Tag Archives: spring

Merry and brave

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Our seasons seem to have decided to move on- Spring has sprung! I saw quite a few lambs and calves about today as we drove to the beach for an afternoon picnic. But this year Spring seems to be slightly confused, as you may have guessed by the fact that we had a beach picnic today! Yup, blazing sunshine and no rain, and sunburn! We didn’t stop to think about sunhats or suncream, so we’re a bit pink in the face tonight! Let’s hope the sunshine regulates, and shines throughout the summer, and not just for this week in March! March has brought some quite windy, wet days as well though. I feel for all those daffodils in our garden, being tossed about mercilessly. But still, they hold their heads up proudly, defiantly cheerful in the face of bleak days and bitter winds. Daffodils are such courageous flowers. They are one of my favourites. Courage and beauty are themes paralleled in the book ‘Rilla of Ingleside’ (from the Anne collection, by L M Montgomery) which I am reading just now. The ladies of Ingleside resolve to be ‘heroines’ in the midst of the turbulence and menace of war. The daffodil bravely flowers under the first timid warming rays of the sun, while most of the other flower kindred snuggle deeply down, defiantly deferring until the coming of warmer days. Daffodils have such courage. They delight in bursting forth to beautify the earth, despite the harshness of the wind and rain. They are content to sway back and forth, (or whip and lash back and forth as they do here on the rim of the Atlantic!)  glowing with the very essence of the sun above. Such joy. It cheers me up to see their happy faces seeking the sun.

Yellow seems to be the colour of spring around here, with the daffodils, and the gorse bushes flowering as well. Gorse is another of my favourites of the botanical world. They seem so dependable, and solid. Untouchable, with their pointed needles. Their gnarled branches speak of wisdom, and their delicate bright yellow flowers reveal a sense of humour, delighting in existence under the sun and in the face of the wind. There is a combined flavour of old age and youth with gorse. Their crowning glory, it has to be said, is the perfume of their flower. So delicate and winsome, with a comforting tone of coconut. Yup, the glorious scent of coconut in the wilds of Scotland! We don’t smell it as strongly here at home, where the surrounding area is so open and the wind blows it all away. But it is just beautiful in the sheltered area around my parents’ house. Beauty is all around us, all the time, I have to admit. But it’s easier to see it illuminated in spring sunshine.

February and March

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Things have been rather busy since my last attempt at blogging, when I tried to write about my visit to a town called Montblanc. Technology decided that it wasn’t good enough to share with you however and sucked it into a black hole somewhere! Well, one Tuesday, in the typical you-never-know-what-a-day-will-bring routine of my say here in Spain, I was given the opportunity to visit Montblanc. Montblanc is the main town of the La Conca de Barberà region, about half an hour away from Reus. Montblanc used to be a Medieval stronghold an its old walls remain around the old part of the town. It was a very cold day, but I enjoyed my hour or so of roaming around a wee bit. I would like to go back sometime and explore in less of a hurry. The old part is a maze of really narrow streets, at one point I actually had to breathe in to avoid a car wing mirror as it slowly tried to squeeze past some pedestrians! At every turn you came across something exciting, be it an old church, a stately building, quaint pebbled paving or an enticing cake shop! I have a  Montblanc photo set on flickr that will give you a better idea than my words can.

It seems like an age away already, but my 21st birthday will always be one to remember. I was surprised by some gifts from the teachers I world with and a lovely dinner in the evening with them both and two other teachers who we often eat lunch with. And then on the Friday, Colin, Seoras, Mairianne and my friend Alison came to spend the weekend with me in Barcelona. We stayed in a really nice hostel (the beds were amazingly comfy-so much better than mine in Reus!) and spent a busy five days marching about Barcelona, Reus, Montserrat etc and eating and laughing an awful lot! They also transported some of my presents from friends and family back home. Thank you very much to you all! And thank you to my visitors-don’t be shy in coming back, you’ve only seen a tiny bit of the wonders of Barcelona and Catalunya. And feel free to join me in visiting the rest of Spain too!

Yes, I have begun to venture outside of Catalonia. It has suddenly dawned on me how little time is left, and although I feel I would quite gladly pack up and go home right now, I’m going to force myself to make the most of it. The weekend after my ‘birthday weekend’ I went to the city of Valencia with two girls who are in my University class and working as Language Assistants in Barcelona. We spent Friday and Saturday there, it only takes a couple of hours by train. Valencia is a beautiful city, and very unique. There is dry river bed through the city which has been adapted into a park with numerous walkways, playing fields etc. There is so much to see, with old buildings, churches, the Towers that are all that remain of the old walls, the beach, the modern buildings of the Science centre and Aquarium. There really is something for everybody, and its not quite so huge as Barcelona so easier to visit. Sadly our plans were thrown out the window when Saturday dawned with grey skies and lots of rain! But we had a nice time nonetheless, and I will definitely be going back, sometime!  We are planning a trip to Madrid after Easter for a long weekend, to visit another friend from University, so that should be good.

The Thursday after Valencia saw me boarding another flight to Glasgow. This visit was a surprise for Colin for his 30th Birthday. Mairianne came down from Lewis as well, and he had NO idea! He was absolutely shocked and speechless when we turned up at his flat that evening! And not too impressed with the announcement that this was just the beginning of a weekend of surprises craftily organised by our friend Nma and Seoras! We left with the sunrise on Friday morning for a day trip to the Lake District! We spent a lovely day by Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, with the ducks and geese, and the snow on the mountains around us. Colin made good use of his birthday present, a new camera he’d been drooling for, and we all made good use of our fresh air appetites in a restaurant called ‘Lucy’s on a plate’, amazing food. And to top the day, we had a supper of fried duff when we got back to Glasgow! Mairianne brought half a duff down with her from home for a birthday cake for Colin and I! This is a sad story- they had brought me a slice when they came to Barcelona, but as it wasn’t ‘fresh’ I was going to fry it. So I left it in the flat in Reus when we went to visit. As I sat on the train after seeing my visitors off, the thought of fried duff cheered me up, but what hey, my duff was all mouldy. I told you, very sad! So I made the most of it in Glasgow! Thanks mum!

Colin’s weekend continued with surprise lunches and get-togethers with friends. I also caught up with friends on the Saturday and Sunday. My friend Flora who studies in Aberdeen was wonderful (the only word to explain her!) and came down on the bus Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. We had a lovely spontaneous and relaxed catch-up day on Saturday with no major plans, just going with the wind! I really miss friends when in Spain. Its strange seeing Glasgow life carry on as ‘normal’ without you in it. And I really enjoyed a ‘normal’ Sunday, with church in Dowanvale and lunch at my auntie Flora’s. So good to see everybody. But I had to leave on Monday afternoon. Thankfully I had a rare glitch-free Ryanair return trip.

So, things have been quite busy! And for the next couple of weeks they’ll be busy with visitors. Looking forward to my parents coming on Thursday, and then the following weekend I have two friends from home, and a friend from University who is also in Spain. I’ll try to keep up a bit better with the blog, keep you up to date with excitement in Spain! I seem to have really busy spells and then spells that are so quiet I don’t know what to do with myself. But I’m looking forward to see what the Spring will bring (yes, it has definitely arrived in all its glory!) and to visitors, and hopefully keeping my renewed resolve for learning more Spanish.