Category Archives: Contemporary

Lest we forget

If you’ve read #Berwick Street to Barcelona you’ll already know this story, although I don’t think I fixed it on a day in time.  It was on this day – 11th November 1998 that we said goodbye to our first.  Probably my worst day up that point. Thre have been too many more contenders for that title since.

It’s Never Enough

I had been sitting in my office when the phone rang with the worst news possible.

“The tumour is inoperable. There’s nothing we can do, I’m sorry. Would you like to come collect her and bring her home?”

I slammed the door to my office and broke down. Goodness knows what the rest of my team thought. I was in shock.

I called Tony: “They can’t do anything for her.” The line went silent. “I’m leaving work in a minute to go pick her up. Can you meet me there?”

And that’s what we did, met outside the vets to pick up our little girl who had a month to live at most. Our journey home together was in silence.


The night before the fateful day we were aware that Chasca’s condition had worsened and she no longer had control over her bladder. I cried as I cleared up after her, and still told her how much I loved her.

“We have to decide now,” Tony was practical.

“I can’t do it.” I was sobbing.

He held me until I managed a level of control again. “It’s best for her.” He took my hands. “She’s suffering now. It is a privilege that we have had her and a privilege that we can stop her suffering.”

“Can you call?” I begged. Tony nodded. I cuddled up to Chasca knowing it would be her last night with us.


 “They’re here,” Tony told me as a car pulled up outside. I was sitting on the rug in front of the fire holding Chasca telling her how sorry I was and how much I loved her.

Tony let the vet and her assistant into the living room.

“Do you want to do it here?” she asked. I couldn’t answer. I nodded as the tears flowed freely.

Tony and I knelt and held Chasca as the procedure was carried out and she slowly fell asleep in our arms.  Ironically on the radio Sarah Brightman was singing ‘It’s time to say goodbye’.

“She’s gone,” the vet announced. After I told Chasca how sorry I was yet again and professed my love for her I ran sobbing into the garden.


In the aftermath I was told too many times- she was a good age; 14 is a good age for her breed, at least you had her for a long time. I wanted to scream “It’s never enough.”

Please never tell me a dog is just a dog.  They are my family, my life, my love. Have been and always will be.


Another of my favourite photos …
With Chasca in the garden in Brockley.


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One of those days

This morning started slowly for me today. It’s probably my age but most morning’s start slowly these days. Leaping out of bed is a thing of the distant past.

After walking Franki this morning, Cuddy had wisely opted to stay in bed a bit longer, I slipped my muddy shoes off and made breakfast for the TulStig pack. Harvey has started to become more vocal now when I am late with his meals.

After breakfast I was getting ready for my Catalan class and putting my shoes one when the doorbell rang, causing the usual doggie rush to the front window barking furiously as they went.  My back isn’t too good at the moment and putting my shoes and reaching the laces is a bit of a trial, and takes much longer than it should. Anyway when the doorbell rang I had one shoe on and one flip-flop (Indoor wear here). That’s just how I went to the door.

At the door was a very amiable delivery man with a large package (add your own jokes here) for me. It was a new cat scratcher. With five of them in the house now it is clear that the current one which is already on its way out won’t last much longer. As I signed for the package I noticed that the delivery guy looked down and saw my original footwear combination and smiled. I caught his eye and just shrugged, after al I’m sure he’s encountered worse. Strike one.

This little drama meant I was later than I had hoped and as I rushed off into town I realised I had forgotten the apple turnovers I had promised to drop off at the school for June. Strike two.

Checking my email on the way into town I noticed I had one from TripAdvisor asking me to confirm my licence number for TulStig Delmar. After an aborted attempt to get through when I got to the Catalan school building I phoned again when I got home. The woman who took my call was very helpful and very apologetic for the putting me out. When I asked her name to thank her I was sure she said ‘Jelly bean’. I immediately repeated it back to her, telling her that I thought it was a very sweet name. “No, Geraldine,” she replied. “Geraldine.”  I apologised thanked her for her hap and hung up before laughing away to myself for a couple of minutes. Am I losing my hearing too? Strike three.

I’m now indoors for the rest of the evening, nothing else can go wrong can it? ….


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Problem solving

Today’s writing comes from an interesting writing prompt in a writing group I belong to on FB.


I couldn’t bear it. I had known for some time that I needed to make some kind of big change in my life.  My home, which had been a haven I had really loved in which I had felt comfortable and safe had gradually felt more like a cage in which I was locked, or dare I say a coffin in which I was gradually being interred alive.

My lover of five years had proved to be worse than a snake in the grass, poisonous.  While looking for new batteries for the wireless mouse I had found letters hidden at the back of his desk, letters from another woman detailing their encounters. They were the straw to break the camel’s back of my love for him.

Just under an hour ago he had come home with flowers and a huge smile, completely oblivious to what I had discovered.  Now they, like him, lie motionless on the floor, both not long for this world and neither of any further appeal to me.

The shots must have been heard far and wide for in the distance I could hear the sirens, but I was not one to be re-caged. My bag was packed and I was ready…

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With Nanowrimo just a few days away I thought I better flex my recently unused writing muscles, so here’s the first offering in what has been too long…


Three times he’d called her this afternoon and three times she had hung up on him. He was loath to try again. Perhaps he hadn’t given her enough time to cool off, but last time they had had a row she complained when he had left it longer before calling her again. ‘Damned if I do, damned if I don’t,’ though Tim.

He put the phone back on his desk and decided to leave it a little longer before trying again. At least Myra would know he had tried to call already.

As Tim tapped the keys to his all singing all dancing MAC he couldn’t stop thinking about Myra and what had started their stupid spat. Every few seconds he glanced at his mobile sitting on his desk, willing it to ring and for it to be her.

The previous night they had gone to the new seafood restaurant that had opened in town down by the Quay. It already had a reputation for having the freshest fish and the most imaginative dishes on its menu.

On arrival Tim had thought the decor a little kitch,  ‘hadn’t the whole fishing nets and bottles thing been done in  the seventies?’ he had quietly commented to Myra as the manageress approached them. She replied in less than a whisper that she didn’t agree with his assessment. Tim remembered her words exactly. She went on to say that she thought it looked homely and was more than appropriate for the kind of restaurant it was. Of course her little speech had been more for the manageress’s benefit than his. Sometimes she seemed to enjoy embarrassing him in public, or ‘calling him out’ as she would tell him should he ever mention it.

Tim had smiled his lopsided smile at the manageress and tilted his head in a kind of apology. She nodded what Tim took to be an acknowledgement of said apology and showed them to a table by the window overlooking the marina. The music that gently filled the restaurant also sounded like some kind of throwback to the seventies: ‘easy listening lift music’ he would have commented had he thought Myra would have agreed, and not put him down again. Outside the lights of the boats were twinkling in the dusk, and the wind whistled past their masts twanging the lines as it did so making a marine symphony of its own. The manageress handed them menus and told them the day’s specials before slipping away.

“What was all that?” Myra asked once the manageress was out of earshot.

“All what?” Tim had asked innocently.

“That goofy smile, the tilt of your head and your come to bed eyes,” Myra spat back at him.

Tim knew there was little point arguing when she was in that kind of mood. he leaned across the table and took her hand. “It was nothing and I’m sorry if it looked otherwise. You’re the only woman for me, you know.”

Myra smiled and the fire for a fight went out of her eyes. Tim hoped that that was that for the evenings confrontations.

They each studied the menus commenting on the dishes as they went, until a waitress came by to ask if they wanted drinks. Tim’s suggested that they go directly for a bottle of the oaked chardonnay, which he knew Myra adored, and was sure he had made the right choice when Myra leaned in and touched his hand commenting that it would be perfect, calling him darling into the bargain.

As soon as the waitress left their table Myrtle’s face changed again. “If you don’t stop flirting with every large breasted creature in this place soon I’m going to up and leave.”

This time Tim had had enough. “One, I am not flirting and Two, please lower your voice. People are looking.”

Myra looked around and seemed to be mollified by the stares of the other diners. She simply glared at Tim one more time and returned to studying the menu.

Moments later a waiter appeared with their wine, served it and said he’d be back in a moment to take their food orders.  Tim noted Myra’s smile and possibly suggestive comments to the waiter but thought better of saying anything.

When the waiter returned Myra flirted with him outrageously once more as he took their order. Inside Tim broke a little but again let it pass.

The rest of the meal passed off without incident until it came to dessert. The restaurant had an old fashioned trolley on which the desserts were displayed, although it was clearly an updated version with covers and some kind of cooling mechanism.  Tim almost rolled his eyes as the waitress rolled it to their table and asked what they would like.

Once their desserts had been served and the waitress had rolled the trolley away Tim met Myra’s eyes to see a fire burning in them once more. She accused him of choosing something from the bottom shelf simply so he could get a better look at the waitresses ample bosom as she served. He told her she was being ridiculous and their meal was finished in an uncomfortable silence.

In the car on the way home Myra once again levelled accusations at Tim for flirting while retorting that her behaviour with the waiter was nothing of the sort.

As Tim pulled up to the kerb outside Myra’s building she jumped out slamming the door behind her and rushed inside with no further comment, leaving Tim wondering how they were still together after two years especially when Myra’s jealous rages had grown over the past few weeks.  In all honesty he knew the reason he was still with her. He loved her above everything, and hoped that one day she’d realise that. He knew her past well enough to also realise that she had been through the mill with relationships, especially the last one before they had met.

Having run through the whole sorry saga from the night before in his mind once more Tim picked up his mobile and after a few seconds indecision called Myra’s number again.

“Hello,” said a deep voice that Tim didn’t recognise when the phone was answered.

“Hello? Who is this?” Tim asked brusquely having been caught off guard.

“Mr Wilson. It is Tim Wilson, isn’t it? That’s the name that came up.” the voice told him down the line.

“Yes, but…” Tim stuttered. His mind raced trying to work out who the voice could belong to.

“Mr Wilson. My name is Officer Hedman. I’m sorry, but ….”  The line went quiet.

‘Had the officer hung up? Was the call cut off?’ Tim wondered, his mind full of worry, as he shouted into the dead line, “Officer, Officer.”



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It’s in…

No this isn’t another revelation about our life and love, although I’m sure Mr Brennan will have supplied the ‘fnarr’ by now. 😉

All my documents have finally been sent to the Ministry of Justice.

Last week I had my second appointment at the hacienda nad got the necessary confirmation of my identity to be able to download the digital signature when I got back home.

But first of all I had to download Mozilla Firefox as it was the browser that is recognised by the government system. Just another step in this ongoing journey.

That done I got into the government site yesterday and started uploading the documents. That in itself was quite a job. ONly PDF, PNG or JPEGs are accepted, and as they needed a copy of every page of my passport it took a while. I did try to upload a winzip file but it didn’t like that,.

So here I was sunday lunchtime uploading the documents when the power went out. Drama in the street with everyone asking “Tienes luz?” up and down the street. It was a general problem and came back on a coupe of hours later. So I started again, because of course nothing I had previously uploaded had been saved. At this point I was wondering if someone was trying to send me a message.

Finally al the documents were uploaded so I tried to send them, only to get an error message that I needed to download another piece of software for automatic digital signature. I swear the government will be reading this now… they probably have all sorts of trojans added in to check up on my browser use.  By this point I had had enough and was feeling out of sorts. I decided to leave the final clicks to today.

This afternoon I downloaded the final piece of kit and clicked, amazingly it sent without any problems.  The confirmation came back almost immediately (the first page of seven appears below, redacted) How long it’ll take before anyone looks at it is anyone’s guess. Hopefully they wont have any (too many) questions to follow-up on, but I could still be waiting up to 3 years, even though the government portal says 365 days. Fingers crossed everyone. If I do have to wait 3 years Catalunya may even be independent by then and I’ll probably have to go through the whole process again.

Citizenship confimation redacted_0001 (2)


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Citizenship update

Well, there I was thinking everything was going to be easy from here on in, what a fool I am.

Having got the webpage from the hacienda on which I had to apply for a digital signature/certificate to be able to apply for citizenship online I have today applied for one. But guess what? They sent me an email with a code on it, and now I have to go back to the hacienda to verify my identity before revisting the page to download  the cert.

To get back into the hacienda I have to make an appointment. However, being in Catalunya following the referendum I can’t make that until later on in the week.  Tomorrow there is a general strike. None of the offices will be open. This has had an advantage in that the company where I would normally teach a class on Tuesdays is also closed so no work for me. Although it also means my first catalan class of the new year has also been cancelled.

Anyway… Instead of fretting I have spent the most part of the morning scanning the documents ready for uploading. Once I get my identity validated, and then get the digital certificate I should be ready to go….. fingers crossed.

Although part of me wonders whether to hold fire on applying  or Spanish citizenship at all as I may be living in a different country soon. Then again as it can take up to three years for the application to be accepted (or otherwise) I’ll have plenty of time to consider a Catalan passport too.

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As many of you will know already, I am in the process of applying for Spanish citizenship. I took the ‘constitution’ test (CCSE) so long ago I think I have already forgotten everything I learned, and the DELE language test in April.

Finally I have all the documents together for the application to be completed, so this morning I went to the bank first thing and paid the fee, just €100, then went straight to the Registry to deliver my documents.

Like a good citizen I took my number and waited to be called. When it was my turn I explained what I wanted. The woman behind the counter apologised telling me that everything has to be done online these days. She explained how and told me I will need a digital signature from the ‘hacienda’ (another government office).

SHe explained the documents I would need to scan and atach to my application. I already have them all, and explained that I would need t oscan every page of my curent passport, inlcuding all the empty ones. I guess they want to check I don’t have any dodgy travels hidden away in its pages. That’s totally unlikely as its a new passport that I only got last summer and its never been used.

Before I left she asked if I was sure I wanted to take Spanish nationality as it would mean giving up my British Nationality. Except in a few cases (with South American countries mainly) it is not yet possible to have dual nationality. You have to have one or the other. I said I felt more Spanish these days and intended to live out the rest of my life here. She laughed politely and told me the adrees I needed to next visit.

At the hacienda I went through the usual rigmarole of passing everything through the security machine only to be told that if I didn’t have an appointment I wouldn’t be seen. Eye roll. The receptionist gave me a leaflet with the number on it to make the appointment.

I’ve just called the number and made the appointment… for tomorrow morning. Slowly but surely…

27 citiaenshipformJust one of the many forms to be completed.


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