All Posts Filed in ‘daily prompt

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No longer a priority

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I have been writing prompts in this platform for five years. It has been a great experience. I have found friends. I have read very interesting contributions from people I would never have known, about all kind of topics. I have learned about new cultures.

The daily prompt was one of the reasons I choose WordPress for my blog. I thought it was a wonderful idea. Now I’m sad and pretty disappointed with the Daily Post team for the way they have terminated the whole thing. So suddenly. Without any plausible explanation, giving us no time to react.

Many of us have begun our bloggers life in the daily prompt and knew we could find our contacts and friends in the Daily Post grid. It had would be kind from the part of the team, tell us in advance what was the plan so we could make our adjustments with time. Five days is not enough. But it seems, we are no longer a priority for them.

Retrospective

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The kill of the daily prompt

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Long time ago there was an archaic world without a common space for WordPress bloggers to communicate to each other. It was before the start of the daily prompt and the weekly photo challenge.

Many bloggers lived lost in the jungle of the blogosphere feeling pretty lonely and disoriented. Then arrived the great idea of the daily prompts and the weekly challenges and a community of bloggers was born.

They began to communicate and show their posts and photos to everybody. Many friendships were established online. Young people joined the club. Every day the participants made its contributions to the daily prompts, they would check how were doing their friends and other bloggers writing about the same topic, interchange comments and so on.

Then , one day, without giving them time to react, by decree, giving no reasons, the organizers of all this, decided to bring them back to the archaic time by canceling all the prompts and challenges. Now we all are back again at the jungle of the blogosphere without any help. So, farewell, WordPress “happy editors”! We will find our ways to survive without you.

I’m sorry to say, you disappointed me greatly.

Archaic

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A confusing call

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A very mild earthquake shake my city many years ago, and it was all over the news. I was making the news, because I was working in a local newspaper at the time. It was before the Internet was an available tool.

My boss told one of my coworkers, to call to the National Seismological Institute to have the precise data of the epicentre, intensity and everything else.

He placed the call and somebody answered at the other end of the line. He began to ask technical questions to check if we had the right info. The man who answered him, asked for a few moments and then he began to confirm exactly every one of the data we had published.

Asked about the place of the epicentre, He showed an acute knowledge of the area, giving data about small villages and their idiosyncrasy. The journalist was deeply impressed.

When he told the man at the other end of the line that it was very proud to know that all the technical data were exactly as we have already had published in our newspaper, he heard the words:

– This is because I’m reading them in your newspaper.

My colleague became angry

– What lack of professionalism! I’m calling asking for the official data and you are reading the newspaper!

– Then call the National Seismological Institute and not a private home!

We all laughed.

When the journalist placed the call, he had punched the local prefix instead the prefix of de city where the Institute is located. He had made the assumption that the man who answered the call was a worker there, but instead he had called a regular citizen from the neighbourhood, excited to cooperate with the local newspaper.

Assumption

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Disappear

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water 3

This is an ancient public laundry I found in a village I visited the last week. When there was no such thing as a running water in the houses, the women came here to wash the clothes under a roof. I was surprised to see how the villagers were keeping this site, pretty clean and by no means abandoned, despite is no longer in use. I had thought that these structures have had disappeared long time ago. Close to the Laundry there is a well and a trough. The place was nice and fresh. How many stories could tell these stones!

Disappear

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Thank You, Danny Kaye

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When my dad was very sick and he couldn’t move, we knew how to make him laugh heartily and forget about his situation for a while. It was pretty easy because he was a good-humoured man.

But we had a specially very good time when we used to watch with him a Danny Kaye’s video. In it, Kaye plays a performer who imitates a russian baritone, who had been temporarily retired because of problems with allergies, and wants to return to the music hall singing the popular russian song: “Black eyes”. Everything seems normal untill a girl brings to the scene a big bouquet of flowers and he begins to sneeze while he’s singing. It’s hilarious.

Only mentioning the title of the song (“Otchi Chornya”) was enough for a belly laugh. We all knew what was coming after.

So, Thank you, Danny Kaye, wherever you are. (I’m sure there is a very special place in Heaven for the people who make us laugh or convey us beauty, for the people who make us happy.)

Laughter

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Singing together

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My father loved music and every time we were all together, he encouraged us to sing. My sister Elica used to play the piano or the guitar and we could spend hours after dinner merrily singing all kind of songs.

Dad had a nice tenor voice and a some repertoire of love songs he always sang to my mom. And she used to smile and blush. They had been married for decades, but they seemed like a boyfriend and his girlfriend. Some were ancient Croatian songs, Other were Italian songs he learned when he spent some years exiled in Italy after the war, when he was alone estranged from his family.

I have a particular memory of one of these Italian songs: “Non ti Scordar di me” (Don’t you forget about me).

When Dad was were sick in the hospital, one morning they were broadcasting on the tv one of the concerts of the three tenors, and Pavarotti began to sing that song. My dad almost couldn’t move and speak at the time,  but when he heard the melody he said: I know this song. And began to sing with his cracked voice to me, “Don’t you forget about me, My life is united to you, …

It was the las song he sang. and almost the last words he said to me. He passed away only a few days after that.

Back to our early years, when we were all young and happy, we’ve enjoyed a lot singing polyphonic songs. Our familiar choir grown when Elica got married and Jim with his beautiful baritone voice joined us with his new repertoire of American songs. There was a Spanish folk song, a simple melody with a silly lyrics but very suitable to sing with multiple voices we enjoyed a lot. “My grandma’s pot” was usually the end of those wonderful Family get together, plenty of music an laughters.
Song

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Purposely messy

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My dad was a journalist, and a writer, and a University teacher.

He had at home a little den full of shelves with all kind of books and with a messy desk.

Well, apparently was messy, because there were two typewriters and stacks of papers here and there, a radio with which he listened foreign stations to get international news, and many more things.

why two typewriters? He had one to write poetry and another one to write everything else: mainly his column for the newspaper and his notes for the lectures at the University.

He had his own organisation in the middle of the apparent mess. He knew exactly where he had every piece of paper he needed. Every note he had prepared.

Once he had to go away for a few days on a trip with his students of Journalism, my mom decided to take advantage of the occasion to paint and carpet the room.

She mobilized the five of us – just kids by then – and we cleaned the desk after making a sketch and numbering the stacks of papers to be able to put them back exactly as we found them. And we did it!

When the painter finished his work, we reinstalled the desk following our sketch and our system of numbers. And after several hours of hard work, and a lot of fun with mom, the room looked as messy as ever, but renewed and freshly painted.

Dad noticed something, but he couldn’t say exactly what until we told him. And he was grateful, and above all happy to find everything in its place.

Messy

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My trip to Trier

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Many years ago, in the early nineties, my boss sent me to Eastern Germany for a week to visit an engine factory which was producing pieces for a car manufacturer of my community.

The reunification of Germany was very recent. And the big western firms had just landed there occupying the old factories they had lost when the country was divided after the WWII. The firm I was going to visit had just installed the new state-of-the-art chain of production inside the old building and had trained the workers to start the production immediately. Finally, little by little they were repairing the building.

It was really interesting to see How they were doing the transition from the communist way of working to the Western way. Very efficient. The main problem, they explain us, was that the big communist factories that had given jobs for thousands and thousands of workers with obsolete systems, now could improve the production with only the 30% of the workers, so the unemployment was high those years.

Our hosts booked for us rooms at a hotel near Trier, the home town of Karl Marx. It’s an area were there are almost no catholics. But we were going to be there in Sunday and I wanted to go to Mass. A young man who was our driver, promised me he would do everything possible to find me a church.

On Sunday, very early in the morning he came to pick me up, and drove me for half an hour to a place were there was a regular one-story house, very old in appearance, all outside covered by dark grey concrete, that seemed a family house instead of a church.

I had no inkling on what was going to find inside. The door was open, so I went in and the first thing I saw was an enormous organ with a man playing Bach beautifully and a space with the walls covered with child’s drawings, and like ten or twelve pews full of people in front of an altar.

I know no German, but I was deeply moved by the celebration because of the faith and the sense of community I could feel in those people. When we finished I had to wait for my driver . And I could see that the mass goers were looking at me quizzically. A woman left the group and approached me. She could speak a little English, and she asked me if I was going to stay with them, because the community wanted to welcome me. I explained to her that I was a Journalist and I was going to left next day and she seemed disappointed.

She explained me that they were a little community but very active, with a little Sunday school. That they were there for me in whatever I could need. I certainly felt welcomed and part of a community in which I only partook one Sunday, thanks to my kind driver.

Inkling

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Shock

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dreamstime_xl_27194297When I was a student of Journalism in the University I also was working as a music teacher in an elementary school to pay my studies. It was exhausting, but also very funny. I love kids. And their occurrences made me laugh every day. I had a great time with them.

But, because I had to go every afternoon to give my music classes, I had very little time to study for my exams of journalism. So I took advantage of every moment I had free.

Once, I was waiting for the school bus in the afternoon leaning against a wall, absorbed in my notes of Contemporary History, and I did not realize that a man with bad looks crossed the road, he came Directly to where I was and put his hands on the wall, blocking my way with the intention of assaulting me. For a moment I was in a state of shock, not knowing what to do, smelling the breath laden with alcohol from my attacker.

Then I heard the bus approaching. I reacted by hitting him on the head with my books and escaped to the bus. He tried to follow me but I got into the vehicle before it reached me. I was very lucky that day.

Shock

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They can’t take that away from me…

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It’s been seventeen years since my dad passed away, but sometimes it seems it was yesterday. So vivid and sweet is the memory of his words, his blue glances, his kindness… I’ll say with Ella Fitzgerald, that

they may take him from me,

I’ll miss his fond caress,

but though They take him from me,

I’ll still possess:

the way his smile just beams,

The way he looks at me,

the way he speaks to me,

the way he sings so nicely,

the way he jokes with me,

the memory of all that.

No, no, they can’t take that away from me.

It’ll remain carved in my soul for ever

along with the peace he conveys.

Daddy, stay with me

No, no, they can’t take you away from me.

Carve

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Forlorn

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curricula024Back in the 90s I went to Bosnia Herzegovina as a reporter during the Balkans war. I contacted with a local journalist hoping to obtain some good sources and information about what was going on in Mostar, taking advantage of my knowledge of the language. So I left the group of foreign correspondents who were working in the area with a translator, based in Medjugorje, where the Spanish troops had their headquarters.

The local journalist began giving me valuable information, but to my disgust and horror, very soon I could realize that he didn’t want to help me with the info, he only wanted to be alone with me to abuse me. I managed to escape unharmed, but I found myself alone in the unknown and I had to go back to my hotel in Medjugorje.

The road was completely dark and deserted and there was the danger of the possible attacks of the Serbian militias stationed on the mountains around. I was feeling forlorn and scared. I only wanted to hide in a safe place for the night.

I finally arrived to Medjugorje and found my hotel. Some of my colleagues had organized a dancing party. I was not in the mood. The war, the attempt against me, the scary trip to Medjugorje, had been too much for me. Besides I found scandalous organize a feast  then and there.

Next morning, very early, I went to the church of the village were they say there are apparitions of the Virgin Mary and miracles. I attended Mass and gave thanks to God to have saved me the day before.

Forlorn

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The Three Wise Men

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In Spain is tradition that the Three Wise Men, whose feast day is today, are the ones who bring the christmas gifts to the kids. Last night the Three Wise Men riding camels and accompanied with a court of knights riding horses,  heralds and pages, came through one of the gates of the city walls that has a drawbridge.

The herald of the Wise Men requested that the sentinels lower the drawbridge to be able to enter the city but they told him that the door was closed because it was already late. Thousands of children, who waited anxiously, shouted: open it! open it!. Let them pass!

The herald repeated the request and said that the Wise Men had a very important mission in the city that night: bring the gifts to the children. Then, the doorman lowered the bridge amid the enthusiasm of the children.

The bells of the churches of old city began to chime and the three Wise Men with their accompaniment of knights and pages made their solemn entrance.

Later there was a cavalcade and despite the rain, thousands of kids and their parents were on the streets to see it.

This morning the kids will have found the gifts next to their shoes and a nice surprise, It was snowing!

snow 1

(The photo with the Wise Man and the children is from the local newspaper. The photo of the snowfall is mine)

Winsome

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Not wat we had planned

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untitled-0432Yesterday it was the birthday of a friend of mine and we wanted to take her to an outing as a treat. She loves window shopping and we were planning to cross the border with France and take a walk in a village known by its nice and fancy shops and its picturesque houses, which is fairly close to our city. But the forecast was awful: rain and strong winds everywhere.

She was obstinate in going to an outing for her birthday, so we took the car and went to her village, some 40 km away of the city, into the mountains. The landscape was beautiful, green and foggy, but it was impossible to take a walk because of the rain and the wind.

So we finished in a tavern not precisely fancy, sipping some hot coffee. It wasn’t what we had planned, but we spend some time together making jokes and having fun. And that’s the best part of all the celebration.

Treat

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Looking back, looking forward

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This year I have failed in almost everything I was supposed to do, but I can say that I have been there for my mom till she passed away, taking care of her, being by her side when she needed me, talking with her… loving her. I’m glad I have been able to do it. Now I feel sad when I see her house empty and I miss her smile and her wise and loving words. But life must go on… I’ll never forget this 2017.

Now let’s look forward: Happy New Year
Finally

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My dad’s library

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My parents house was a cozy place mainly because they were there filling everything with their affection and their love. But also because the house was plenty of books (my father was a writer and a professor of literature), that gave warmth to the rooms. There were no walls without shelves and books on them except in the kitchen.

My father passed away years ago and my mother a few months ago, and we decided to donate my father’s library and his archive to his University. It will be available to scholars to research about my father’s work.

A few days before Christmas two librarians from the University came to classify, pack, and take away everything. They needed 115 big boxes to pack everything and two big vans to move them to the University’s Library and Archive

Now the house is empty and cold. Very sad. At least, we know all that beloved material is in good hands and will be useful for people interested in what my father had been doing all those years he spent writing and teaching. There are some graduated who could make their papers for their PhD on my father’s work.

All these are the good reasons we did. But for me is hard to look at the empty shelves without feeling my heart torn.

Cozy

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Fernando

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There was a living legend in my newsroom. A seasoned coworker who had lost his right arm in an accident during her youth, but was able to write fast enough with his left hand. He had a vast culture and he had among others a very popular column about music, his passion.

He was known among us because he had answers for everything . His memory and his encyclopedic knowledge was impressive. Before the times of Wikipedia and google, when we needed some data, we asked him because it was faster than go to check in a book or an encyclopedia. Sometimes my coworkers used to asked him difficult questions just to try him. In my 27 years working besides him I never caught him in a fault.

Only once, he didn’t know the answer to the question a journalist made him. But he sure knew where to find the answer in a few seconds. Even when the Internet was the king of the information, we used to check with him. He was fast, reliable, and human.

Bright, with a peculiar sense of humor. Resorting to him you would take back an answer and a smile or a laugh. Fernando (FPO) never disappointed us. Only when he got ill too soon and passed away. The companion and friend left us, The legend remain

Legend

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Inheritance of love

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My parents lived one of the most exciting love stories I’ve ever heard of. They got married during the WWII. They had a baby, and almost immediately after that,  the war separated them.

My father was a prisoner, later a refugee and finally an exiled. My mom had to hide with the baby and later was persecuted because of her faith in a communist country. They spent twelve years trying to reunite again during which they suffered a lot.

All their attempts were a failures until 1956. But they loved each other so much that when they finally succeeded and met again, they were able to look at each other at the eyes without regrets, and continue their live together just as if they had said farewell the day before. And they continued loving each other like the first day till the end.

Dad, a writer, used to write poems to mom and surprise her with little gifts with no apparently reason. She was always smiling. Their friends and acquaintances say that my parents conveyed serenity and happiness. I think so too.

My dad passed away sixteen years ago. My mom just last August.

I miss them badly

They didn’t have material things to leave us as inheritance.

I would like to inherit their way of loving, so natural, so intense, so faithful.

Inheritance

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The big bag theory

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big bag

Big bags are like the cookie monster, they can eat, and eat, and eat things and never get tired of it.

The more room they have more things it seems that we need to take with us wherever we go.

We put things in and almost never take them out

The bigger they are the more weight we have to carry.

They are masters in hiding keys. No matter which kind of key chain you use.They would get conveniently covered under layers of packs of tissues, papers, the phone, maybe a scarf, a foldable umbrella, a toy of the kid or who knows what.

In fact, they are masters in hiding precisely that item you need, and revealing it when you don’t need it at all.

They are responsible for the developing of the art of “fishing” for the needed item thru the tact, without the participation of the sight. Aaaaaaargh!

I used to have big bags when i worked as a reporter to take with me my tape recorder, my notepad, my camera if necessary and all kind of stuff to deal with the unexpected, from an exit to the mountain books or some hobbies for the long waits in the corridors of the court-house.

But now? Enough

Small bags, My wallet, my keys, my phone, my tissues and nothing more.

Theory

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Zero degrees

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– How is the weather out there?
– Nor hot neither cold: zero degrees (celsius)
– That’s freezing!
– Yeah, there is ice on the floor, you must be careful if you go out
– Definitely not. I’m staying at home knitting a scarf
– Good idea I think I’m going to light the fire in the fireplace and read a book
– We can listen to some good music meanwhile
– Our home will seem a scene from a hundred years ago
– But we will feel warm and cozy today.
– It’s a pity that we don’t have a fireplace
– And that I don’t have wool for knitting at home.
– Let’s go out to a place I know where they serve hot chocolate with “churros”.
– Just a sec. I’m putting on my coat and my scarf and I’m with you.

Degree

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The (im)perfect living room

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We had a nice living room with a wooden floor in a very bad condition. the contrast between the floor and the furniture was too obvious so we recently decided to varnish the floor.

I remember those days with horror. We had to clear the room of furniture: take out the heavy couch that didn’t fit thru the narrow door and what can I say about the piano! The tables were easier, but the furniture of the library were a nightmare. We finished exhausted knowing that two or three days after we would have to do the job again to put the furniture in their place.

Finally the varnishing team came and did their job but they left lots of dust behind them. Fortunately, we had protected very well the piano against the dust. We began to clean the rest of the house and the room and replace the furniture.

Suddenly, our nice couch and our lovely shelving furniture looked rather old and worn against the sparkling new floor. Oh boy! There is no way to find the harmony. Speaking about harmony, our piano leveled somehow the look of the room because when we were transporting it we made an ugly mark on the just varnished floor so it’s not already so perfect

Varnish

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Nobody is perfect

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I believe people can reach sanctity, but that’s a goal for a whole life. There are no saints on the earth but there are many people more than we imagine, trying to be saints. The main thing is try to do always what one’s conscience tells . And don’t do to others what you don’t want to be done to you. It’s human to fail frequently.

Perfection is something impossible to achieve. Those who think they must be perfect, sooner o later will fall down in the most bitter discouragement at the discovering of their unavoidable failures or become tyrans for themselves and for the others if they don’t recognize them.

Fail, ask for forgiveness to God and to the others who may be implicated, and try again , succeed, give thanks to God and go on, without throw in the towel no matter what , that’s the secret of a sanctity life in normal circumstances.

There is no need to have special revelations like the most famous saints. It’s enough to try to be close to God in everything we do. Those are some of my father’s teachings for me. A big help for my life. Above all to don’t get discouraged in my struggle to try to be better. I realize sanctity is very far away from me but I’m trying to live according to his advice.

I admire many saints. But because I have lived in San Francisco, CA, and I live now in the square of the St Francis of Assisi, I would name this saint as one of my most dearest, because of his love for nature and his life of poverty.

In the picture the statue of Saint Francis with the wolf in my square.

Saintly

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Patina

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Recently we bought in an antique shop a statuette of the Virgin Mary inspired in the famous painting “The Madonna of the Chair” of Raphael. The statuette was covered by a patina of dirtiness and it had the face almost black. The result of years and years of dust accumulated.
I started to work on it immediately. With a fine brush and water with a special soap, very gently, I began to brush the delicate faces and the rest. It took me days to take all the dirt away. I had to be careful to take away only the dirt and not the original painting. I had to be very patient too. But the result was rewarding because the delicate features of the faces of the Virgin and the Child and the colours of their robes appeared. Finally we applied a transparent varnish to preserve the colours. And the job was done.
I think the outcome it was pretty good You can judge by the picture.

Patina

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Glasses

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One of my closest friends has paid a visit to the oculist recently, and of course, she needed glasses. Now with her new glasses she has discovered she has lots of wrinkles she had never seen before and we also. Suddenly we all have aged several decades at the same time.
Age

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The mini zoo

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We don’t have a zoo in my city, but we have what we call a mini zoo in what were the moats of the city walls. It’s a pretty big extension, no longer full of water to stop the enemy. Now that there is no enemy to stop, there is grass instead of water, and it forms an enormous green area all around the city.

Around a big park named La Taconera, it has several ponds with all kinds of ducks, goose, and swans. There are also other animals like roosters, peacocks, pheasants, and other birds and a small herd of deer that usually lives in the top of the wall in a higher level than the rest of the animals . Sometimes wild birds stop there for a while to have a rest and look for food in this area. I spotted recently a couple of grey herons, and a hoopoe.

Everything family scale and it’s free. People like to walk and look at the animals. The view is always different, because they move around the moat. The only ones that never move from its place are the goose.

I’ve visited zoos, when I was a kid, but they make me a little sad above all to see the big wild animals in enclosed areas.

Once, I think it was in Barcelona, we entered the zoo and we saw a hippo peeing. We made a tour and when we came back to the hippo enclosure, he was still peeing and had formed a big puddle around him. That impressed me a lot. ¿How many litres can pee a hippo? I looked for an answer and nobody would give me one.

I love big cats, but not in captivity, I prefer to watch a good documentary. But I like documentaries focused in the beauty of the nature and the animals, not gloating on the cruelty of the wild life. We have every day enough cruelty in the news, close to our lives, to search for more blood when we try to relax watching something simply beautiful.

Zoo

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Knitting with Mom

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I used to knit during the long hours I spent taking care of my mom when she was still among us. It was the perfect activity to be with her. I was able to follow a conversation with her, do something productive, and drop it immediately whenever she needed something of me, which was pretty often, and unpredictable. I couldn’t read a book, because I couldn’t concentrate with so much interruptions. Watch tv was extremely boring. She loved watching me doing something while I was with her. when I finished my first sweater she said she was really proud of me. Since she passed away I never took out again the knitting bag again…until today to take this picture.

Knit

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my noisy neighbourhood

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I live in a very lively neighbourhood, in the middle of the old quarter of Pamplona . My home is at the square of St Francis where we have a public school a public library, shops, bars and restaurants. During the week we have the constant noise of kids playing in a small park prepare for them and going in and out of school.

During the weekend the city council gives permission to anybody to organize events in the square, from some Christian sects that sing with loudspeakers, with no mercy for the neighbours, in front to a nonexistent audience; to a mobile rock band with electrics guitars, drums and all, with their artists disguised with colourful wigs, red, yellow, purple…From a procession of traditional ( and deafening) drums, to a street band.

There are people who perform in the street without any permission, but nobody cares.

There is a shop that sells and repairs electric guitars and when some artist come they sometimes organize impromptu performances at the door of the commerce. People gather around, occupying the road, and if there is a car coming they simply open a corridor to let it pass, and then regroup to keep listening.

Sometimes is the same city council who organizes the events like the medieval fair , with artisans, shops, and shows of falconry There is no room for boredom.

From the square there is a nice view of the fireworks with their lights and colours. I Love them, but my cat doesn’t like at all the loud percussive sounds and disappears when the fireworks begin, to hide into a closet.

The real problem is the night. Lots of night life, no chance of having a good sleep during the weekends

Other than that, my neighbourhood is really nice and funny and I enjoy it a lot
Percussive

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Underdog team

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As a University student I decided to sign up for the basketball team of my faculty: Journalism. We were the underdog team in the Second University League. We were all new players, in our first year at the University and our trainer was a student on his third year. Nobody took us seriously.

I usually played as power forward, and had pretty good success with long shots. I didn’t like too much the hand-to-hand fight under the basket.

My problem was that because an operation I had had in my right leg due to a tumor in the tibia I had stopped playing for several years and I just had come back to the court during my last year of high school, so I needed extra training to play decently. But my studies won’t let me enough time. Nevertheless I was a regular player on the court, so that gives an idea of the quality of the team.

Anyway, we began to play against the nurses team, the favourite, and we, as predicted, lost the match. What a drag! We were so excited in our first game.. But then the following match, against Philosophy, we surprisingly won. and we celebrated like if we had just won the championship. The next week our opponents didn’t appear, so we won again.

And so the season was advancing and we were adding points to our classification. we finally ended in the second place after the nurses and were able to raise the team’s category to the First University League.
Underdog

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“Grempoliticians”

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Gremlins? what a strange topic to write about! I never liked those little monsters. The only thing I can think about them now, is that they remind me to a kind of politicians: The ones that during the electoral campaign are soft and kind, and full of smiles and good words towards their constituency. And when they touch the water of the power they turn in aggressive, unpleasant, egoist, and don’t care at all about their people. Only care about their power and their pockets.

There are too much gremlin-politicians or “Grempoliticians” nowadays, and unfortunately there is no magic formula to deactivate them.

Despite this strange post, I would like to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends

Gremlins

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Not fair

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When I was a student at the University, my father was one of my teachers. I studied Journalism and he was a teacher of Literature, Technology and Ethics. I could attended at his classes which were magnificent above all the Literature an ethics ones. But he couldn’t examine me because I was his daughter.

He was known because he never let his students fail in an exam. They knew all of them would pass, but nevertheless they studied a lot for his exams. How did he get it? Nobody knew. He used to tell them if they wouldn’t work enough then, they will fail later in life. And he was able to convince them.  He was really kind and always open to talk with his students.

So, when all my classmates had guaranteed that they would pass the exam, I had to go to render my exam to a different professor. In Ethics I had to face  the toughest teacher of the Faculty who asked me tricky questions without any mercy. I didn’t want mercy, just justice. And that was not fair. At the end I passed, but it was hard.

In the picture, dad at the University

Mercy

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Lost Nest

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Mom's 1

Now that my mom has passed away, her nest is empty. Her house, a meeting point for all of us, plenty of great remembrances, is now a sad and solitary place. The place where I used to go to find refuge and solace is gone.

Soon it will begin the time of Advent and after that, Christmas. Every year I used to spend many time with her, planning what to do, what presents get ready for the kids, how to set the simple grotto scene in the living room, under the Christmas tree full of decorations and lights.

And because she was so sick and paralytic, I was the one doing all that things under her loving directions, while we listened to traditional carols .

We used to laugh like kids at the slightest reason or without any reason at all.

I loved the moment when I had finished decorating the tree and the whole living room. It was usually at the evening. I used to turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree and the grotto scene and all the other decorations. Then I used to go to my mom’s room and bring her, pushing the wheelchair, to the living room.

The wonder in her face was my best reward. Her eyes were bright and smiling and my heart was dancing. I’m going to miss you so much, mom!

In the picture, my mom’s armchair, empty

Nest

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Droll

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The most famous jester I know is Rigoletto. I love the Verdi’s Opera, because I adore baritone voice, and it has several magnificent arias, duets and quartets. Of course, Rigoletto’s story is not funny. it’s the great drama of a father who has to earn his life making laugh the Count and his friends and can’t protect his daughter from the lust of his master. Other than that I have never known a droll comedian.

Well, once I had to interview an actor who was famous because he was the main character in a series of bandits. He was in a tour around Spain with his team and they performed a spectacle in the arena with horses and fake blunderbusses. But he was not very happy to have to go traveling around with the show so when I began to put questions he answered angrily and unpleasantly. He began to tell me such gross words that I turned around, left him alone and went away without the interview.

Close by, one of the secondary actors, who was very popular because his character was pretty comic, realized what was happening. I approached him to ask him some questions and I made my interview with him who was certainly very funny. When I told my boss what had happened, luckily he supported me, and told me I had done well leaving the main actor alone with his bad temper.

Many years ago, we had a driver for the newsroom. He had been a paperboy but he had had an accident with his van and when he recovered they decided to transfer him to deliver journalists instead of newspapers. We were a little afraid of him, because he didn’t know well the highways around the city that had been built while he was on leave, he had mobility problems and he was quite quarrelsome when there was a traffic trouble.

We preferred to take the car from the garage and drive ourselves. But he wouldn’t let us. One day one of the journalists who used to take the car, arrived to the newsroom carrying a big, heavy chain, and left it with a crash on his desk.

  • what’s that? .we asked
  • the key chain our driver put for the car keys. He chained the keys to avoid us taking the car but forgot to lock the chain to the rack on the wall of the garage, so When I saw that the chain was unlocked, I took the whole thing and went out with the car.

Droll

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The field of certainty

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As a reporter I had to move myself in the field of certainty, to be able to report about true news and don’t defraud my readers with a dubious story not enough contrasted. I used to check twice or more times every fact before publishing it.

I had a source, when I was a reporter in courts, that used to call me “sureolga” because of the many times I used to call him to check facts and get clarifications about the trials and the investigations going on. I knew that my way of working was a little slower than the others who just told the story as it happened without any further checking, but I couldn’t help myself.

Even though my bosses wanted more speed to finish the edition before ten in the evening with an appealing headline.

I knew that the fame of the people involved was at stake and that’s not a child’s game. I always thought that’s better write a good and complete news than have a fast but dubious one, and have to rectify next day.

I’m proud to say that in my years of reporter in courts I never had to rectify a single news I had written. And that’s not easy.

Dubious

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Disturbing Moonless Nights

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As a reporter I had to report about a shooting between policemen and terrorists that took place in a natural landscape of great beauty, a narrow gorge formed by a river.

Apparently, four terrorists were making plans for an attack while spending the day by the river, when they were intercepted by the police by chance.In the shooting a policeman died and another was wounded. The terrorists fled along the riverbank and disappeared into the vegetation.

The river is not practicable to swim because it has dangerous swirls and very deep pits and the only accesses to the gorge are the ends of the old railway tunnel wich runs well above the river bed. The police closed the two ends, as soon as the shooting occurred, so that the terrorists had no way of getting out of there.

And the manhunt began with the special forces using choppers in the air and dogs on the ground. The moonless night fell, black as tar. There was no trace of the terrorists. At dawn, one of them, badly wounded in the head, surrendered to the special forces that were combing the area and took them to where the others were at the river’s edge. they were dead. They had decided to commit suicide before being captured. He had tried to commit suicide but he had missed the shot. It was a pretty mysterious how the police didn’t hear the shots while combing the place.

I was horrified by everything that was happening. I had been the first journalist on the scene with my photographer and I was there when the terrorists were still on the run. Pretty dangerous despite we were going everywhere with the police.

The next night, a neighbour from the town closest to the place called my newsroom saying that shots had been heard again in the gorge. The terrorists were already dead. The special forces gone. ¿what could possibly had happened? My boss sent me to investigate.

I was very young and was in charge of another journalist even younger than me. We went with a beginner photographer. We arrived at the gorge and again we found ourselves with a dark and moonless night. But this time was scarier because we were completely alone. No police, no other journalists. no living soul.

We asked in the village and nobody had heard anything. When we arrived with my little Panda car at the black entrance of the tunnel I knew that there was no possibility of turning around to leave in one mile, and I felt responsible for the other two who were with me. So I decided to go around to the exit of the tunnel to see what we could find there.

Everything was dark and silent and again nobody had heard anything. We went a little further to the police station to which the dead and wounded policeman belonged to speak with their pals and they confirmed that everything was quiet. So we went back to the newsroom with nothing to report other than an update about the health of the wounded police officer, but at least we were safe and sound.

Black

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Dad’s angel

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Every Christmas eve, my dad used to build a grotto scene in the living room with little figurines of st Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Baby Jesus and the shepherds, under the Christmas tree.

He had a beautiful a valuable figurine of the angel who announced to the shepherds the good news and he always put it in the scene gingerly at the end. When the angel was in its place it meant that everything was ready and the feast could begin.

Then, we could gather around the scene and the tree and pray, sing carols and finally open the presents.

The figurine, dad’s angel, no more than six inches tall, was very artistically done had every finger modeled one by one and a very peaceful face. It’s been more than 60 years than my dad bought the figurine and it looks completely new.

Now my sister keeps it in her house. She also takes very good care of it. It brings very good memories of all those Christmas at our home when we were all together and happy, and everything had some kind of sweet magic.

Those were wonderful years and now we are trying to build similar memories for the youngest in our family so they could also treasure wonderful memories of family life
Gingerly

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Dancing from the back row

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I have never been good at dancing because I have a directionality problem, and I cannot tell right from left, up from down, and so on. My limbs coordination is almost null. My mom used to call me “my wind mill”, because my arms and legs were long and thin and they spread in all directions.

When I was small, in school, I remember one year we had to practice classic dance and perform in front of our families in the festival at the end of the year. I was very worried because I was unable to learn by heart any of the steps and the arms positions. I was doing exactly the contrary of what was supposed to do. When everybody were taking a step to the right I invariably took my left. My arms were always in the opposite side of the others.

My only hope was to be relegated to the back row of dancers and copy what the girl in front of me was doing. But because I was then one of the shortest of the class, they put me in the front row, with my tutu skirt and my dancing slippers. Very cute, but absolutely ridicule because of my awful performance.

A few days before the festival I fell down and hit my head pretty hard against the corner of a metal door. I ended with several stitches and a bandage in my forehead that covered my left eye. Not very decorative for the ballet. The teacher then decided to situate me in the back row of dancers and I sighed in relief.

The day of the festival I was able to copy the movements of the girl in front of me and do the entire choreography without visible errors. I remember that my brother congratulated me and told me that he noticed that I knew the choreography by heart and not like the other girls who were looking each other to do it well. I said nothing, but I thought how blind is the true fraternal love.
Dancing

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Faint

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To be bilingual has many advantages. But sometimes creates strange situations.

I uttered my firsts words in Croatian, and I learned Spanish at school when I was already 5 years old. I thought I had learned my Spanish pretty well, when something happened to me that proved it otherwise.

I was already 12 and in my way to school I felt faint. The nuns thought that I probably had not had a proper breakfast, so they decided to give me a big mug of hot milk. I hate milk and I hate cream in my milk, but I saw in despair how the nun was pouring milk with lots of cream.

I tried to tell her I didn’t like cream and I discovered in horror that I didn’t know how to say it in Spanish I only knew the Croatian word “skorup”. The nun couldn’t understand me. And she continued pouring cream in my mug.

I discovered that day that I didn’t know simple words related to the house life, like spoon, fork, and, of course, cream, because we used at home the Croatian words.
Faint

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Scrambled eggs with mushrooms

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mushroom

I love scrambled eggs with mushrooms and fresh garlic stalks. It’s a good dish for breakfast or even for lunch. Above all if the mushrooms are good, well-selected. I usually buy them at the local market, because there I have the security that they would not be poisonous.

In my community people are very fond of going to the forest mushroom hunting. They know all the varieties: which ones are the tasty, safe to eat, and wich ones are poisonous, forbidden. Nevertheless, every year there is one case of poisoning by mushrooms, so there is clear that it’s not so easy to discern ones from another’s.

There is a tell of a group of friends who went to pick up mushrooms and then fixed a dinner. To be sure that all was OK, they gave a little dish to the cat. When they saw that the cat was ok, they proceeded with the dinner. But when they had eaten all, the cat began to writhe, meowing pitifully. So they rushed to the hospital to have a stomach wash. They had a terrible time but at least they were safe. when the wife of the house came telling that the cat was simply giving birth to her kittens. So, all the trouble, for nothing.

Now in autumn is usual to see groups of men going to the forest with a basket and a stick and have a great time looking for the appreciated plants under the thickets close to the roots of the trees, where all is permanently wet. Our forests are beautiful and the outings are appealing.

It’s usual that between neighbours there are envy and rivalries. So, people here in Navarra doesn’t like too much that our neighbours from Guipuzcoa came in large numbers to pick up mushrooms to our forests. and people call them “mushroom-robbers”. In Guipuzcoa they don’t like that the people from Navarra went in Summer in large numbers to their beaches to take a bath and enjoy the sun. They call us beach-piss, which is a worst nickname.

No matter what people call each other, every year more guipuzcoans come to pick up mushrooms and more navarreans go to the beach.

In the images a mushroom in the forest (I don’t know if is good or bad, I didn’t dare to touch it) and a view of the forest close to Pamplona in the Imotz Valey)
Egg

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My neighbour, the Law student

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For many years my family lived in an apartment next to a boarding house, so our neighbours were mostly students, besides the family running the house. The woman in charge of the boarding house Maura, was a really nice neighbour. The students were all male, pretty noisy, but usually well-behaved.

One year – I don’t remember exactly when, but certainly, before I went to High School – a Law student arrived. I don’t know what was he doing with his time, but I only know that when it was my time to go to the University, he was still studying Law. He even had business cards with the title so and so, profession: Law student.

I remember, that he was famous in the university bar, because, at the beginning of the scholar year, as soon as he would spotted a spectacular blonde, he would go directly to invite her to a drink. Then, when they were drinking at the bar, he used to turn around and catch the first young and unsuspecting guy: look, – he would told him, like confiding a secret – “I just invited this girl and have noticed that I forgot my wallet, please, get me out of the embarrassment and pay me the drinks”. This usually worked one or two times with the youngest and more innocents, but at the third time, when the professional student of law approached a blonde in the bar, everybody would fled.

When I finished my studies, he was still in the boarding house, presumably studying law. I don’t know how he managed to don’t be expelled from the University after so many years. I guess he was already out of the University but he had never told his parents.

in the picture a view of the main building of my “Alma Mater”

Neighbors

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The mysterious tape

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Once, my boss sent me to make an interview to a scientist who had done some research in a very complicated and highly specific area of the bio chemistry for his PhD. The headline of his thesis was completely incomprehensible. The whole thing certainly might be interesting for the scientist community but very difficult to explain for the general public. But the scientist, a young man, was the nephew of a good friend of my boss, so his study had to become news in my newspaper no matter what.

When I asked him for an interview, he was surprised. He couldn’t understand why a journalist of a local newspaper could have any interest in his work. I asked him to explain me what was he doing in his lab as if I were (as I actually was) a completely ignorant about the matter.

I put my recorder in front of him and began to ask questions and take notes. He started to tell me about technical terms incomprehensible for me. He didn’t know what “say it in plain English” meant. There was no way to make him touch ground. I tried my best, but, when I went back to the newsroom I only had some chaotic notes and a tape (it was before the digital era) with 45 minutes of a recorded conversation in which I had placed all my hopes.

I rewinded the tape, I pressed the play button of my tape recorder to listen to the interview and mysteriously, all the conversation sounded backwards. Yes. Our voices were there talking, but it was like we were swallowing each word. It was impossible to understand a single one of them.

In all my life as a reporter never had happened to me something like that. I’ve never had found an explanation to such a strange behavior of the tape. It never happened before, never after. I asked technicians an other journalists, and nobody could give me an explanation. Of course, without the recording I couldn’t write the interview.

In the picture, me and my tape recorder in another interview different that the one described in this post.

Mystery

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Not in the mood

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Cemetery (2 of 5)

Too close to the death of my mom and a good friend to be interested in entertain myself writing a ghoulish story. Death has called recently people I loved, and my soul is bleeding quietly.

It’s strange, I’ve spent the last five years taking care of my mom and I came to thought that when she died, I would fall apart. She needed me because of her illness, but I needed her so much because of her love…

When was time to go to bed, she used to blessed me, doing the sign of the cross in my forehead telling me in Croatian, with her mild voice: “Sweet night, my heart”. (Laku Noć, Srce Moje). I thought I couldn’t live without her blessing and her sweet words. But when the death arrived quick and treacherously without giving me a chance to say goodbye, I stayed frozen by the pain, but without tears. I couldn’t react. I, who cry for anything , and die of sorrow for the most trivial misfortunes. My mom was dead and I couldn’t cry.

I still bearing my pain in the deeps of my soul and has not surfaced yet. Today I found myself thinking, “when all this work I’m having these days finish, I’ll have more time to take care of mom”But she doesn’t need me any more.

Maybe is me who needs to stop working and moving around and think about what happened no matter how painful, and let my tears finally reach my eyes and cry, because I miss her so much. Maybe is time tell her quietly: Sweet night, mom, my heart. Goodbye. Laku Noć, Mom.

Ghoulish

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Fluff

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I’m very disappointed because after having prepared thoroughly a lecture, with lot of work and anticipation, only a few minutes before the scheduled hour, some people who will attend, began to discuss in front of me, how boring the lectures are nowadays.

Times had changed, they say. We are in the era of short and clear messages. The times of tweets and Instagram. Would be enough that a lecturer enunciate the subject and say the bibliography, to end the thing in a couple of minutes and save time.

What about the professor’s creativity? what about his knowledge acquired by studying and investigating? What about the possibility of a debate with questions and answers live and the enrichment it brings ?

I thing people too dependent of the 140 characters to communicate themselves are losing many capabilities of expression and comprehension.

I was looking forward for my lecture, and now I’m puzzled. I think I will send some short messages for the ones bored in advance to make a joke and save their time, and then I will follow as planed for the people I hope will be interested in the subject.
Fluff

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Gratitude

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me

I suffered a deep depression while working in the newsroom of a newspaper. One of my coworkers, a great friend of mine, knew all about of my condition. When that all begun, I only could feel an enormous tiredness and I couldn’t stop crying. This was pretty embarrassing while I was in the newsroom full of people who could see me.

My friend always noticed that I had begun to cry before anyone else, and saying nothing she quietly, used to came to my desk and tell me: come with me. We then used to go out of the building, to the parking lot, to get some fresh air and she would comforted me and wouldn’t let me until I recomposed myself somehow, before coming back to continue working.

Eventually I went to the doctor and I had to stop working for a while. She was a great help for me in those dark days. I’m deeply grateful to her for had “rescued” me during those dreadful hours. She’s still my best friend.

Gratitude

in the picture, me, one of those years

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I Prefer Autumn

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I like things happening as usual. I was a little unsettled because of the high temperatures and the absence of rain at the beginning of this Autumn.

I love Autumn, but till this week It seamed that the summer would never end. We were wearing summer clothes and sandals. Plus, we are going thru a pretty strong drought. The reservoirs are close to empty.

We are waiting for the rain with anxiety. In other places of Spain they’ve had torrential rains but nothing over here. The landscape usually green and leafy appears dry and dusty. Some trees hadn’t change its colour yet.

I went out to take pictures of the colours of the Autumn in the forest And only have found some leaves on the floor in a very hot day. As every Autumn, the man who sells roasted chestnuts arrived with his portable stove to my street, filling everything with the nice smell of his merchandise, but it was so hot that there was no appeal to buy the hot chestnuts he was selling for 1 euro a dozen.

I would prefer a nice autumn season with rains, fresh weather, feel the cold in my cheeks, stop by the chestnut seller and buy a dozen to warm my hands and my stomach.

 

Prefer

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Orange

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Close to my house there is an ancient park pretty big, where a little army of gardeners are constantly working to keep it nice and beautiful with lots of flowers, according to the season. and following the old design of flowerbeds, decorative trimmed hedges and everything else. It’s called La Taconera.

Today they were changing the flower beds for the autumn and it was one of the rare days in which the park was almost bare so I didn’t take any pictures, but I have a photo of some orange tulips from last spring.

The park is located along the city walls, and in the old moats there is a mini zoo with some deers, and all kind of ducks, goose, peacocks and other birds. I love to take a walk thru the park. With its statues, its antique decorations and above all its beautiful flowers, helps me enter in another world, and escape from the noises and the dust of the city and its road traffic.

I consider myself lucky to have such a green space so close.

flowers 11

Orange

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Surreal

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As a reporter I witnessed a police operation against a violent terrorist cell in my city, and two years after, I was called to take the stand as a witness during the trial against the terrorists. They promised me total discretion and that my name would not be disclosed.

I had to go to Madrid because the crimes related to terrorism are competence of a National High Tribunal. Once there, we, the witnesses, were waiting for the beginning of the trial, when a bus with supporters of the terrorists coming from my city arrived. The clerks and the security guards wanted that we were called by our names publicly in front of all those people who were looking at us as the enemy. Finally, talking with the security guards, we entered the building thru another door.

While I was waiting for my turn to take the stand I was searched thoroughly by a police woman, like if I was a criminal instead of a witness. Then, when my turn finally arrived, I entered the courtroom, and I had to stand next to an armored glass cage where the accused were. One of them had threatened me to death two years before when the police operation was taking place. I looked at them. They were laughing at me.

The first thing the judge said was ask me about my name and surname and repeat them aloud several times, because my surname is not very easy to pronounce for a Spaniard. Next he said aloud my address. So, that was the total discretion they promised me. The alleged terrorists in the cage were laughing loud, apparently having a great time. (They explained afterwards to me that it is a tactic of them to intimidate the witnesses).

To my surprise, the District Attorney didn’t know what to ask me. He didn’t know I was a journalist and that I had written everything I’ve seen in my newspaper. He didn’t know that I witnessed how one of the suspects opened the door of a hiding place where there was a large cache of weapons… I couldn’t believe it.

Finally, I finished answering questions and was dismissed. When all that was over, I wanted to refresh my mind and I decided to go to visit some museums in Madrid.

I went to El Prado, and when I was inside, suddenly there was an alarm and we were all evicted by bomb warning. I went to the Thyssen Museum, and it happened again.

So I decided to take a walk far away from the courthouse and wait calmly for the hour of my trip back home. Surreal
Surreal