I just coughed up some Spain!

It's been a rather hectic couple of weeks I must say. I shan't keep you long as you are probably all preparing for Christmas and whatnot.

1. Boys Night-In
This was last Saturday night, but it had been in the pipeline for a good couple of months. It consisted of maybe 14 men in Simon's (a teacher) living room. Manly men. Not unmanly ones. We played poker and Trivial Pursuit while peering through smoke that dribbled out of cigarettes and cigars. Rum was there, and his friend gin. They weren't there for too long though as they had a prior arrangement at various other belly parties.
Our American teacher-friend Ray cooked some of the best chilli con carne I have ever had the pleasure of eating. We had crisps too, and beer. Football was on at the start, but was later replaced - on the same channel mind - by some distressing 1970s pornography.
More Trivial. This time a bird's eye chilli for the losing team. I had a 'great' team-mate for the game. I can report that you cry for about 30minutes, then the tears subside and just a firey, burny heat remains.
The night waddling to its end, many of us getting sleepy or bored of watching the longest poker game ever. Long because the pot had climbed to 100 euros. Real, monetary currency euros. Too rich for my blood. I had enough time before I left to cook one of Simon's steaks and see another teacher (good old sensible Derek) stumble into the kitchen, look at the waterlogged citrus fruits he had brought for cocktails drowning in the sink and blurt out 'my f**king, my f**king, what are those called? LEMONS! He then went to relax outside the flat by the lift. A priceless night.

2. Collecting the N.I.E (Numero de Identidad de Extranjero)
This means I'm on the civil registry. They know I'm here. I'm going to have to stop the bevy of drug and prostitution rackets I've set up. Oh well. We had to meet at 10 at a random metro station in the North of the city. I was translator for the three of us - Euan, Anna, and myself. We had a simple task: go in, hand them papers, get stamps, and leave for work. Three hours of waiting in a hot, angry room waiting for the computer systems to restart later, we got our crappy piece of paper that was, from now on, our 'identity'. As foreigners we don't even get a card! All of that bureaucratic tolerance from us and we get nothing but a print out. But it was a laugh and we missed our first classes, which had to be covered by the other profs.
But couldn't you have just done it the following day?
Well no, stupids, I couldn't. If you miss your cita (appointment), you can't do it again for 6 months. Makes a lot of sense don't you think.

3. Snow
The morning of the N.I.E there was snow!!! Not a lot, but enough to create a small, dirty snowball and piss off a Scottish person.

4. Company dinner
Last night we had the company dinner (and combined secret Santa - I got a nice bottle of olive oil :)) at Mano a Mano. It was a confused but gloriously tasty mix of different foods. Starters: oven cooked goats cheese, sushi, and mussels! The main was one of the best steaks I have ever eaten and the pudding...well I actually don't know what it was...
Strange digestif liquor.

Bit messy this one, but I'm leaving for England on Saturday so I don't have much time to remember things. There are cobwebs already. Tendrils of teaching tactics tenderly tussling with my personal affairs.
I went Christmas shopping. Let's hope the blighters like what I got!

See you in 2010.

Article: Christmas in Spain

I am currently living in Madrid, improving Spaniards lives as an English teacher. In the run up to Christmas it has become glaringly apparent that there exists a bit of a gulf between the way they celebrate it and the way we celebrate ours. First and foremost this stems from the difference in religion. In our charming, green, little blob of a country we have generally had the tea and cake, nice hugs and smiles version of Christianity – Protestantism. In Spain they have traditionally had the Hail Mary, God is not fun, let’s have a silent procession with chanting version – Catholicism.

In England we have a comfy collaboration between Jesus’ big day and Coca Cola

’s favourite fat man in a red coat. They don’t get in the way of each other. In fact it has also been noted that that pan-global fizzy corporation have provided an alternative for families that don’t wish to celebrate a religious day. In my family we have a bit of a mix. Mother and brother – you may know them by their alter egos Ann and Ben – pootle off to church to do their bit for Christianity and father - Brian – and I stay at home, warming our cockles on an imaginary fire awaiting their return. On the 25th we then celebrate the day like most families. I say most. Multiculturalism has opened a door to a vast variety of different celebrations, but I think you can imagine what I’m getting at – turkey, presents, tree, crackers, silly hats, Christmas pudding etc.

In Spain however, it is as if in the metaphorical workshop for creating festive holidays the instructions have got a bit confused. A messy mash-up of Papa Noel (Father Christmas if you couldn’t guess) and the Nativity fight it out to be centre stage every year. The bias is still towards the Holy Bunch, but jolly Mr. HoHoHo is still trying to get more and more attention. As a result, the 24th and 25th are a heady mixture of both. Traditionally the major festive day in Spain is on the 6th of January, when they celebrate the Reyes Magos (The Three Kings/Three Wise Men). Historically these are the chaps that bring gifts to the children. This makes sense really, as it’s basically they’re only job in the Bible. With the inclusion of Santa, the gift giving is being split. Despite Father Christmas trying to usurp their place, they still come every year, on the 5th, and carry out a large gift-donating procession up one of the main streets in the city.

Another difference is the food. Whereas Great Britain is an essentially a meat-based country, Spain loves its fish. It’s not uncommon to have roast lamb followed by ‘marisco’ (seafood) at Christmas. Instead of Christmas pudding they have ‘roscon de Reyes’ (the big bagel of the kings), which is a circular cake with a hole in the middle. Inside the cake are gifts. If you are unlucky enough to choose the wrong gift, you must pay for the cake. They also have many Spanish flavoured sweets and delights for pudding, but I shan’t go into them now.

Decorations include: small to massive representations of the Nativity called ‘Belenes’; an outrageous, oversized, partly mechanical Christmas display called Cortylandia, which is plastered to the side of the mega-department store El Corte Ingles; and the usual glittering and

glowing lights and trees that we would usually associate with the period.

Ultimately, although differences are apparent between our two nations, the sentiment remains the same. For me, the day is nothing to do with Jesus or Santa’s reindeer-centric activities. For me, England and Spain, the day, let’s be honest, is really about friends and family and the relationships you have with them. Everything else is just the brandy on the pudding, or the star on the top of a tree – you don’t need it, but it makes it a bit more special.

- Luke Darracott

Well Holmes, I think it's a mixed paella...

These last two weeks everything has been pootling along quite nicely really.
I'm getting on fine with my job, I'm contentedly surrounded by fine people and I've also got my Christmas holidays booked. Life is being a good chap at the moment.

Sure there are improvements that could happen. I could have a nicer timetable that bestowed more semblance of an evening on me. I could have a beautiful girlfriend who was unaffected by my aforementioned timetable. I could have any amount of holiday I wanted, whenever I wanted. I could sculpt myself into the figure of Adonis at the click of my fingers. But not everything can happen.
1. Enjoy the little things in life
2. I bought a new coat. That made me happy.

It's starting to get cold here. Well, comparatively. Last night the heavenly horde decided to evacuate the clouds onto Madrid. As a result of this celestial supersoaker fight, everything's a tad sodden today and I ashamedly admit that I've not left the arid confines of my flat.
In order to 'get in shape' I've started walking to work every morning and walking home every evening. It's almost 6km a day overall. It means I have to leave a touch earlier and get back a touch later, but it's good for the old Corpus Darracottus. After all, I don't want to be laughed away from the mistletoe now do I?

Let's be honest to ourselves, no one worth the title Homo sapiens (and I know many who aren't) diets at Christmas, or thinks 'hmm, should I have another spoon of brandy butter?'. If they do, they don't deserve Christmas. Jesus didn't die on the cross for people to be shy of second helpings. The Three Wise Men didn't traipse half way across the world so that people would decline another mince pie. Eat. If you can, eat. Eat a lot, and enjoy it. That's the point. Well, one of the points. There's also family, friends, etc etc. What I was getting at was that I want to prepare myself somewhat for the culinary onslaught that is Yuletime. Hence the walking.

Sushi. Sushi's good. Expensive, but good. On Saturday we (four teachers) took a metro to the South of the city - about 45minutes away - to a big shopping centre called La Gavia. We went to a restaurant called 'Asian Kaiten', which is Japanese for 'Asian Conveyor Belt'. I was told of this place by a former student of mine. It's a sushi buffet for £12.50. A sushi buffet. For £12.50! This is why we went. My student was telling me how he had been there with his friend and managed 11 plates off the conveyor belt, while his friend had annihilated 35. Well, I like a challenge. We sat and revelled in the ability to keep taking things of the belt. It was like a bunch of kids in a sweet shop having been told they could take as much as they liked. Albeit this was mostly marine and ricey in nature. My results were: 22 plates (could have been more but I hampered my progress by having a separate plate of normal buffet food), a stomach ache and painful internal organs. After the buffet we went round a very busy IKEA where a combination of highly irritating Spanish shoppers and a fuzzy sushi head bequeathed me with a migraine. The highlight of the day? Without a doubt the small Japanese waitress coming to our table over and over again to clear away our plates with an exasperated, and I think slightly impressed, 'es mucho', leaving her lips.
We also celebrated one of our Talking Point teacher's birthdays with a large, drunken, groove-infested house party. I firmly refused to dance until dem crazy Beach Boys leapt out of the speakers. It's nice to let your hair down sometimes. Just beware of cameras.

This hasn't been linear. But then if it was you'd no doubt be bored. If you complain, I'll throw the empty can of Kolsyrad Parondryck Swedish pear cider at you. And you won't like that. You won't like that one bit!

What a load of bullspain!

It as been a while hasn't it. This, I reckon, can only be a good thing. It means I'm not angry at things and that everything is running smoothly.
And it is.
I just had one of my best friends James - a.k.a Jimmy, a.k.a Nemo - over for a long weekend. Spain, and more importantly for me Madrid, has lots of public holidays. I have already had two and I've only been here one month and a half. This means a day-off, which is always welcome.

The young British lad arrived Friday morning, got off at the wrong stop on the way to my flat and consequently made me exactly 9minutes late for work that day. Nobody noticed. Smooth. He spent his own day in Madrid being a tourist doing touristical things. In the evening, after I jetted back on the metro from my home class in the south of the city, we met up at the pub 'La Solera'. It's a pub where, every Thursday/Friday, the teachers I work with go for drinkies. We had some drinkies. We then left for 'Cafe San Gines' - a historic cafe that famously serves churros (deep fried sweet pastry tubes) with chocolate.
After a fine night of sleeping we offed to La Latina, my favourite place for tapas. We plunged our faces into big plates of lomo al ajo (slow cooked pork in a garlic oil sauce) and huevos rotos (fried egg with pieces of Iberian ham) both served on a bed of home-made roast potato-crisps. Then we bumbled up the road to madrono where, even though the food isn't such a mind-melter, they serve a fruity 'digestif' liquor in an edible shot glass. Kind of a strawberry-ry flavoured (an adjective coined confusedly by my Scottish co-worker Euan). We then went to a pub/bar recently opened by the cousin of Talking Point's administrator Rocio in order to meet every teacher that works for the company whilst simultaneously drinking a 'double with lemon' and not knowing what the 'double' part was.
I then cooked us, and another teacher - Irish Anna, a frankly superb pasta dinner. Frankly...superb.
Then we walked to a rock bar called, with a side-swipe of whimsy, 'Honky Tonk'. A great name, no doubt thought up without even a whiff of kookiness. We were met by a subterranean concert hall and a stylish, modern bar upstairs. However with entry and drinks at 9 euros it's a pricey night for any Honky Tonker.

Sunday. El Rastro market again - a cocktail of irate thoughts and judicial shoving and gritting of teeth. A mighty siesta in the afternoon. Mighty...siesta. In the evening we went to the glittering, delicatesseny prominence that is the San Miguel Market. Firstly we took a nice, cold, walk down the main streets in Madrid. We passed Plaza de Espana, Ventura Rodriguez, the Royal Palace and burst into the glitzy world of consumption. Marbled fishy treats on pieces of bread; fine, mature sheep cheeses with lingering flavours; heaving plates of gloriously juicy olives; glasses of the finest crimson wines; pates with glistening caramelised onion marmalades and heaving, steaming bowls of lemony, fresh mussels all plummeted into our yearning tummies that evening. We finished the evening off with an ice cream in the cold. Perfection.

Monday. We spent the whole day walking around, journeying, photographing, laughing, and getting purposefully lost in Toledo. Only 30minutes away on the bullet train. K'bosh! The weather was understanding and the sun joined us for most of the day, causing the UNESCO World Heritage City to glow knowingly at its own marvelousness.

That's more or less all of interest that's happened to me recently.
Oh, though I did see a bunch of feral children - all overly large clothes, 'bling' chains and gangsta hand signals - ruining the metro last Friday. One was pissing in a corner. Another one threw a halogen ceiling light down onto the platform, where it half smashed. The abuse of genetics then thought it was a superlative idea to pick up the remaining half and throw it at my train as it arrived into the station, whereupon it exploded into a billion sparkling pieces of supercooled silicon. Perfectly logical behaviour, for an ABSOLUTE MORON.
It's nice to be angry about something. Let's me feel good about myself.

I shall leave that there. There it has been left. Not right. Correct yes, but not right, left. If it wasn't correct maybe it could be right, but then perhaps not left. It is left. It has been left. I have left it there and here I shall leave it.

Could it be a tortilla crumb?

You know what I hate?
I hate people.
I hate it when they get in my way at lunchtime, meandering around the place as if spatial awareness is a trick left by the ancestors only to chimps, gibbons, tarsiers, frogs, sharks, ants and rocks. I hate the way they walk around stupidly, sometimes locking on to your route from metres away and honing in blindly. I hate the way they fund vacuous religions that we're better off without. I hate the way they block the escalator. Everybody knows you stand on the right and keep the left free. Some people, usually complete idiots, or occasionally dumb-tards, stand with their cerebrally challenged friend and block the route. This would be understandable if it weren't busy. But is it really the right course
of action during the busy hours at one of the busiest stations in the city? No. No is the answer. No, because they're 100% stupid.
Sometimes, usually twice a day, I really, really dislike the human race.

You know what I love?
I love people.
I love the way they can find interest or enjoyment in even the dullest or irrelevant things. I love the way they're ready to give up comfort for those in need of it. I love the way people, even in the biggest cities, find time to create and maintain beautiful parks and allow me to run around them, along gurgling, sparkly streams and past green, fuzzy hedgerows. I love the way they manage to consistently surprise me with science. I love the way they evolved. I love the way people are up for going for a curry, even in the dodgy part of town, just to have a chat and share a beer. I love the way people have different laughs. I love the way that they're 100%
fascinatingly crap and wonderful at the same.
Sometimes, usually more than twice a day, I really, really love the human race.

I also went to an international beer festival last weekend. That was...beery and comforting.

Offing now.

If Franco Could See Me Now!

My week has fallen into place and I'm now more or less accustomed to the outrageous nature of my daily timetable, although somedays I'd rather splay out asleep on the sofa than pretend to be interested in the stilted mutterances of whichever Diego or Clara is in front of me.

Maybe that was overly harsh. They're mostly lovely, with only a couple of boredom-preachers.

The weather is starting to carry a chill in the mornings and at night. During the day however the sun is still strangling the air and the metro is still a holiday destination for inhabitants of the Inferno. Indeed whatever the weather is outside, the Madrid Metro maintains its Hadean climate all year round...probably to make the most of tourists and their precious sweat. Whatever the weather decides to do or be, I went and bought some new clothing at the weekend just to be prepared.

NOTE: El Corte Ingles is the John Lewis of Spain, on steroids, much bigger and with a view to enveloping you into its wonderful labyrinthine bosom. I went to buy a shirt. Bought the shirt. I went to the basement level where the supermarket is housed to buy a bottle of wine. Bought the bottle of wine. I then went upstairs and was promptly spat out on some random street that I didn't know.

El Corte Ingles is one of those to-big-for-its-own-good shops.

"Hey! Hey you! Hey, Customer!"


"Come in"

"No, no it's ok, I only need a notepad"

"I've got notepads"

"Well, ok then"

"Have you packed your suitcase?"

"What?...no, no I haven't...what are you talking about?"


(Sucking noise - think space vacuum/space shuttle door opening - then silence)

Cut to black -

"What the hell just happened?!"

"Enjoy your shopping? Get your notepad?"


"You spent a long time in me didn't you?"

"That sounds weird"

"But you did..."

"I hate you"

"Come now, I'm full of treasures...you can't have been bored"

"I didn't have mobile reception"


"My family think I'm dead, I've lost my job, I've been wearing the same clothes for three months and I've contracted a stress related illness!"



"But, but look at your shiny notepad"

Stupid shop, but nonetheless impressive. And to its merit, it does have everything.

Another quick thing about the Spanish people I'd like to point out are their paradoxical manners. They are at once the most blindly rude people and inspiringly altruistic people. It's not normal.

Since starting my time in Madrid I've noticed those cheeky Spaniards up to their old tricks - you may, if you did read it, remember this from my last blog - of standing in the way, walking slowly, not being conscientious of where they are both biologically and physically in the world, and generally being the largest arse-based pain imaginable. However the other day on the metro I saw a glimpse of their Jekyllien side - I'm coining that word by the way.

I was standing by the door at one end of the carriage. At the other end, on reaching the station, the doors opened and a blind man entered. A woman then instantly shot to her feet and, without even a flicker of 'look at me I'm such a saint', guided him to the seat she was nestled in just moments ago. Another woman then got out of her seat to give it to the lady who previously just offered her seat to the blind man. Outstanding good manners! I've also noticed this time and time again with people of a certain silver-topped aged. People practically fight each other to be the first to give up their seat.

It filled me with a warm glow, like a single candle offering an iota of warmth in a frosty Victorian room. However the candle was soon extinguished as the mass of tanned-bodies once again clustered around me, seemingly hell-bent on not allowing me to move at a productive pace. The paradoxical buggers. They are like inverse Marmite - you love them and you hate them.

I am also about to embark on a tapas restaurant mission: to go to and document/review as many different tapas restaurants/bars as I can. Not in one night of course. I have already been given a list of as many as 20, 25 different places by one of my students as a kind of starter pack. Must remember to keep exercising as well though...

Not really much left to report. Got in at 7:30 this morning from a house party, still hoping people will come to visit me, and am still waiting to find out if I am permitted to come home for Christmas.

Pips and toodles to all!

Swedish Operatics and a Bottle of Nudity

So i've just had my first full week of teaching.


Yeah, just a little. Everyday I'm there, smiling, chatting, and being 'dynamic' until 10 at night. On leaving work, satchel lolling at my side, chatting with fellow teachers about that last student who was (fascinatingly) stumbling on about the merits of pasta, I notice that everyone else on the streets is glammed up and going out to party. I still haven't worked out whether it's really depressing or slightly novel...

Thinking perhaps i'll go to work in my gladrags and try and combine the two activities. Downing tequila slammers whilst draped drunk round the shoulders of some Spanish bloke, trying to explain to him that prepositions are a bitch because there's no rule and he just has to learn them, pawing his face apologetically - and slighty too hard - saying 'poor spanish man...porrr ploorrr spinash men...', before getting a grammar book to the face and kicked out of the bar for over-friendly use of pronunciation.

That aside, the working week has treated me well. My students are by and large really nice and, let's be honest, it's not the hardest job in the world to teach what I already speak. On Friday night some of the teachers went to the 'local' and got a bit happy. We are known there, so free tapas - mainly nuts, olives and crisps, but sometimes ham and cheese - oft graces our wet tables, sitting fittingly next to our formidable tankards of beery gold. I then left the teachers and met up with some of my Spanish chums, and made some new ones, at the 'Caves of Cesamo', where sangria was both imbibed and spilt onto the floor.

Saturday morning...late Saturday morning, it was decided...dictated by my housemate Elena that we were to go to IKEA and buy an extra chair for the living room. I don't know if you've been to an IKEA before, if you haven't I shan't give an explanation on how it's set up, but here in Spain it is basically what amounts to a colony within a country. Spaniards flock to IKEA every weekend - it's cheaper than flying to Sweden. After spending three days in the carpark we joined the general population and entered the superstore. We bought pillow covers, a bottle, some plug adapters, cushions and a lamp.
But Luke...you wanted a chair?
Oh yes...the chair. Called 'Grankulla', the chair/bed combo was on sale for 49 euros, reduced from 99.
So we - me, Elena, Esther and Carlos - took our little product code to the warehouse area to find our chair. We found the wooden bit...but the cushion bit they housed in a separate box, which was not present. Elena was not best pleased by the apparent lack of Swedish ingenuity. She asked someone, apparently a mongoloid turnip who basically answered 'say what?' and 'erm' to everything she asked. She then asked more 'passionately' at customer relations, which basically said 'well...erm...don't really know...you could try another store...'. Livid now, she went to the top and pinned down the floor manager.
By this point Carlos and I went to get ham baguettes - at the 'museo de jamon' - leaving the girls to slug it out with the Larrs and Johanssons of IKEA Madrid. Tucking into our two baguettes we got a call from Elena 'LO TENEMOS, LO TENEMOS' - 'WE HAVE IT, WE HAVE IT'. We prompty inhaled the remaining bready hamness and rushed back to the car.
Standing victoriously by the car, we rewarded the girls' hard work with sandwiches and proceeded to cram our new sitting apparatus into the boot.

The Spaniards went to the Opera on Saturday night, so I made part...only part - because I didn't want to hammer nails in at that time of night - of the chair. (Later finished by Elena, Esther and Carlos on Sunday morning whilst I visited the Rastro market).

One other random thing to note: At maybe 3 in the morning on Sunday I watched some strange TV. After arriving home from the Opera, we had a little 'botellon' - drinking session - in our flat to celebrate. At 3 in the morning there was a programme about celebrities and gossip and suchlike. Even though the subject matter was juvenile and low-brow, the production value was high. There was a roundtable panel of maybe five or six quite smartly dressed people, and a live audience. Halfway through, and remember, in front of a live audience, there was a striptease. Not a coy one. A full on burlesque, one woman striptease. All major points of interest were displayed to the viewer. Then, as soon as the young frau had finished her set we cut to audience clapping and head back to the roundtable.
And while neither I, nor my Spanish (male) friends, complained, I was raaather confused as to what had just occurred.
Neither Carlos, Esther, Elena, Juan, Marta nor Javi could explain why it happened. But it did...that's Spain.

That's probably enough for now. Don't do anything inappropriate now...

In place with German air suppot

It's 10:11 in the morning, Tuesday. I'm sat, alone, in my boxers, watching a dubbed episode of the German 'dramatic' series 'Medicopter 117: Jedes Leben zählt. An empty bottle of last night's 'Ribera del Duero' red wine sits artfully by an empty glass whose bottom is kissed with grapey crimson. I am writing this on our new internet. I say ours. It's the neighbours'. At 10:30 last night, having just rubbed sleep forcefully from my eyes and told my mouth to smile in an innocent way, we negotiated rather easily to share (and pay our way for) the wireless internet with our Portuguese neighbours.
So I'm set up. Phone. Friends. Job. Internet.
All I need is a cat (subsititute in canine, porcine or vulpine animal as applicable) and I'll be a fully fledged adult human.

For some reason this German medical helicopter thinks it is in fact a Police helicopter and is 'dramatically' chasing an escaped mental patient in a truck. I can't help wondering what the German Police are up to. Maybe they are giving CPR to someone who decided to inhale an oversized Bratwurst!

German Mission Impossible aside, everything's going quite well here.
The job is really good but the evening classes get quite tough/tiresome. You've just finished a class at 8:27 and are taking your allotted 5 minute interval. You refill your water bottle. You share words and knowing smiles with your fellow teachers. You rub your eyes, slap your face, snort a smint and wipe that smile onto your face and go find your table for the next 1.5 hour chat. And you remember that everyone you know outside of this office is enjoying their evening, perhaps having a drink with some friends, or watching Medicopter. But, wait, before tiptoeing gracefully down into the dumps you also remember that almost everyone you know ISN'T here...so get over it. That's the process from Monday-Friday. I'll get used to it.

That's probably all I will say from now on about day-to-day things. I should stick to my previously mentioned maxim of not doing a 'then I did this, then I did that...Oh! and HAHAHA then THIS happened, it was really rather funny' kind of blog. We'll see though. Depende de que pasa aqui.

Medicopter's final exciting scene has ended, rather flatly. The truck nutter has been stopped thanks to the two daring 'medics' climbing up to the driver area and disarming him. However Sanitäter Ralf Staller - played poignantly by Wolfgang Krewe - was shot in the arm!!! I hope he's ok...he's like my favourite...
He should be. He's a bloody medic.

Ta ta for now and all that!

Life in concrete

I'll keep this quick and to the point as I wouldn't class it as of paramount interest to those of you searching for truths and eccentricities of Spain, but it's about my new life.
I got the job.
I started the job.
The school is called Talking Point Conversational School - http://www.talkingpoint.es/index.html - and is slap bing bang in the central part of Madrid, called Sol. It's near all the tourist sights; the palace, the squares, the shops, the theatre etc. So it's pretty sweet.
The school operates from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening. However this doesn't necessarily mean that I work all these hours. Somedays I may start at 11:30am, but then end at 22:00. Or I start at 10:00am and finish at 7:00pm. At the moment i'm just having training - being told how the school works, where everything is, sitting in on teachers' lessons, which toilet is probably best that I do my businesses in etc, but I think i'll be starting teaching proper on Saturday or Monday.

NOTE - I just spent ages writing this blog, only to lose it because life and the internet can be more of a knob than Hitler. I don't even know if what I was writing would have even been interesting, but I think it was.

I've got a job. Today I signed a contract for a flat in Moncloa district - very studenty. I'll be living with a girl called Elena who is one of my chums from the CELTA teaching course I did. In fairness, she did all the work. It's small, modern and new. I just signed my name and smiled.

In short - writing little as the first draft took ages to type - the one main downside to my job is that I may miss Xmas, as Spanish people don't stop for what we call Xmas. Half of the teachers teach Xmas whilst the other half can go home. The Xmassers can then go home at New Year - the out of this world massive Madrid party night (NOTE - i've never really believed in the current use of that phrase given the vast number of satellites, beasties and people the Earth has coughed into the cosmos) that is apparently is not to be missed - and those Xmas holidayers must then cover entry into 2010.
Long days.
Long week; finish at 22:00 tomorrow for example.
If nothing else my Spanish chums have said that we're going to have a Flat Inauguaration party on Saturday night at my new pad. Should be nice.
I'll leave it there, you probably want to get on with your lives. Or, if nothing else, continue searching for inappropriate material, or applying for your member enlargement, or responding to that Nigerian Prince offering you his fortunes.
All the best. Pips and toodles.

Breaking News!!

The school that I have been persistently bothering like a sex-pest for the last week has, in the last 10minutes, just offered me a job. I start training tomorrow at 11:00am.
In the Shakespearian words of Bad Boys 2:

'This shit just got real'

That which is happening.

For those of you that don't know me, and so have no concept of what I am doing in life, nice to meet you, I will inform you shortly. For those of you who know me and have no concept of what i'm doing in life, you call yourself friends! For those of you that have chanced upon this page and have had the computer system freeze up on you and therefore forbid you from not reading these words, hahahaha and stop looking at pornography for goodness sake, you have parents to think of...preferably not at the same time.

Having graduated from Bath University and having successfully completely my CELTA teaching qualification, I have decided to try my luck as an English teacher in Madrid. This weblog - and it is named 'slices' for a reason - will present snippets of Spanish life and memorable experiences that I have during my time here. What it (hopefully) won't be is a turgid detailed account of everything that happens to me ust for the sake of writing something. My return ticket is booked for the 22nd of December for xmas - although i've just been informed during an interview that some schools teach then too! - so if all goes tits up and arse in the air I can take comfort - hopefully - in pumping my stomach so brutally full of dead bird and crispy root vegetables that I will forget that my life is spiralling into the ground.

If all goes to plan - The plan being that one of the schools that I STILL haven't heard from whether or not I have a job might someday decide to employ me. Part two of the plan being to get myself a flat in Madrid, trying not to bankrupt myself too much in the process - If all goes to plan i'll have officially 'moved' to Spain and will have started a new life here, rich and dripping with cheap wine, sunshine, and Iberian language.
I still have interviews, I still don't have a job. It's all the air. Nothing is concrete.
It's a bit daunting but I suppose we'll just have to see how it all goes.
Anyway, must dash, got to sort my life out.


Thought i'd just say a little welcome to my new weblog.
This is a tester.
Testing whether it works.
If the test works, then it's tested well.
Well tested.
If it's testy about being tested.
Then it can screw off.
Bienvenidos and welcome.