I wrote not so long ago in my sketchbook that the narrow streets and I were getting on better…..now I think I am in love.
They have worked their magic. I wasn’t worried that I didn’t like them, as I kind of new I would in time. As the sun gets whiter the shadows get blacker, but it only makes it more dynamic and yes now they do seem romantic and if I had the guts to stand out there I would paint them.
We have moved to a new apartment today away from the big blocky buildings by the park into a potentially more realistic ( if thinking long term which we arnt ) location. Still in the lovely area of Sant Pere or El Borne but ‘in a bit’. Something that, the lizard light junky I am, was a bit worried about before I fell in love.
Graham has gone off to class and Molly and I are getting ourselves acquainted with the place. A slither of sun appears on one of the tiny balconies around 2pm, as it passes across the top of our crevice. This is a corner on a back street so any noise is just the clanking from the gas man as he goes round and the occasional conversation down below that gets Molly and I rushing to check it out, like nosey puppies, ears pricked.
Someone very close makes a telephone call and it seems loud but I dare not look across as with all the windows I haven’t worked out the etiquette yet, its so dark inside you cant see if someone is there and its so tempting to stare in as other peoples lives are so close but I am quite sure its not appropriate! Molly thinks she may bark as she is as confused as me by the proximity but then I remind here she’s not that sort of dog.
My opposite neighbor, up three, shouts and waves at the gas man ‘iqui’ and he laughs and curses as he fianly spots her waving from the top floor window, 6 flights up. The bottle goes on the shoulder and he is buzzed in. I think the gas man must be fit.
Later there is a load crash and a man runs full pelt, little legs spinning down our street, I think the pick pockets must be fit too. I couldn’t see what happened as it seemed to come from under the arch slightly round another corner, he had a bike helmet so not sure if he was a ‘pickyphoner’ maybe he was trying to steal the bike as it sounded like plastic crashing; its like being in a film where you cant see everything going on, add Catalan to that and really, it becomes fiction!
I saw a bag grab in the park when I was drawing the other day, so quick, only the sprint from the thief starts the explosion of emotion on an otherwise calm, beautiful day. The poor elderly chap took chase but there was no catching him. Frustrated and feeling a fool he returned to his group throwing his jacket down. A day, possibly a trip ruined because someone wanted what he had and felt it was ok to take it from him. A lesson to beware of what lurks in the bushes behind you, probably better to sit with the full time festival. Its such a shame as it just doest feel like that kind of place here although nearly everyone I spoke to before I got here said it was.
The flat, although in an old building, is a complete contrast to the last, it is small and clean and modern. Like a posh bedsit. Waking up this morning the interior design colours slightly remind me of the place we stayed at in Lagrasse but it’s not half as posh and more ikea than the beautiful french done by english designers look, looking so easyily so thrown together but means hours of prep, painting and scouring antique shops.
It is white and chrome and black and tan, apart from the beams holding up the convex arches, well ridges really of ceiling which are reddy brown and set off by small spotlights. The floor is very pale, and like in lagrasse where they had beautiful white concrete set off by a row of little pebbles this is cheap ikea flooring which echoes as Moly tip taps around. But it does the same job, it lightens the space and gives it a light airy feel. I have always wanted white floorboards for the same reason. The curtains are sea through wispy white with dark grey blinds behind, with a big dry twiggy thing on the table suggesting somebody cares.
White painted window frames when open are brown and bring in more tan, the sandy brown of the building opposite with all its textures of railings and windows and washing.
There are a few resident ants here at the mo but I feel happy for the change and to leave the ( thankfully lonely) cockroach and the much more pleasant bees that had arrived in the last few days. We saw a swarm in the park that had settled there and here as well, up high was another family making a home in a ventilation draft of some sort, only spotted as the dead tired workers were starting to collect on the terrace.
Its going to be weird not having a terrace, but its an airy flat, it has two balconies and two other windows of perfect elbow height that I can hang out of. I think it will be a place to rest and write a bit, not to hang out in so much, which is a good thing as in a city where there is so much going on it seems a shame to hang out at home.
Better to drift from one street performance to another, or watch the skateboarders endlessly repeating small but impossible tricks, or the beach vollyball, or the roller bladers riding convex curves of far too much concrete to make it restful to watch, or the more tranquil boule players, the chess game, or which ever festival or march it is you happen to bump into. Basically if you are out you are taking part, if your in your not.
1.There is a building gone opposite us so there is a big space where the light gets into the street.2. Molly looking at the people below, she is not so sure about it.3. Our front door4. View from the sitting room5. The front door from above