24.04.21 — Journal

Spring’s Deceit

As April advanced, it seemed as though we were witnessing the first glimpses of the transition from the cold mornings of winter to the sunny afternoons of springtime. In this optimism we were, however, mistaken, as the arrival of spring brought with it wildly unpredictable weather. Days of supposed clear skies soon turned into torrential downpours, and the scaremongering of the weather forecast and its promise of thunderstorms gave way to perfectly clear skies.

On one of these particularly confusing days, I had arranged to meet Luis for a drink by the river. I left the house clothing my umbrella after a rather pessimistic forecast was recited to me by my Google Nest speaker, and gingerly hopped on a bike below suitably threatening grey skies. By the time the two of us had picked up some free bread from a promotional van and grabbed a beer, however, the blue skies were back and we perched ourselves on a patch of grass by the river to enjoy the afternoon rays.

We spent a good while chatting down by the river – too long in fact, as I’d to leave cycling like a madman in order to pick up a pizza I’d ordered and head over to Bogar’s for an evening of listening to nostalgic music and chatting about all kinds of nonsense. When it came time to leave before the 11pm curfew, however, my luck had taken a turn for the worse, and I rushed home holding onto my brolly for dear life as I was lashed by a thunderstorm that had chosen the exact moment I left Bogar’s to dump a month’s worth of rain onto the streets of Madrid.

The next day the weather was up to no good once again, with mischievous dark clouds blotting the otherwise blue sky, but the plan to have lunch with Luis and a group of his friends remained. The two of us met up once again by the river, grabbing a bike each and cycling down to another riverside spot before pre-lunch drinks. From this new spot we could see a near-black wall of storm clouds hovering over the mountains that surround the city, but we arrived at the (thankfully covered) lunch spot just in time for another downpour to drench the capital.

After a delicious lunch at the Café del Rey, a spot we used to haunt when we both worked at Erretres’ previous office near the Plaza de España, we headed to another spot full of memories. This is a bar that to this day I don’t know the name of, as we always have and always will call it either “el bar de la esquina” (the bar on the corner) or simply “el sherif”, in honour of one of the eccentric waiters who always proudly bears a sheriff’s badge.

Once sat on the terrace there, round after round of wine and tapas then ensued, and our lunch turned into a whole afternoon affair. All the wine left me with quite a heavy head on the Monday morning after, and so after I’d returned from work, I headed out for a wander around the neighborhood to see if I could find any new spots that I’d never before visited.

That I did, and ended up following the railway line from where I’d accidentally stumbled across it in the south back up to the north and back home. This did provide some interesting views of my local park, Parque de las Delicias, and some intriguing seemingly abandoned storage areas built into the side of the mound constructed to bear the train lines.

The towering heights of the smokestack and the climbing wall loomed eerily in the dark.

After another week at work, it was once again time to make the most of the weekend, and I kicked things off with a rather relaxing night in. Once I’d mixed myself a gin and tonic, bedded down in a comfy pile of sheets on my sofa, and set the lights to cinema mode, I re-watched the magnificent film that is James and the Giant Peach for the first time in probably more than fifteen years.

The day after, and as seems to be becoming tradition on a Saturday evening, I headed out with Sara and Jhosef into the city centre for some drinks and nibbles. We kicked things off with some cocktails in the writer’s quarter, before heading to a South Korean restaurant that Jhosef had been meaning to take me to for a while. There, we tucked into some delicious dishes, all washed down with soju, and wound up having to get the bus home such as to make the curfew!

That Sunday was spent nursing a particularly nasty hangover, and so I didn’t really leave the house – although at least it had cleared by Monday morning ready for another week of work! During the past week, as part of a push on my part to start living a healthier lifestyle, I’ve been eating better and getting out walking more. One of these evening walks took me down past the Royal Palace and the works that are being carried out around the Plaza de España area, works which it seems have uncovered a pretty intricate old basement!

This brings us round to this weekend, which seems to mark a moment where the weather forecast has finally begun to reflect the reality present in the skies over Madrid. Google informs me that today will be very overcast and cold, something which I can vouch for as I sit here with my dressing gown over my jumper and all the lights of the house turned on, keeping a watchful eye over the towels that I’ve hung out to dry.

Because of the shoddy weather that we’re most likely to suffer for the whole weekend, I doubt that I’ll be up to all that much, with another night in messing around with my lights and another nostalgic movie on the cards. Maybe I’ll have a mad moment and turn the whole house blue again to pretend that I’m in a UV party at a club.

Ah, clubs – remember those?