• I have just come home from a weekend in Madrid. I’ve never been before but my daughter moved there to work late last year and this was my first chance to pay her a visit. The daytime temperature is usually around 12° in February but was much colder this weekend, not getting above 5°, and very windy. The nights were well below freezing but the sky was mainly blue and the sun pleasant if you could get out of the wind. Most of the fountains and ponds were frozen but walking around the city centre kept me warm enough and there was plenty to see.

    Arriving on Friday evening I had a long walk to the Metro at the airport but the journey into the city centre was quick and easy. The Metro is clean, quick, efficient and cheap, the only disadvantages being the number of stairs I had to climb and the fact that you don’t see anything of Madrid while travelling underground!

    Having climbed the narrow stone stairs to my daughter’s very cold 3rd floor apartment it was time to set off to explore at 9.30 in the evening.

    La Latina was our destination that evening, taking in the river and views of the royal palace high above us as we went. La Latina is one of the oldest parts of Madrid and the streets are narrow but the squares are large. Like everywhere in Madrid there are hills and steps to climb and cobbled squares to wander through. We decided on Korgui as a place to eat and it was a good choice, the food and wine was excellent and the atmosphere busy without being rushed. A very enjoyable evening.

    The next morning we set out to explore further. Again we walked so that we would see as much as possible. We walked miles, passing the royal palace, shops, gardens, cafés and statues. We explored the Egyptian temple of Debod and took lots of photos. Churros and hot chocolate in a café warmed us and we found a lovely café for paella and cava at lunchtime and a good bar for cocktails in the evening.

    On the Sunday we visited the Prado art gallery and, after tapas and sangria, explored the Parque del Retiro. The weekend was over all too quickly and it was back to the airport for an evening flight home. I was tired but I had enjoyed a lovely weekend exploring Madrid and spending time with my daughter. All I need to do now is book in another weekend when it gets a bit warmer!

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  • Time, methinks, for a little review of the year.

    2011 has been great in many ways. I have spent time with old friends and made new friends. I have been to Wembley for the first (and second) time. I have seen my beloved Manchester City go from strength to strength, bring home the FA cup and fire goals, seemingly as many as they want, past almost every team they have encountered and be sitting at the top of the Premiership as we go into the new year. There’s a long way to go to the end of the season but I’m certainly enjoying it so far. Memorable highlights were beating Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, beating Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford and my first away match for years when we beat Blackburn Rovers 4-0.

    I have met up with lots of people I have talked to on Twitter and they have all been lovely, not encountered a single axe-murderer yet so I’ll carry on meeting them I think!

    My family continue to grow up and away and it’s lovely to see. My eldest daughter spent time this year as a nanny in Wales, Portugal and Sardinia before moving to Madrid to teach in a primary school there. My youngest daughter spent the summer living and working in Ibiza and my middle daughter got ill on her 6th, and possibly last, pilgrimage to Lourdes. My son also seems to have got the travel bug and went off to France on an exchange trip. I managed Anglesey and a few days in Ibiza and Dublin but I’m planning a couple of trips to Madrid very soon.

    My daughters seem settled into jobs or courses and my son is enjoying school, he also played Julius Caesar in a production in the summer and was excellent, his love of Shakespeare means he is getting very good at being killed!

    My course has been hard work but enjoyable and the end is now in sight and anyway how hard can a degree in Facebook and Twitter be?

    A good year but I can always hope for better so here’s to a great 2012 for me, my family, friends and all of you!

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  • Family, Reading 20.10.2011 4 Comments

    “If I could have ONE whole day to myself, I would…

    This blogging prompt from BritMums caught my imagination today as I actually have a day to myself. Well, not, strictly speaking, an entire day, but from 8.30 till 4 so not bad.

    The trouble with a day to myself is that I actually like spending time with my family! So an entire day with one or more of my daughters, my son or my husband would be a real treat but a day on my own, not so much. Today also happens to be my Birthday so really I would prefer to share it with the family! I have some college work to do but I’m going to leave that till tomorrow and have a day off.

    My husband gave me a Kindle for my birthday so you can probably guess how the day is going! Firstly, I got it charged up. Then I downloaded a book, just because I could. It was actually some short stories by Michael Connolly just to try out the download process. The first story has been read and I am now thinking about which full length book to buy. I could happily spend the rest of the day choosing and reading a book, accompanied by fresh coffee at intervals. In fact, that is exactly how I will spend the day and, as it is my birthday, I will even put the heating on, plump up the cushions and settle myself down on the sofa. Bliss!

    Later, I may do a little baking. Mmm… I can already smell the cake in the oven and the coffee brewing and my Kindle saving my place for me in a good book. The perfect day.

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