24.01.24 — Journal

Changing Skies

Now back in Madrid after an extended period of Christmas and New Year celebrations, I’d a few days of sitting at home taking care of myself ahead of me thanks to the flu that I’d managed to catch in between all the chocolate and turkey and stuffing. Once I’d seen the back of the coughing fits, I was back out to make the most of the city in defiance of the bitter cold.

One day I headed up for a walk around the city centre and all of its tourist offerings. I walked past the palace and the cathedral to a vantage point, from which I could see that the mountains in the distance were covered in snow. It was quite a lovely sight, despite the grey day.

That weekend Sara and I spent an evening around Antón Martín, our favourite little neighbourhood for a drink which is named after the market that sits at its centre. We had some drinks and nibbles at the markets various stalls, ending our night in a jazz bar which serves some great mocktails. From there I cycled back home, passing by the city’s decorative streetlights and the impressive structure of Atocha train station. What a thrill!

A few days more at work followed, after which I was back up to the airport and on a plane back to Manchester. I was returning so soon after I’d left in order to pay a surprise visit, as Danni’s grandad had sadly passed away just a week or so prior and I wanted to be there at the funeral. This had me up bright and early, but the views over a snowy England as the sun rose made it all worthwhile.

Upon landing in Manchester, I hopped on a train into the centre and headed to a WeWork location to work from there until I clocked off. I arrived at the WeWork only to discover that it was literally one floor below the offices of the Manchester branch of the company Danni works for. What are the chances!

Luckily, Danni was in another office that day, so I was safe from being discovered. I popped myself down at one of the desks and took in the lovely views over the Manchester Central Library whilst I chatted to my colleagues and prepared a presentation.

My day was broken up by a lovely pizza from Rudy’s at lunchtime and then a bus trip back to Burnley in the evening. Throughout this trip I was keeping an eye on Danni’s location, as knowing my luck I could well have run into her in Burnley Bus Station!

All went well though, and after an evening with my parents and then some drama with my taxi showing up early, I arrived at the chapel for the service. It was a lovely send off, one which was then followed by food, drinks, and a good old chinwag down at the local club. Danni, Abi, and I wound up playing a few rounds of pool and had a great laugh.

Once I was hungry and tired, my parents came to pick me up and we swung by our favourite Chinese restaurant to pick up the evening’s meal. This we enjoyed together before my mum headed back off to work the next day, leaving me and my dad to entertain ourselves for a while before I had to head back off to the airport. Talk about a flying visit!

My dad and I spent the morning reconfiguring the record player that he gifted me before putting it to the test with a collection of our favourite music on vinyl. After a good dose of ABBA and Kraftwerk, I packed my bag and we headed off to the airport, stopping off at the hospital along the way so that I could see my mum before leaving.

Now back in the Spanish capital, I spent what was left of the weekend with Sara. We met up at the city’s main park and went for a walk around its many sights as the sun set, winding up on the far end of the park where we left in search of la merienda, which is a small meal that the Spanish have around the time we’d probably be having tea (or ‘dinner’ in standard English).

Retiro looked lovely in the afternoon sun.

Sara and I wound up enjoying some sweet pastries and coffee for our merienda, after which I’d to dash off on one of the city’s rental bikes in order to be home in time for a very special appointment. At 8pm I’d arranged to call Cake Club, which was a real treat. Our call lasted so long that I completely forgot to make one of my favourite Spanish dishes, lentejas a la riojana, so I’ll have to make these delicious lentils some other day…