june 2012: spain / england / portugal

We drove around Galicia. We flew to London. We drove to Portugal. We flew to Barcelona.


LIFE. The dwarf neanderthal (without her name tag) with her friends at the Casa del Hombre.

…1 June 2012. Summer! That was it. One day. Now it is winter again.

…Swimming lessons. Willow screams and screams and screams. It hurts my ears. She hates the props. She hates the structure. She wants to do her own thing. She gets this from her father.

…But she insists on wearing her swimming cap everywhere. SHAKKA!

…Willow’s shoe, handbag and jewellery fetish was short lived (thank goodness). She is currently obsessed with cars and horses. And the lying has begun. I have told her that the shopping trolley is a horse and I can get a weekly grocery shop plus browsing done with her sitting (bouncing?) contently in the seat. NEIGH!


SIGHTSEEING. In an international city, the activities one selects to amuse oneself suggest a great deal about one’s character. We are complete dorks. Come to think of it, as the tour coordinator, I am the complete dork. This is ok. People know this. Being cool is so passe. Generally, poor Dale and Willow humor my fancies and nostalgias (not too grudgingly).

…Chelsea and the pub on The Kings Road where I worked a lifetime (14 years) ago.

…The changing of the guard. Incredibly boring. Willow was entranced. It was the highlight of her weekend. She muscled through the crowd to get a great spot. She was conceived in Asia you know.

…Photo shoot in St James’s Park. Impromptu photo shoots were an hourly occurrence in Asia. For some reason it felt novel in London. Willow is always obliging…

…but she gets suspicious when they pucker-up.

…Cruise down the Thames to Greenwich.

…The Prime Meridian. Which sailor does not get a buzz from crossing the zero degree lines? Willow; she slept on the line. Unfortunately drinking and splashing around rum to appease Neptune is not permitted at The Royal Observatory. Perhaps Willow knew this and will be a more active participant when we next cross the equator with Zinc?

…The National Maritime Museum.


…The Princess Diana Children’s Park.

…Reading the Sunday papers at a pub with a beer and a sleeping Willow. It was the highlight of Dale’s and my weekend.

LA NINA. We know that it is bad parenting to photograph your child throwing a tantrum in public (or anywhere really), but I used a zoom lens and otherwise we were employing the ignoring technique. Does this make it any better?


TRAVEL. The beaches are stunning.

…The waves surfable.

LA NINA. Willow hates sand. This is a problem. She screams “WIPE!WIPE!WIPE!” when a grain of sand dares to touch her hands, feet, shoes, clothes. This will not be pandered to. It will not be tolerated. She must change her ways or she will not last long in this family.

LIFE. No Willow you cannot play in the park with the other children. It is 9.15pm. You must go to bed. The sun will not go down for another two hours, but you must. The Mediterranean lifestyle is playing havoc with our precious routine.


TRAVELS. The Viana do Castelo hospital is a must see. We spent the best part of a day there. Nothing serious: an infected cut on a finger needing antibiotics. Blood tests and chest xrays later… They were thorough.

…Otherwise we strolled the streets…

…played at the beach (safely away from the sand)…

…visited the cathedral on the hill.


SIGHTSEEING. Parc Guell: making bubbles…

…chasing bubbles.

…Placa de Catalunya: feeding birds.

…Barri Gotic: poor depressed Spain?


…Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya: Dale.

…One of Dale’s favourites.

…One of my favourites.

…L’Acquarium: Mola Mola! I have lost count of the number of dives I have done in an attempt to spot one of these…