Saturday, April 30, 2005

What a beautiful start!

Just finding out how to post photographs. It's clearly all downhill from here.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The world has changed!

Perspective is everything ... the way we look at our world and our priorities. For me, March and April have been life-changing months. One pope suffered in public and finally died with a million people at his window. Another pope was elected with just as many watching. In their turn the media seemed obsessed with these two ageing men, only six years in age between them, one Polish, one German.

Why have these two enjoyed this high profile of wall-to-wall television and newsprint in this secular world? Frankly, they are largely irrelevant to the lives of so many europeans, africans, south and north americans, and certainly asians. Rome carries on as though it influences, even controls the lives of its flock. The Coliseum [built during the reign of Emperor Vespasiano c. 72 AD and dedicated in 80 AD by his son Titus. The popular name of Coliseum came about because the immense oval stadium was situated next to a colossal statue of Nero.] is two hour flight away .... the Vatican [established as an independent state in 1929 when it agreed the three treaties signed with Italy, acknowledged the full sovereignty of the Vatican and established its territorial extent which can be traced back to the 8th century] is a million miles away!

So what challenged my view of the world and my place it? Walking down to the beach at Calella de Palafrugell and finding Bar Gelpi under renovation! This is tragedy ... history wiped off the face of the earth; a tired, slightly dirty, mahogany-countered and secure watering hole which allowed me each morning to enjoy croissant and coffee at a snail's pace (often from an ageing and miserable waiter), and within sight and sound of the sea.

Here I could gaze out at the Mediterranean, and each evening stroll slowly past Bar Gelpi's tables with Catalan families enjoying their cremats and talking as though there is no other world. I don't like cremat ... I've tried, but this mix of coffee, cinnamon and rum is hardly the point of the exercise. The point is to enjoy raising the ladle of flaming cremat to a good height and allowing it to drop gently back into the bowl as though you were born to it.

A link with the Catalan past has gone. No doubt Bar Gelpi will reopen in a month or so, and will be all stainless steel, glass and impeccably clean. The cremats may taste the same, history will have been wiped away, and I am suddenly challenged to think about my age, my life, and what meaning there is to all this.

Oh by the way, may the pope rest in peace, just in case..........