Sea Swimming

Every morning I take Molly to the beach below the apartment and we skirt around its edges on concrete and play ball amongst the palm trees. Dogs are not aloud on the beach but some of the locals let their dogs on when its not busy so everyday we get braver and she goes on a little more.

After a few beers in the evening we are more ballsy and run to the sea and molly goes mental. Lately as we promenade along the front she makes a break for it and decides to dive out, labrador like, to waters edge on her own, then on getting there realizing we have not followed she rushed back to us, pleased with herself all the same. This morning the sun was doing it’s morning stuff, being epic and all that, I normally just watch and take photos and Molly sniffs about.

Today we didn’t.

We walked romantically along the shore as I have longed to do, I threw sticks and Molly swam for them. With us, there was one fisherman on the rocks, one vested old man prodding about in the sand and 3 ladies swimming, and the sun was rising, and they looked beautiful, their heads dark in full shadow breaking the bright reflected surface. Everyday morning I watch the, mostly older generation, submerging themselves into the water, chattering, gliding about in its silky surface and I long to be with them, and I go to work.

Today I didn’t.

Today I dipped myself into that silky flat warm water as the sun rose slowly over Barcelona.  The silver water reflected the blue sky and the red orange Barceloneta buildings shifted and bobbed about on surface tension. Caroline said to me once when I was having an everyday anxiety about some such thing, an emotional flailing, a hatred of one of my traits or inadequacies no doubt… you have to learn to love yourself.

Today I did.

It sounds corny, but today as I watched the sun break through the blue surface above and divide underwater into shafts, as I watched it light shoals of silver fish turning them to flecks of silver in the green light, as I pounded powerful arms up the bay making tiny bubbles: I glided, I remembered for a brief moment who I was.

I am swimmer and sometimes I can be brave and I am also kind of ok. And I realized how incredibly lucky I was to be here. And underwater I smiled at the fish.

Yes, I have to go home to use my foundry and sort out my galleries but Barceloneta will be here and I can come back and I can also try new places. The only thing that will always come with me is me. And if I like me, then we will get along fine, wherever we are.  And I held my breath and dived under the water and swam across horizontal ripples in the sand, out to sea, so I could watch the rising sun come through the water.

view from bedroom window, tricky to stay in bed with that going on

big round catalans swimming

my fav view, city, modern architecture, sculpture, sea, beach, mountains…what more could you ask of a city.

snot face happy puppy

sculptures of my imagination

Family Tree

These are the sculptures of my imagination, set free by Catalonia. They are not held down by gravity or by practicalities, they have the freedom to float, to roam. As Miro once said “I am neither a printmaker or a painter but someone who tries to express himself with all the available means”
There were other cities on our list, Barcelona was not really on our radar, but the studio came up ( as Spike, then Sculpture Shed did in Bristol 20 years ago while I was in Winchester ) and it seemed like a good bet. Rome and New York, very different cities, will have to wait. While I couldn’t possibly know, I had a feeling that I knew what I would do in Rome and New York but didn’t know about Barcelona and Catalonia and had a hunch there was something in it for me. 
The predominant artists here that I have seen are arrogant. 
I am like a timid mouse. 
If I was strong and colourful and playful as them I may be more equal and see their frailties, their insecurities.  I do respect them, think them brave, confident and hardworking and love them for their daring. Daring to just do anything. I don’t think Rome would have shown me this freedom, this crazy arrogance to do anything. 
the boys….MiroTapiesPicasso
and me…..




Lament to Home

Oh england lost
my treasured friend,
please tell me.

Does your beck still run cold
over pebbles?
Do cricket whites still dot flat lime
and can you hear the clapping?

Oh my england lost
my deep embedded land
please remind me.

Do your blue bottles bump
into windows as distant sheep cough?
Do your horses swish
their tails in the shade
as tractors turn stripes for winter,
can you still smell the hay?

Oh my england lost
I am sorry
please forgive me.

I will swap all the flowers of Barcelona for
one walk through cows parsley.
I will give you the beach for the terrifying dash
over meadows with Molly, fearful of young boys
with wet mouths and big eyes.

Oh my england lost
I am sorry
please wait for me.

I’ll not again run for different grass
but wait for your spring (for however long)
and your loving summer (for however short)
I’ll not again swap dry for damp or cold wind for hot breeze
or yellow bubbles for flat brown beer.

I am yours.
My england
My oldest friend
Forget me not.

Yes I get homesick but believe it or not I am really happy here as well! I have been painting these past days and it gets me over emotional! I was painting a picture of an imagined tree, weirdly,  inspired by sitting in Miro park looking at his sculpture. The lime green in the painting made me think that I am missing the countryside, we live near a nice park Parc Del Guinardo, up on the hill looking over the whole of barcelona and the sea, its amazing. I miss the countryside at home as well but its so close I can nip out to the foundry and walk molly in the cotswolds on the way.

Painting seems to weird me out more than sculpture, I think its the colours, they made me think of aldeborough where I grew up and hanging about in the village, on the green, the cricket pitch was at the other end of this massive green and I never watched them but they were always there in the distance.

Often I played in the beck, feet cold from the running water, hours spent lifting up pebbles and cupping hands in wait for tiny fish that would get scooped up into plastic tubs from the doctors surgery. They would get hot and confused all day on the bank and then we would pour them back in again. it made me think of norfolk and gannny and grandpas house, they had sheep and horses and it was always really quite and blue bottles would fly about bumping into the window to get out, when it was open just below and they could have gone out and annoyed the horses, usualy though they got squashed with a crunchy noise by granny.

And the green painting reminded me of walks in the south west with my darling Graham and Molly and general escapades of trying to not get chased by cows, lifting molly over fences, walking for hours, all so we could enjoy a brown flat beer in a garden on the way…..happy days!!

No doubt when I am back in the green grass of home I will talk of my love of Barcelona! C’est la vie!
à bientôt

err….Castilian Carol…wrong country!

Just got back from walking the dog and feel quite at home here really, good to let off steam