My City

A garden wrapped in wool

pink, yellow and lavender

Hill

London flits through my mind

noise of birds, the bustle and smell

it’s quiet here

coastal

Bird calls are my sirens

crashing waves the south circular

this garden my Clapham Common

I’m home away from

home

A city that I longed to escape

pulls at me

Tugging at my hair, my skin, my nails

My breath comes too freely here

I gulp to fill my lungs with smog

just a salted sea breeze

Swansea croaks with fresh air

The spines of my books cracking with salt.

birds cat calling in the trees

I am isolated here

a child with her parents

escaped back to

home

From there to here

I long for what I had had

enough of

of London

 

£25,000 bonus

Dear colleagues

I am afraid

There isn’t enough

Money

I am afraid we have

significantly more than others in the sector.

But there isn’t enough

After an exceptionally successful year in 2017/18

There is not enough

We just can’t

There is no money.

We are hugely sympathetic

And thank you

but there is uncertainty ahead

We can’t invest in our staff

It would be irresponsible

We can’t open this up for discussion

There just isn’t enough money

But if you are eligible there is

£25,000

A sweet steal

As I pocket more than your years salary on top of mine.

Thank you.

 

Fiscally responsible but socially irresponsible

Hen Hangover

World outside my window, bosom shelves and cupcakes, salt and vinegar crisps with semi skimmed milk.

Slug trails on trees like trace glitter from a hen party clinging to your breasts.

Shrill screams and L-plates. Waves of love slosh and swirl around your wine glass, even if you like the Sainsbury’s basics best.

Ping, a basket through a red door, a yowl from a small cat.

Sky so piercing and blue you could stand on the edge of the window ledge and push off up into it.

One day you will.

70s disco overthrown by Robbie Williams and the Sugar Babes.

Blue cheese and cheddar rise and fall on a tide of prosecco as a miniature pink tumescence winks at you from the hall table – go on eat me.

With your brain dancing harder than you feet you face plant the pillow, settling down to thumping music and joyful screaming.

 

Love      is        in        the       air.

 

 

A Breakfast Ritual.

Alexis makes churros traditionally. He has in his set-up what looks like a sausage maker which contains the pallid batter waiting to be transformed into one of my favourite Spanish delicacies. As he turns the crank and does a little shimmy with his machine, the batter is forced out through a small opening at the end of a spout. As he works Alexis builds up a sweat, wiping his brow on a small pink towel. He encourages the batter to form a large spiral in the hot oil below. As I watch the batter transforms, like skin under the sun, from palest yellow to a golden brown in minutes. As soon as the perfect colour is reached the churro is fished from the oil. Two long skewers are slid beneath the giant spiral transferring it to a circular silver platter, a perfect fit. As the churro rests here, excess oil draining away, Alexis retrieves his scissors. They are cloth scissors. He snips at intervals along the golden coil, creating my mountain of churros.

Each day I have devoured them at the plastic tables adjacent to Alexis’ stand in the small car park off Frigiliana’s Plaza de las Tres Culturas. This is my morning ritual. My Churreria Church. What makes these so good is their context. An unassuming stand with a humble and permanently happy vendor – unafraid to suggest that a Spanish boyfriend would be most beneficial, to my Spanish. Blink and you could miss it. Although it would be quite a feat for you to slip past unnoticed, with Alexis offering any passer by smile and an ¡Hola! He also speaks perfect English, some French and a splash of German; there really is no excuse!

There are only a handful of gems to be found in Frigiliana, but Alexis’ Churreria has to be a very large jewel in its crown, where you can be certain of the warmest welcome.

Bullfighting – A Bullring Tragedy

Ventas, Madrid – 25th August 2015

Before the 25th August last year I had been a fence-sitter when it came to bullfighting. I attempted to legitimise it as a cultural practice and therefore an indelible aspect of Spain’s living cultural heritage. Now, to me, it seems ludicrous to claim this cruelty as central to Spain’s identity, in order to legitimise its continued practice.

I had not seen anything die before, aside from the occasional snail, and nothing as gory as this. Despite the distress and ensuing vegetarianism I am glad that I went and challenged – and ultimately changed – my beliefs.

In just 45 minutes I witnessed the slaughter of two bulls. I had to leave very shortly after the second as I had begun to sob loudly and had no tissues to stem the tide of snot and tears flowing down my face. I probably looked a bit of a site and could imagine people watching me thinking, “well why the fuck is she here? She must have known it would be like this!” The truth is I had no idea I would find it so repulsive and unsettling. I had naively imagined that it would be a clean and respectful practice. Now a thought that seems utterly ridiculous.

My first bull was jet black all over. He was subjected to the veronicas and picadors, by which time his jet black coat was red with blood. Then the Banderilleros entered the ring to perform a crude game of pin the tail on the donkey. They plunged their banderillas into the back of the bull, who was now bleeding profusely. Eventually the Matador re-entered the ring for the faena, a series of veronicas accompanied by the estoque, culminating in the death of the bull. The estoque slid through his hide between his shoulder blades, severing the aorta. He began to sway on his feet, encouraged to the floor by the Banderilleros and Novilleros. 

The second bull was brown. He bled far more than the first and it was after this that I had to leave. The bull would probably have been around three years old – the age fought by novilleros (beginners). His death was not clean and skilful. The novillero pierced him high on the neck, blood gushed from his mouth and nose. Swinging his head wildly the bull sprayed the sand around him and anyone who came within range. It was brutal. He slumped to the floor, drowning in his own blood, his killers just watching. When his life finally left him, four horses entered the arena and he was tethered to them and dragged away unceremoniously by his horns.

These were not evenly weighted fights. There was no way that either Jet or Brown would have survived. Bullfights are rigged from the start, like WWE wrestling, but with very real pain and blood. It seemed a fitting comeuppance for me that the Rabo de Toro of the previous night had made me ill that day.

 

 

WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: