just received the dump text. Then clear the table, wash up, bathe and put to bed, read story and organize self. Then, to set the alarm for the school run the very next day. Who does that?? Why don’t you just call school and say, ‘Harriet won’t be in tomorrow because I’m really, really heartbroken.’? Ditto: cold/hangover/throwing self down metro steps….. these are serious issues, people. They require expulsion of emotions, usually through wracking sobs and maybe some howling, sleeping it off and a huge dose of reflection. All that? Well, that’s time consuming.

I admire how mothers suck it up, scoop up the kids and march on. Burying their own emotional needs until their dependents are safely out of ear shot, so as not to upset them or their routine – to release the sadness or hurt, that they’ve successfully hidden until that point; or fire up the kettle to prepare a hot water bottle and Lemsip and just lie down. I couldn’t do it. I have to let it out/be horizontal right there, right then and that’s not good for any child.

‘Why are you still on the sofa? I’m hungry.’

waving in general direction of kitchen- ‘there’s Haribo in the fridge, and maybe the Tortilla chips are open. In fact, can you bring them through to mummy, please sweetheart? Oooh, and the wine. Thanks.’

And after that, how could I possibly be in a position in later life, to say to a bereft teen after their first heartbreak, or trying to get out of school for a cold, ‘pull yourself together!’?

And that is my ‘reasons why I don’t have kids’ #65.

Well, that was awkward

So, for the first time in almost four weeks I just saw the man, to return some things he lent me for the move. I was not at all prepared for how uncomfortable I would feel; and if I’d been wearing trainers, it’s quite possible I might have broken some kind of land speed record…… in the manner of Thrust SSC. Not because I hate him, nor because I feel ‘spiteful or angry’ towards him, (his words in the text he sent in response to my message of apology for my manner. Although he did concede these imaginary emotions were justified), but because my feelings for him were more profound than I had obviously realised. I was not, however, surprised to receive his interpretation of my sharp exit. It’s always (in the almost one year together) been incredible to me how he sees the rest of the world as ‘angry’, difficult’ or ‘complicated’. It’s his default setting, the first words out of his mouth. Yet he is none of these things. Apparently people are not capable of other, softer emotions. I quite literally did not know how to speak to him. I was tongue tied. I had no words……

I am disappointed, beyond words, that it didn’t work. Because for me it was not ‘sporadically ok’, it was great. I’m disappointed too that to justify his decision he chooses to forget and/or ignore this. (Or maybe it was just shit for him, the entire year). However, my head is full of fab memories, his words and actions and my phone is full of a year of messages of love and photos of us and times we shared. Little hints at an annus horribilis. I am angry with myself, yes – for being so stupid as to think this relationship was different. To think that someone close to fifty would be certain about what they want from a relationship. I’m deeply saddened that that is quite literally it – he’s not part of my life anymore, and I will never know about how he is or what he’s doing or how he’s progressing. That is one of the saddest things about important people who pass through your life for a short time. Actually, it’s the saddest thing about all people who pass through. Except probably I’ll hear on the grapevine that he’s happily married, in three years time, because he’s studied at the Anne PANK Emotional Finishing School, and graduated with the next woman in his life. With honours. Because that’s what usually happens. Natch. And the barrio of Sant Antoni is smaaaalllll……

And I’m confused by fucking everything – that just three weeks before we broke up, we were having a passionate weekend in the Cerdanya and I sent my friend in the UK a message saying that we were experiencing a second wave of falling in love. How could I get it so wrong? Was I living in an alternate universe relationship? I’m not a stupid woman (say nothing). The mind boggles.

And what’s pretty brutal, is that I’ve realised this time round that I want the fucking fairytale, and that annoys the holy crap out of me. Because I’m the one who is pragmatic, I’m realistic, I know that shit ain’t real. I’m good on my own, but if I’m with someone who’s special – then I want it to work-the-hell-out! Fuck. Me! Where’s the bloody frustration font??!

Pragmatic, realistic – or so I led myself to believe. Just this once I’d like to hear, ‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I can’t live without you.’ And that makes my skin crawl. I detest that I feel that way.

So fuck you too, Mr Disney.

So, along with his electric screwdriver (goddam it, I’m going to miss that. It was all kinds of loaded-pistol-shaped freaking awesomeness!) and the luggage he let me use – I returned an unopened bottle of vintage cava we were keeping to celebrate our first anniversary: and a ring that he gifted me before the summer. I have no use for such sentimentalities now, or rather, I don’t want them in my new house – as yet devoid of memories. Maybe I’ll keep it that way……… Due to its significance, I would never wear the ring again in my life, so why have it? And tempted as I was to drink all the cava, I finally couldn’t bring myself to open it.

Cutlery organiser

And so, I have just taken delivery of some shelves for the kitchen and a cutlery organiser, so that’ll keep me busy and happy this evening. Tidy drawers, tidy mind………… Or something.

There it is. I have no need to speak to him, I have no need to see him. We’re done.

The end.

-final credits roll-

The joy of doing nothing

So. Sunday.

I’ve spent the best part of today horizontal, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Even a teeny, tiny bit. I’ve had to fight *really hard against the urge to do anything today. For ten days I’ve worked my butt off to get organised in the new place and get the old place straight, in the vain hope that I’ll get my deposit back at the end of the month. Yeah, let’s see how that goes…..

So today, after popping a couple of Dormidina last night after the cinema, I woke at seven thirty, looked at the clock (and my Instagram likes), turned over and went back to sleep until ten. Shuffled to the kitchen, flicked on the kettle and continued shuffling to the lounge. Because I can shuffle around this flat, rather than spinning three sixty, perpetually. Spinning and spinning in the ‘hall’ of the Gotic flat. Kitchen, lounge, bedroom, toilet, kitchen, lounge, bedroom, toilet, kitchen……

Cuppa and sausage sandwich in hand, I took up residence on the sofa and hunkered down for the day. I struggled against the urge to hang anything, hammer, clean, brush or adjust. I watched a bit of political news, Strictly and interspersed naps in between bingeing the last three episodes of Stranger Things 2. I decided I should probably take the bins down, just about an hour ago, and pop to the corner shop for supplies. Haribo, natch. But please rest assured, I’m back now in my house trousers and under the furry throw. Not a metaphor.

(I imagine two post-war neighbours chatting over the fence:

N1. ‘ere, you ‘eard about Sheila? Frank says she’s under the furry throw… ‘

N2. ‘Noooooo! Geraway wi’ ya…..’ )

La Fira Barcelona-sundown

Humans are weird and feel guilty about the strangest things, taking a little time out shouldn’t be one of them. Look, there are a myriad other things to worry about: hurling your empty booze bottles in the general bin one by one, to avoid any embarrassing telltale clanking, calling the selfying teenage boy on the metro a bellend inside your head, and standing still on the wrong side of the travelator on the way to the platform. Lying down for a day isn’t a crime, and putting your jeans on and throwing a jumper over the tee-shirt you slept in to pop out for a breath of fresh air, isn’t either. I haven’t even got a hangover to blame! Returning within ten minutes because it’s nippy and you didn’t bother with a jacket, is OK too. You went outside, and that’s what counts.

Happy as a pig in proverbial……… In my view, vertical is massively overrated.

*like, a little bit

A world of firsts

So, I’ve been in my new place a week now, and I’ve charted the excitement of all of the news – by annoyingly posting about everything I’ve done for the first time at the new address. I’m irritating the shit out of myself, so I am certain it’s driving y’all absolutely bloody crazy.

First meal cooked in the oven in a new Pyrex dish, first Campari and soda on my little balcony, wrapped up against the chill, at the table and chairs my friend bought me as a housewarming for the last place, lit with a lamp gifted to me by my nieces. The first Sunday in pjs, watching crap telly. First sofa with hidden storage space in the chaise – are you shittin‘ me?! The first afternoon nap – P.R.I.O.R.I.T.I.E.S. First IKEA furniture put together, the first time hearing neighbours having sex (aaahhh, city living), first shower without the hot water running out, first visit to the local Chinese bazaar – God I love those places, first breakfast in bed; also Sunday, btw. First alone time…..errrherrrmm *does winky elbow thing here*. First pictures mounted. First number two in a bathroom with mood lighting. I mean really, they thought of quite literally everything when they refurbished this building.

The first morning of work was stressful due to the usual ‘brain wakes you every hour on the hour in case your alarm fails even though it’s never failed at any time in the recent past’ new place situation. But, happily I’ve discovered that I don’t need to wake a whole TWENTY minutes earlier, just a mere ten. *does endless cartwheels of joy*………. I love my bed. Especially the new mattress. Jesus Christ, why did no-one tell me what pleasures would abound from spending more than the bare minimum on a pointy, stabby bargain basement affair?? You bunch of utter bastards.

These firsts of pure joy have been a tiring, blessing in disguise that I’ve wholeheartedly embraced, to avoid thinking too much about the mountain of other firsts that have passed these last two weeks.

Empty

Tonight was the first Wednesday night class that we haven’t followed with a couple of drinks across the road. I’d completely forgotten until I got there and my stomach lurched at the address of my final class of the day. It jarred me……. there are so many things that have been masked by the move. Thanks be to all the gods. Hallelujah!! The first day not texting a good morning message, or a goodnight. The first Friday without an early afternoon finish and an escape to a nice beachside restaurant for a romantic boozy lunch. First time in a long time without a, ‘…….love you…..‘. Amazing how quickly you become used to that. And how quickly you forget the last time you let it into your life, and the inevitable pain connected with it. I imagine that’s a bit like childbirth. The first Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc. etc. etc. The missed first dinner together in my new place, missed first anniversary celebration…… we were just nine days shy.

Anyway…….There will be a few more firsts to bore the living Hell outta ya – and me – before I’m done (but really, it’s all so exciting!) be warned, but I won’t be talking about the *says conspiratorially out of corner of mouth* the ‘other’ ones: of that you can be sure. There are too many more good things to focus on: dinner party, family and friends visiting, Christmas celebration, evil hangover under a throw on the sofa with an endless supply of Lays crisps and Nestea and Ben and Jerry’s. First supermarket online delivery arrival, sick day with a hot-water bottle and a hot toddy (kind of comforting)…….. good things, you say? It’s all relative.

I’m in

….. and all but the very last vestiges of my life in the Gotic, have been brushed and bleached from the memory of number one Carrer de Lleona. After the big move last Tuesday, I have popped back and forth throughout the week to collect the remnants of almost three years of my first really independent steps, here in Barcelona. I remember as if it were yesterday, the feeling of abject terror taking the plunge and signing that contract on my own, after almost four years of sharing with someone who was to become one of my closest friends. How lucky I’ve been.

I hate and love change in equal measures. I hate the process of packing up and physically moving with such passion that I would rather, genuinely, get married and divorced twenty more times. And knowing what you do, you can understand the depth of that emotion. I dislike intensely working out a new routine, because routine is what keeps me sane. A place for everything, and everything in its place. And if it’s not, well……………. *BOOM*! It’s the reason why I will quite literally beast myself for a week to get everything moved, built, hung, constructed, organised and in order – to achieve the sensation that I have always been in the new place and nothing is out of the ordinary, or place. Right now as I write, I am bloody knackered. Physically and emotionally. That might have more to do with the fact that my relationship recently ended, I’m almost forty-seven, five floors of stairs are a bitch twice a day, and my knees hurt – but actually that I haven’t stopped until now to write this. Collecting another twenty kilos (más o menos) of stuff from the old place in the good ol’ IKEA bag (what did we do before), dismantling an old blind, putting up curtain poles, hanging curtains, and emptying the last boxes of stuff in the new place. I despise not knowing where everything is, it gives me the jitters. Yesterday, I bumped into my elderly neighbour at the old place, as I was chucking stuff out. We have had one minor disagreement, when he suggested that water was magic and bent around his flat from the top floor, to flood my toilet. But apart from that, he’s relished waiting in the dark mornings of winter to scare the living bejeezus out of me as I left for work, falling about laughing when I jumped out of my skin, (yeah, totes bantz Señor), we’ve chatted in the stairwell about all kinds of bollocks, and wished each other happy holidays when appropriate. And when I told him yesterday that I was leaving, disappointment flashed across his face so tangibly, that when I went back into the old place, I sat down on the sofa and broke my heart. Change is shit.

Home

Then there’s the excitement of the new. Discovering the nooks and crannies of your new neighbourhood, *finding the bars, hidden shops, getting to know the locals (a bit, not too much like: natch). Rearranging furniture, hanging pictures, making it your own. I love this new place so much that I keep walking up and down the little corridor, saying inside my brain “this is mine!” (And the voices, “this is yours“), like I just won the lottery and moved into a Cotswold country pile next to Kate Moss.

I know that I’m going to be very happy here, despite the mixed emotions right now, and it’s very probable that I’ll never move ever again in all of my remaining days. Ever. Like never, ever, ever. EVER. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off out to buy a cat to complete the ‘dies alone and has face eaten off by domestic animal’ story. I considered a fish tank, but I just don’t think a goldfish will cut it.

*please note the first thing on the list was: bars.

Autumn

I’ve always loved this time of year the most: the smells, the colours, the pleasure of digging out your knitwear and boots.  Less so here, as it’s still twenty-three degrees – but you get the idea.  It’s always felt like a new leaf turning over, more so than Spring for me.  I like the idea of death.  You go, my inner Emo!  *high fives self*. Go on!  Bury the shit outta that old crap – stuff you don’t need, habits, clothes, things you don’t use.  I usually have a big clear out and massively enjoy nesting a little bit, ready for the onset of winter.  Which is a very romantic way of saying, ‘doesn’t do any lady maintenance and lives in trackies for foreseeable future’.

Autumn


This year it coincides, coincidentally, with the signing of a contract for a new flat here in Barcelona.  Bye bye, ladies of the night, drug dealers and five am revellers.  As much as I love you all, and I really do, it’s time for us to part ways.  Bye bye human poo on my doorstep at seven am, six month stalker nightmare and the heady aroma of pungent piss at the height of summer – (all year round actually, but the heat doesn’t help).  As for you lot,  you can all fuck all the way off.  To Hell, and back.

Hello leafy lane, dog park and children’s play area….. I’ll be the weirdo, silently hanging around by the dogs. 

Also, I’ve been cleared out. Of my partner’s life, a mere two weeks before we reached our first year together.  I was so ridiculously excited about this relationship, such good feelings from the outset.  So kind, sweet, tactile, handsome, generous and funny…….. too good to be true, one might say.  And also about arriving at this milestone, finally proving to myself that I’m not a complete fuck-up, I can hold down a relationship and am capable of the whole love thing (resists making self puke).  But nope.  Don’t be bloody ridiculous PANK, How long have you known you?  I piddy da FOO who believes in love!!!  The best plan has always been the ‘be single plan’, it’s easier to be single.  It’s always been easier to be single.  What have I told you about sticking to the plan, Anne?

(Make ’em laugh Annie, that’s the way to cope. Get a laugh to soften the blow.  Truth be told, I’m heartbroken, I honestly thought that this one had real potential to be something special, to go the distance; and I’m sad that he’s not sharing this with me.)

So anyways…… moving swiftly on, as I do at the mere whiff of heartfelt emotions – Autumn: all the deaths of everything, literally.  Home, things, shit seventies furniture, relationship.  There were things ‘he didn’t like’, but would not explain. Mysterious things, things that I will never know. Things. Stuff. Stuff and things with no name. So I have something super concrete to work with when I go to the shrink next week.  Thanks love. 

AP:  “So apparently I have things people don’t like, which I’d like to talk about.”

Shrink: “Great.  Tell me about them.”

AP:  “I would if I knew, but they must remain a mystery. I think I might be on a mission quest that I’m not actually aware of.”

Shrink: “Hhhhmmmm. Ok.”

AP:  “What can I do to improve these ‘things’?”

Shrink: “Don’t do the ‘things‘. Or, be better at the ‘things‘?  Honestly, I’m not quite sure.”

AP: “Great! Thanks Doc.”

Shrink: “Excellent work Anne! See you in two weeks.”

I’ve been a nervous wreck. Shaking, painfully thirsty, distracted, I’ve lost three kilos and can’t eat – (silver lining.  Always a silver lining).  Thank you BreakUpDiet ©AnnePANK 2017, seriously, I should be your brand ambassador.  

And then, there was the flat.  Until I got the contract signed and those keys in my hot little hand, I couldn’t rest….. (and how strange it was to go to the office with my brand new ex and pretend to still be a couple, to seal the deal.  So I must thank him for that.  Our names are there together for the next three years, how romantic.  And desperately sad). I was literally counting down the seconds. And now, as Shakespeare once said – “my leaf will truly turneth over”. Or something.  So, thank all the Gods for the little, new flat with no memories or history, in a nice part of town, full of light…… and on the fifth floor with no lift. 

So, buns of steel too; daily cardio without the gym subscription?!  What’s not to absolutely love about that?!

Who’s with me?

Ok people, enough is e-bloody-nuff.  

The world’s gone blewmin’ mad and I don’t know where to turn to avoid some kind of mega-crisis. And that’s not counting the existential one. That bastard, I gotta deal with on a daily basis, so I don’t need all this other shit pitching in.  You hear that universe?

So as it turns out,  I left my country before I even realized that it was still suffering an enormous hangover from the days of the

 Viking

Brexit

 

invasions, and fiercely anti-everyone from ‘outside’.   So when Brexit happened it simply cemented a feeling that I’d made the right decision to have a cheeky little European adventure.  Apart from the teeny, tiny fact that all my European citizen rights would no longer exist after March 2019.  Oh yeah, THAT.  Shit all the way off, Brexiteers.

Then I got my permanent residency card, and I felt a little anchored once again. There are no guarantees with this, none whatsoever but you know, on some deep psychological level, I felt better. 

Then the last week of September and the first day of October happened.  What the hell is going on?!  Armed national police raided local government buildings and confiscated pcs, mobiles, laptops and papers and detained government workers and their families.  I was on the streets of Barcelona with my partner early on Sunday morning, to support him in his referendum vote.  The day was a peaceful protest. I never in a million years expected to see the scenes that unfolded….. I’m sorry, correct me if I’m wrong, but I am living in a twenty-first century democratic country.  Aren’t I?

Whatever your political leanings, and I have been largely neutral in the current situation, you cannot ignore or excuse the violence that ensued on Sunday.  storm troopers marched into tiny rural villages to terrify the hundred or so inhabitants. In the cities Robocops dragged and beat retirees waiting peacefully in line. They threw women down stairs and broke fingers deliberately, one by painful one. 

My heart is broken, because the world is rubbish.  I could never have imagined this could happen. And then afterwards, be justified. 

And so the hunt is on. The hunt is on for a place where all are welcome (not you U.K.), and people can speak freely and air their grievances without fear of violence (not you Spain).  I’m warming (ironically) to Iceland.  They believe in trolls and fairies – what’s not to love about that, they jail corrupt politicians and bankers and they have that chant…… please observe Euro 2016.  No really, please.  You owe it to yourself. 

Unless you guys know of an island that needs inhabiting (nowhere in  the nuke zone of North Korea) by the likes of, well, us kind, peaceful, fairly normal folk – then I’m off to Iceland.  Who’s with me?