Barcelona gets as much sunshine in January as London gets in September.
Last September I thought the sun was shining down on my new life in London. Perhaps it is symbolic that I’m going to Barcelona at the end of the first week of the new year.
But the first week of the new year feels oh so very far away from where I am now, just past the wrong side of Christmas. This season creates its own hell and it feels as if it will never end. It feels as if the sun has set over London for good.
The damp cold creeps through my coat and up my bum from where it rests on a wet wooden bench in Finsbury Park. The morning fog brightens as if someone has turned up a dimmer switch. There is no visible light source, yet the effect is sudden. Dark one moment, bleak daylight the next.
It’s not yet eight, already 7:49. Too early, and too late.
8:06 and this weird milky day doesn’t have the decency to end, even though mornings and evenings look exactly alike.
By now the sun will be shining brightly over Barcelona: 3 hours and change more of it each day than London gets.
I have written about and documented my travels since 2004 and penned a few novels. I’ve had close to 100 rejections for various short stories, tried and failed to run a sandwich shop and ditto to train as a chef. None of this means that I contribute. I therefore do not belong in this twilight zone.
My early memories are sunnier, all the way back to when I was young and fresh-faced and took on the challenge to live in another country, and another culture, for the second time in my life. That was back in 1987, 23 years ago and change.
Teachers have to be good at explaining things. I never was—I’ve never had the patience—but I’ve learned how to speak slowly once, into a microphone, in front of an audience.
As my Sensei put it, twenty years later: “It’s all theatre.”
That’s all it is.
I should be just fine.