The confinement diary: counting from zero

Here in Spain, they like to start counting from zero. So we’re currently in Phase Zero of emergence from lockdown, which means that trips to the beach are permitted first and last thing, and visits to the hairdresser are allowed at any time, as long as you wear a mask and agree to have theContinue reading “The confinement diary: counting from zero”

The confinement diary: self-isolating by the book

  In her new memoir, Rebecca Solnit compares books to stars, owing to the time-lag between the original idea in the author’s head, and the moment, many years later, when the reader gets hold of it. She explains how readers engage with what the author was passionately immersed in long before, sometimes only because ofContinue reading “The confinement diary: self-isolating by the book”

The confinement diary: can we sleep through it?

In Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the heroine tries to force sleep on herself by taking a cocktail of pills. Spoiler alert : this updated Sleeping Beauty experiment doesn’t go as planned, and she’s worse off than before. Still, the idea of pure rest and uninterrupted slumber, was so seductive, especiallyContinue reading “The confinement diary: can we sleep through it?”

The confinement diary: napolitanas and the collective good

Week 3 of quarantine sees me engaging in such antisocial activities as eating out the filling of a napolitana (pain au chocolat) with a teaspoon, and leaving begind the pastry wreckage. A plastic tray of napolitanas is not something I’d normally have, my habit with desserts being that I buy a specific sweet that canContinue reading “The confinement diary: napolitanas and the collective good”

The confinement diary: birdbrain

My balcony has filled up with sand. Barely three arm-spans long and one arm-span wide, it’s a space I’d taken for granted, using it only to dust the sand off towels, and take a gasp of air when working up to deadlines.  But today, on the balmy fifth day of quarantine,  I’m out here,  lookingContinue reading “The confinement diary: birdbrain”

The confinement diary: a tiny phone production

The first morning, I wake up to the sound of the rain. It’s louder than any human imprint, be it footsteps or motors. The birds are still singing, because talkers will always talk. I’m grateful for their company: it makes the beginning of quarantine less apocalyptic. When I pull up the blinds, and look outContinue reading “The confinement diary: a tiny phone production”

Honest women and their opposites

When Lina came to the room happy, when she came from just having seen Aidan, those were the nights when the other women drummed their fingers and tried to drown out her glee. I met Lina in Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women, a book on the private lives and loves of three American women.  Aidan isContinue reading “Honest women and their opposites”

Resilience, or, the thirteenth fairy

This is not a post about San Sebastián, not even close. You will learn nothing about pintxos, nor fiestas, nor beret-wearing grocers who try to sell you jellied hibiscus and tomatoes that look like arse cracks, when you’re just trying to eat an ice cream. No, sorry, we’re going deep inside my mind, via fairylandContinue reading “Resilience, or, the thirteenth fairy”

About a bull

For a while, I looked on the Sanfermínes with hostility. Named for the pudding-shaped Bishop of Pamplona, San Fermín, these 8 days in July have become dedicated to  bullfighting and partying. Bullfighting – in case you didn’t know – is a sport in which a matador (read, killer) confronts a bull and with some ritualised swishing ofContinue reading “About a bull”

Una yogini en Donosti

Una tarde lluviosa encontré mi amiga, Carla en un bar en la Plaza de la Constitución. En todas partes la gente estaba bebiendo y fumado, pero nosotras estuvimos allí para algo mas raro, hablar de yoga. Carla es una instructora de yoga de la Ciudad de México. Hice su formación en San Cristóbal de lasContinue reading “Una yogini en Donosti”