Sunday, 28 June 2009


Part One
Summer and September 2008

The Spanish Consulate in London: My Home, after The Rubble-Pile and the Robinson-Tilletts'

Summer was a personal hell, and I don't even believe in Hell. Nevertheless, Summer was horrific. Now I understand the meaning of the word "stress".

Not only did I have a mountain of administration to deal with, in order to get to Spain, and enroll in my host University, I had exams at home, one play to help organise and another to peform in. It was a wonder I got through it at all. Then came Edinburgh.

Instead of being sensible, and working over my three-month break to make some money and have something to pay for, oh I don't know, flights, accommodation and food, I decided to go and be in a wagless play in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. That's right, I committed myself to a month-long run of a show which would be performed 535 km (332 miles) away from where I should have been in order to sort out my visa issues. The play wasn't even any good, and I think I can safely say I was not going to win any awards for my performance, but I won't go into that. Let's just say that during July and August I was more interested in getting away from where I was than joining in the "fun". That said, I wasn't always miserable, just most of the time: I did see a few good shows for free, got friendly with the ladies in my cast (ooh-er), met a few cool people, and even made a couple of professional contacts. It still wasn't worth the penniless misery, though.

The poverty continued into September, as I desperately tried to wrap up the visa business, scrape some money together, and somehow get my stuff over to Madrid from Brighton. Meanwhile, I was lodging rent-free at the Robinson-Tillett family home, since my own house had become not much more than a pile of rubble. I owe more to that family than thanks. When I did eventually find a job, it was in telephony (see Hell, above), and I lasted two weeks before I had enough and begged to be let go or shot in the head. By this time, the Student Loan and Grant money had come in, and it was a matter of days before flights were booked, bags were packed, and I disappeared into the air.

Arriving in Madrid was a relief, not just because of the objective being finally reached. I had made friends from this city from years back, and my first night was something of a reunion. I was also pleased to be back in the city I'd previously visited four times already. Despite the problems, I had made it - with plenty of help from my friends - and I was not going to let the year go to waste. This would be a chance to relive some old memories and create a whole host of new ones...

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