Tuesday, 17 January 2017


I've decided to keep writing! There is so much to tell you. And then I go to visit my friend Marina in Ukraine again on the 26th and I will write about that too. 

This is a photo of us when she came to visit me in Girona.

I switched back to European time very quickly - I know I said - but it still surprised me because I suffered a lot from jet-lag when I was younger, travelling frequently to Dubai. And that is only 4 or 5 hours ahead of the UK, which is where I was living at the time. You can read about my working life in an earlier post... "Bill Gates and Me" !

I had a wonderful time in Colombia but I missed decent food and my large kitchen. The quality of the food, especially the meat, was not very good. The best food to buy was trout, much less spiny than the European version. We saw a trout farm on the river during the trek in Cocora. 

So, one of the first meals I had when I got back was lamb! No lamb in Colombia. Terrible.

As my first job, I was trained as a sound engineer in TV by the BBC in London and later worked in electronics but when I moved to Spain, I took up art. I joke and say that I "changed the chip" because it is so very different (brain.. left side - right side). But I am a little weary of that now (I am sure I will come back to it) and I am writing a book - it starts with my autobiography but then carries on into the future and gets a little bit crazy. I had some ideas for a novel about a world-famous concert pianist called Quentin but there is not really enough material to make a book. So I will try to imagine my future life where I meet this guy. He has much more money than one would expect, despite his fame. We build a theme park in a town near to Carcassonne in France. I move away from Catalunya when it makes a unilateral declaration of independence in 2018 and has to leave the European Union. (Haha, I could invent a trade deal with newly brexited UK!)  So the book is written as if from 2032. It assumes I am still here!! No point in waiting till 2032 to finish the book if I am dead. Money... you can't take it with you. Tampoco a laptop.

And Quentin tells me that some of my memories of my life are false memories. So I go back and re-write what he thinks really happened. For example, I write about a near-accident with a motor-cyclist when I was 20 where but for a few inches, he would have died (I mean, it happened - I was on my way to work at the BBC). Quentin persuades me that he died. I love to paint surreal art because it twists reality. It is fun. Sometimes it is a form of humour and I love humour. Maybe the humour will be a little black too. 

So, that is my plan - my project (I love the word, project) - for 2017. Plus sports. Lots of sports. Before I went to Colombia, I joined GEiEG which is a sports organisation in Girona - there are two centres. One is near to Hospital Josep Trueta and there is a convenient bus stop on the way into town. I go swimming in the 50m pool and I have started playing squash again after giving it up over 10 years ago when I came here. I decided it was too energetic for a 60 year-old (!) and in any case, I didn't think there were any courts here. Now I am 73 and don't really feel much different from then. So a few days ago I bought completely new kit and a beautiful green and white racket.

Last time I bought one, it was the equivalent of 50 euros. This was three times that - admittedly it is Tecnifibre which is an expensive brand even by modern standards. Last time I played squash, everything was in white, the shoes were Dunlop Green Flash and the rackets were made of wood (I am joking about the wood, that was longer ago that 12 years). I could have carried on playing with my old rackets, they were Prince and made of some kind of composite material but I gave them away a long time ago. In the old days, I used to carry a spare because they were quite fragile and the strings could break. And I was hitting the wall quite a lot. At 150 euros, I think I will stick with one racket!
I reached quite a decent level in the game - I never mastered tennis, a very different technique - so it will be interesting to see how I shape up against the younger guys and girls in the league here. When I was much younger and tearing around the court, the older more experienced players would take it easy and let me do all the running. Now the boot is on the other foot!

I played for the first time this morning - just a warm-up really. Then for the serious stuff of working my way up the league!

I suppose you are wondering what happened to Nini! Well, I kept on being nice to her in the face of her rudeness because I don't want to close the door on her. I wrote before, I cannot abandon my beautiful Colombian friend. She is like that for a reason (maybe hurt by things in the past, men probably - I know that is no excuse), inside she is a good person. I escaped lending them 70 milones as a mortgage. That was crazy. But I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to continue helping her and her lovely family. So, for at least a year, I'm sending them 100 euros a month which will go towards food mainly. We just chatted on Skype in text which is the normal method of communication. So, from time to time, we will chat on Skype.

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