Unpacking

I’m back 🙂

Been back a few days now, not quite a week. The suitcases are up in the loft, and I’m gradually emerging from under the approximately 7923 emails and 278 loads of washing (it’s amazing how much a family can fit into three medium sized suitcases).

It’s nice to be home, as it always is, the house welcoming, although I miss the sunny skies and sea of the Basque country – my home is too far from the ocean for my liking these days. I’ve travelled a bit in my life, as you may have noticed, and you would think, therefore, that I would be a dab hand at packing. The kind of person who can throw in a few key pieces and have enough outfits for three weeks and any occasion. Sadly, that’s not the case. Although I’m better at it than I was, I still somehow manage to pack several items I don’t need at all, while leaving other items I do need at home. Invariably I open my case at the other end and wonder what I was thinking when I packed, my carefully chosen outfits all seeming completely wrong, what seemed like a sensible amount of things at home somehow multiplying into far too much for the time I’m away.

However, I’m a dab hand at unpacking. Pull, sort and dispose of, either into the laundry basket or back into the cupboard. As for the rest of it, the memories of cliff bound beaches, misty coastlines and turreted houses, that will take a little longer to unpack. There are photos to download and definitely a few Wednesday Wanders to write. I did get to Dragonstone, visiting both locations used in Season Seven, and they were absolutely spectacular. I ate and drank and enjoyed time with family, danced in blue waves and wandered cobbled streets. It was fab.

So forgive me if I take a little while to get back into the swing of things again. It’s lovely to be home 🙂

Wednesday Wander – El Peix, Barcelona

I’ve been to Barcelona twice, and both times I visited the beach. Yet, before I visited, I’d never thought of Barcelona as a ‘beach’ city. To me it was a place of dance and food and architecture, home to Gaudi, one of my favourite architects. I knew it was on the coast, but Barceloneta beach was an unexpected delight.

On my second visit we spent half a day or so there, hubby and the gorgeous girl in and out of the water as we looked for shells and soaked up the sunshine, eating fresh paella at one of the many seafront cafes before returning to our hotel sandy and happy. We also took a walk along the wooden boardwalk, heading towards an unusual structure we could see gleaming golden  in the distance.

It turned out to be El Peix, a golden fish sculpture created by renowned Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry for the 1992 Olympics. Built as a canopy to link a hotel, casino and restaurants, it’s now one of Barcelona’s most well-known landmarks.

It’s not the only Gehry we’ve seen – in Seattle we spent a wonderful day at the EMP, marvelling at the colours and curves of the extraordinary building. It seemed fitting to see another piece of his work in Barcelona – Gehry, like Gaudi a century earlier, twists shape and form to challenge what can be done architecturally, creating structures like no other. We’re heading to Bilbao this summer and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Guggenheim there, another of his famous works.

But for now I’ll leave you with Barcelona beach palms against a brilliant blue sky, a memory of a golden day. Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

 

 

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 10 – Anywhere In The World

img_1931It’s day 10 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge, and today’s prompt is: Anywhere in the world. 

Hmm. This prompt would have been better on a Wednesday, then I could have gone for a wander. However, it’s Saturday and once again it’s been a busy day, so I’ve decided to set myself a timer (ten minutes this time), put some music on and see what I come up with.

Okay, here goes:

‘Tell me, if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?’

‘Well, right here of course.’ I smiled, turning to look up at him. He nodded, looking into the distance. ‘What about you?’ I prompted him, my hand sliding on the warm skin of his arm wrapped around me.

‘Me? Oh, well, I’ve always fancied Italy, I guess. So, Italy.’

‘Oh.’

‘Oh what?’

His brow furrowed as he looked down at me. ‘Nothing,’ I said, shaking my head. I pushed away from him a little, sitting up, leaving the embrace of his arm. I started tidying away the picnic things, putting lids on jars, stacking the plates and cups, deliberately avoiding his gaze. F*cking Italy. Seriously?

‘What is it, babe?’ His hand landed on my hip and I moved, pointedly, away. ‘Oh, so I’m supposed to want the same things as you, all the time? What, you think this place, here, is the best place on earth to be?’

‘It was.’ I shrugged, still not looking at him, putting the rest of the things in the basket and letting the lid drop closed with a satisfying clunk. I sat back, kneeling on my heels, looking up at the pale sky. ‘Then again, if I think about it, maybe I’d rather be somewhere else too. Bali. Or Morocco. Somewhere warm, with beaches and dancing and… well. It doesn’t matter, I guess.’ I stood up, hefting the basket with one hand. ‘Shall we go?’

‘Babe, c’mon.’ He looked up at me, arms spread wide. ‘You know I want to be wherever you are.’

‘And Italy. Don’t forget Italy.’ My mouth was tight and I turned on my heel, walking to the car. Forget it. Why I even bothered with him, I wasn’t sure. I could feel the remnants of the picnic sliding around in the basket, all the carefully made sandwiches, the little baked quiches, cracked and squashed. Whatever. It didn’t matter. At that moment all I wanted was to be somewhere else.

Anywhere else on earth but here.

Well, there you go. You might think, reading that, that I’ve had a bit of a frustrating day. But it’s actually been quite nice. I don’t know where this picnicking couple came from, but I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. Maybe they’ll work things out, maybe they won’t…


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

 

Wednesday Wander – Headland House, Cornwall

img_1684Yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of author Roald Dahl so, in celebration, my Wednesday Wander this week has a Roald Dahl connection.

This is Headland Hotel in Newquay, Cornwall, and it was the location where Roald Dahl’s The Witches was filmed, starring Angelica Houston as the Head Witch.

img_1700With magnificent sea views overlooking Fistral Beach, the hotel has a storied history. The so called Newquay Riots took place during the building of the hotel, when local fisherman claimed the land was common land where they had dried their nets for generations. Out of work miners were eventually brought in to complete the build, but arson, looting and general anarchy carried on for several years.

img_1702However, eventually the hotel was completed, and the first guests arrived in 1900. It was considered the height of luxury at the time, and several royals, including King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, stayed there. However, after the Second World War the hotel fell into decline, until the 1970s when it was purchased by the Armstrong family, who restored it to its former glory.

img_1688Since then, the hotel has been used for many TV and film productions, and is also a very nice place to stay. We were lucky enough to spend a few nights there several years ago, and I can recommend the food, the ambience and the spa, as well as the surfboard storage lockers (very handy when catching a wave out front!)

img_1694It’s not a bad place to watch the sun set, either!

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!