Monthly Archives: October 2016

31 October 2016

Today is a sort of holiday here in VnG. Tomorrow is a national holiday so most business/people take today off as well and make it a long weekend (Puente).  Public holiday days always a different feel for me and today is no exception. Everything seems quieter and at an even more relaxed pace.  For me that’s no bad thing.

I’ve had quite a weekend so far.

On Saturday Laura and Guillermo had invited me out for lunch at a fairly new place in town. It is on the Rambla and is called El Raco. Many years ago, probably about 30 there used to be a cafe on the same site called ‘Bar 9 Oriente’ which we used fairly regularly and knew the owner fairly well. Of course my young lunch companions hadn’t heard of it – Too young!!  Since then it has had many reincarnations, none being that successful that they have lasted. I’m hopeful for this one as it is quite different to the previous ones.

The whole place has been renovated. There are two areas for eating (as we ll as outside). We sat in the back where you can see the revolving pizza oven and watch the chef preparing and cooking, which I always find interesting.  There were plenty of vegetarian items on the menu, which was in the style of a newspaper, and initially a little confusing (For me).

We started with a shared plate of Patatas Bravas which were not prepared nor presented like most places, which made a change. We also chose a dish of mixed tomatoes which were marinated and had slices of ginger mixed in. It was really tasty, although when it arrived the ginger slices looked like either ham or salmon mixed in. Luckily I had two tasters to confirm that it was neither meat nor fish!  For main course we each chose a pizza and naturally did the same for dessert.

All in all a very enjoyable lunchtime, which we will repeat again sometime soon. I can thoroughly recommend the place whether you’re a red in tooth and claw meat eater, or a veggie.

Sunday was a very different day.  I had arranged to meet Edith, Ingo & Max for a trip to Barcelona visiting their friend Fran and family.  Fran is a tattoo artist. Some time ago I had mentioned to Edith about getting a tattoo in Tony’s memory (for want of a better expression). She told me about Fran and thus the visit to Barcelona. Edith also wanted to have one of her tattoos finished off with colours.

I had no idea what I wanted when I left in the morning, although I had thought that whatever I chose would include our names /initials.  I didn’t want the traditional “heart” and “I love…” on my biceps, but something more personalised. I’d seen some designs & things on line that I liked, but nothing quite exact.. After chatting with Fran and looking at couple of images he went off and drew what we had discussed. He had captured what I wanted exactly. Our initials, a stylised heart and Yin/Yang design. I wanted yin yang included somehow because Tony was very much the yin to my yang or visa versa.

I was a bit worried about the pain, but Fran covered my forearm in some unaesthetic cream and I hardly felt the needles at all. All we had to do was wait an hour or so for it to take effect. To while away some of the time Ingo, Max and I went in search of a place for takeaway lunch. The only reason I mention this is because as we were leaving an old lady asked Max if he was out with his two dads, which I thought was really amusing, and a sign that Spain is truly moving forward.

During the tattooing a couple of tears came to my eyes, not because of the pain though, but when Fran started on Tony’s initials. So many things can have that effect on me these days.

So here it is… Fran’s work is amazing and he is quite the perfectionist… Let me know what you think. (This was taken as soon as it was finished so still looks a bit sore.)


Today it’s slightly sore, but Alberto gave me the name of a cream to get so I’ve been to the chemist and bought some. (I hadn’t been sure they would be open, luckily they were) As soon as I asked for it the pharmacist asked if I’d just had a tattoo. It must be popular! (And was a better option than getting the anusol that Jane said would help. Hahaha)



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Music was always a big part in our life together, we both loved to dance, to go to concerts and together we amassed a huge collection of CDs, along with a bit of vinyl, and even a few cassettes have survived. Luckily our tastes in general concurred. However Tony could never see the merits of Kate Bush, apart from the fact that it was her that brought us together. If I hadn’t met her  that day maybe Tony and my paths would never have crossed.

Our tastes ranged from ultra pop to classic and jazz/Blues. And there are many stories related to Music.

Music for me now can be a trigger for  great memories or a trigger crashing and  slipping into depression – some things I cannot yet handle and avoid situations that may take me there.

Back in the 80’s Tony and I both had a  thing for Midge Ure of Ultravox and BandAid fame. Just last week he was on the re-run of Top of the Pops, one of our favourite programmes, back in the day. This rerun was from July 1982, just a couple of months before we met. On TOTP he performed  ‘No regrets‘. A song I love(d) then and now.

Tony always found it amusing how I responded to the words of songs. Watching Midge Ure perform this one was no exception. The chorus and first verse were fine, but when he got to the second verse I hardly kept control.  He sang my words:

The hours that were yours echo like empty rooms
The thoughts we used to share I now keep alone
I woke last night and spoke to you
Not thinking you were gone
And it felt so strange to lie awake alone


Click the picture below to listen on youtube


No Regrets  – Midge Ure

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28 October 2016

Not a great start to the day today.

Last night I didn’t sleep well and in the moments I snatched in the early morning I was plagued by bad dreams, one in particular that has stayed with me in which I was searching for Tony in a house I barely recognised. I felt low on waking but wasn’t sure why and it wasn’t until an hour or so later that the dream resurfaced (as they do).

To cap that I had to go to the hospital (San Camillos) where Tony died this morning. Since that afternoon I haven’t liked going there and have to steel myself before. After last night’s dream this took double effort. However I managed to hold myself together and get there and back without cracking.

Home again I did my usual morning trawl of friends posts and came across a short video about male suicide in the UK. Did you know that ONE in FOUR UK men have thought about suicide?  I had always thought my life to be amazing up to this year and had never entertained the idea. This year it has been far different. In the video a few men talked about their experiences, and it wasn’t an easy watch. I’ve recently posed myself the same questions they were asking of themselves. How do you tell someone who doesn’t want to hear? On more than one occasion I have been told that I need to talk to someone, by that comment I take it to mean ‘someone else’. How do you tell anyone when the words are locked inside, when the fear is so great?  I have also been instructed that I mustn’t be stupid and act on my thoughts. That  advice is so counter-productive and shaming.

When I hit a low before Tony was always there. No wise words, just there, always, no matter what a shitty bitch I became. I miss that so much. I have a couple of great  (and I mean the best ever) friends who check in with me daily (they’ll know who they are), whom I appreciate more than they could ever know.  But sometimes the blackness is too strong.  Sometimes I just have to hide and wait for the heaving storm clouds to pass, washing them away with copious amounts of sobbing. Luckily the animals are always on hand in their own consolatory way, even now Franki is trying to cuddle up as close as possible. They always sense my moods.

Today to lift my mood I took Cuddy and Franki to the beach, something I had promised them when they had behaved so well in the car for the vet visits the other day. I am super-impressed how well they sit in the back with their seat-belts on.  They ran and frolicked while I sat and watched gradually relieving the pressure in my head, which little by little it did.  I left my phone turned off and disconnected.

When I turned my phone back on I had a few messages. One from the Wonderful Edith who suggested coffee at lunchtime. Knowing that just being with her for a while would raise my spirits more I agreed, and as always am glad I did.

I know tomorrow is another day, and yes I have plans to meet with another couple of wonderfully caring friends for lunch. I just want to get through the nights too now. And whatever you do please don’t tell me time heals- it fucking doesn’t. However occasionally a gin helps.





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28 October 2016

It’s been quite a week so far here at Casa TulStig.

Last weekend can be written off as a non-event. For some reason weekends can be the worst of times. And besides everything one of my crowns came off while eating a piece of crusty bread.

Monday the guys arrived to fit the bannister for the stairs to the roof terrace. I¡d been worried recently that I could easily tumble own the stairs while fetching washing, especially with dogs and cats around my legs. The guys arrived about half an hour late, kind of par for the course in Spain for most workman, although we’d got used to punctuality with Sebastian. They got down to the task in hand straight away and had finished in under an hour, and a great job it is too. The cats are a bit bemused by it, but will get used to it soon enough.

Sebastian came to inspect and says that all  have to now is paint it with special anti-oxidation paint. Most of the garden walls are also in need of a lick of paint too. So I shall add these to the list. If anyone fancies a few days painting various things around the house call me!


During the afternoon I popped over to the local garden centre and restocked the garden where some plants had died off. It’s certainly looking better out there now.

Luckily the dentist could fit me in too, so I drove over to Sitges to see what could be done. Dr Ron is going to give me three quotes, one for a new crown, one to replace the old crown (luckily I didn’t swallow it or break it), and one for a complete makeover with an implant. Let’s see what the damage is  before I commit to any option.

Tuesday was Catalan class. Not much to report there, although the group deffo think I’m a bit off the wall, having talked about my 800km walk of 6 years ago.

Yesterday was just a tad (read mucho) stressful. The dogs were booked in for their annual vaccines at 10, so as they’ve not yet been car-trained we walked down. Cuddy hates going that far away from home and gets all nervous, whereas Franki has to instigate everything. I was pulled from pillar to post and had quite a sweat on by the time I got to Dr Oscar’s place. They are always excited to go in and see him, which makes it less stressful from that pint of view.

Back home, sweaty again, I settled the dogs and popped to Aldi. When I came back Cuddy’s face had swollen up and one of her eyes was completely closed. PANIC! I dumped the shopping in the kitchen, called the vets and rushed back down there. This time we went in the car. It was the first time they have been in it, and with seatbelts, and luckily they behaved fairly well. This bodes well for trips to the beach now. After a a quick check Oscar gave Cuddy an anti-inflammatory and concluded that he thinks it must be an allergy reaction to one of the vaccines. She’s been having them for the past 8 years so it was a bit of a surprise.  Next year she will have on at a time to see which one caused it, as there’s really no way of knowing.  Back home she slept most of the afternoon / evening, but of course she was first in the queue for dinner as normal.


Today I’m off to Catalan classes again, at least next week Tuesday is a holiday so we’ll get a bit of a break, most likely with plenty of homework.

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Another November, and another Nouveau Beaujolais night.

Goodness know why but on Nouveau Beaujolais night a group of us from work always followed the tradition of road-testing the year’s new wine, just arrived from France.

Under French Law the latest Beaujolais is released for distribution at a minute after midnight on the third Thursday of November. By that evening many of the pubs and bars in London are offering it to their punters. It is recommended to drink this new wine before the following May, but with us around I’m not sure many of the pubs in our sphere had any the following week. Perhaps I should say at this juncture ‘Me’ as this was something Tony rarely took part in.

I don’t know what the time was as I staggered in the door, being as quiet as possible, in that three sheets t the wind way. I’d obviously made the last train but after a few glasses of the vino collapso things became decidedly blurry.

“It’s okay, I’m awake.” Tony called from in bed. Chasca was jumping up and down as I tried to get my key out of the lock.

I stuck my head round the bedroom door. “Love you,” I said, or perhaps slurred.

“What have you done?” Tony asked suspicions raised.

“It’s beuvolais noujoeau night innit,” I giggled in reply.

“And you’re completely plastered,” Tony sat up.  “And what the…?” he asked.

“What?” I asked.

“Go look in the bathroom mirror,” he leaned back against his pillow giving me that look of love and disbelief he reserved for such occasions.

A little while later I came back. I’d dropped my clothes along the way. “Oops,” I said as I climbed into bed feeling even more the worse for wear.

“So?” Tony asked as he snuggled up to Chasca and me.

“I vaguely remember waking up on the tube platform,” I confessed.

“And?” Tony’s face was creased in a smile.

“And I think I’d been sick. It’s all a bit blurry,” I continued my confession.

“Blurry? You think?” Tony began. “So that’s why your shirt collar was red. Beaujolais nouveau sick, lovely.” He teased.

“Looks that way,” I laid back trying to stop the room moving so much. “Oh my God, it’ll be on the cctv,” I wailed.

“Never again?” he wondered aloud.

“I’ve never said that,” I replied. It was true I never made a false promise to stop when drunk or hungover “If you had come too you could have stopped me.”

“Never in a million years. I now what you’re like, Tullett,” Tony laughed. “As long as it was a good night”

“Well I’ll have to check with Kath in the morning, but I think it was. Then  again…..” I stopped mid sentence and quickly  headed back to the bathroom, knowing that Kath was probably in a very similar condition and may not remember any more than I did. But no matter how bad we arrived home we would still be in work the next morning to perform an autopsy of the year’s beavolais noujeau night.





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Slam session

In my post a couple of days back I mentioned the Writing groups reading evening. Here are the details…


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At Friday’s writing group we were invited to write from a series of prompts chosen by us almost at random, using numbers from our lives.  Each number being a specific phrase or word to be used in our short stories. First we chose our character’s name (mine was Candy), then the three prompts I had selected were “Paid him too much”; “Surprising her with a kiss”; and “Holding the rail”. 

Below is my story … or rather ‘Candy’s’… 


The rain lashed the window with an intensity that Candy still felt inside. The darkness out there reflected her soul tonight. The flashing red and blue lights no more than an interruption.

Sitting on the window bench looking out at the city the tears running down her face burnt as she remembered. She realised numbly she was still holding the rail in one hand whilst blithely tipping the bottle back with the other.  She shivered slightly. ‘What had she done?‘ The thought reverberated in her head like a jackhammer. ‘What the hell had she done?’

It had all started out as a bit of fun chatting to the stunning redhead in the hotel bar. Candy loved to flirt, and was a flirt expert she liked to think. In most cases flirting was as far as it went so why did she allow herself to take it further tonight? She knew the reason only too well. Today was the anniversary.

After having had her third cocktail bought for her the redhead told her his name. “Charles,” he had whispered close and seductively.

“As in Aznavour,” she had joked when he had told her but he was way too young to get the reference.

Passing her the cocktail he surprised her with a kiss. She leant into it and responded much more than she had initially intended to . One more time she had had too much to drink and appeared to be losing her control. At the time she remembered calculating the difference in their ages. ‘Was she really old enough to be his mother?’ she had thought. ‘Where had the years gone?’ She knew the answer to that one too.

She was aware now that perhaps she had paid him too much attention straight away, or was that part of her plan? Her thinking was muddled still. Anyway he was stunning.  She had been seriously flattered and thrilled by his attentions. Even when he had slid his hand up her thigh and under her skirt she hadn’t complained. Was that what she had wanted? She had chosen the skirt so she could be naked underneath. Did that mean she was ‘looking for it’?

Now here he was lying on the floor, her bedroom floor, inert. Candy looked at his body, all lust gone now. She looked back at the rail in her hand, casually noticing the bloodstains. She couldn’t really remember pulling it off the wall, although she had noticed it was loose when she had checked in. She remembered rushing into the bathroom, but was that the reason why? Did she only go into there to get a weapon, the handrail being just such a weapon, when he had pulled the knife, or had she muddled the order of events now?

The knife was the last thing she expected him to take out of his jeans. She vaguely remembered hitting him squarely across the temple with the rail, but hadn’t known that the force she had used would bring him down with one blow. The beating she had rained down on him afterwards was another lost memory.

Candy turned away from her crime blankly staring back out the window at the city below. She smiled. Here she was in another strange hotel and she’d done it again.



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