The year started pretty well but ended sadly.
I went to Spain for the first time in over 10 years in March, with my parents. We stayed in a beautiful hotel
at the foot of the Alhambra (here are some photos of the hotel
), visited the Alhambra on our first day and then explored Granada and Seville. The trip definitely reignited my love for Spain and reminded me why I'd learned Spanish in the first place. My parents were enchanted by the Alhambra, the food and the people. We only had one day in Seville and my parents were interested in coming back and exploring more but given political developments and the lack of a train service between Granada and Seville, that doesn't seem to be happening this year.
Dad and I discovered a new place to eat - the Queen's Arms in Kensington
. It's about 12-15 minutes from the museums (V&A/Natural History/Science) and very good value for the area. We also found a new gelato place near Pierre Victoire on Dean Street so we don't have to go all the way to Victoria. We saw the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, the Mary Quant exhibition and the Pre-Raphaelite Sisters exhibition - this last one was really fascinating, as I hadn't heard of some the women featured (Fanny Easton, Joanna Wells, Marie Spartali Stillman, Maria Zambaco) even though the two Marias were artists in their own right and very prolific. Joanna Wells died after giving birth to her third child and should be better known. Fanny Easton was the only WOC who consistently modelled for the pre-Raphaelites.
I spent my birthday weekend with friends in Bristol, and we saw a wonderful irreverent production of P&P: Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)
, where a cast of six women played all the parts (except for Mr Bennett, who was nothing but an armchair and a newspaper) while singing, dancing AND playing instruments. It was incredibly joyful and I am hoping to see it again.
We had another family holiday at the end of October where we all stayed in a big townhouse in York on Gillygate, just outside the city walls. I was able to meet elisi
in person for the first time and enjoy a day wandering around York with her. I introduced her to the Sapphire Blue tea from Betty's (a tea so delicious it needs no milk) and she introduced me to her family brew, two parts regular tea & one part Earl Grey, I look forward to trying this out. The day after, we went back to Scarborough, where my dad grew up. We used to go up to Scarborough to visit Nana (Dad's mum) every half term. The sad thing is that where Nana used to live, all the free parking has gone - you can't even leave your car there for 30 minutes, you need to have a permit of some kind. Mother Hubbards was still there and the food was as delicious as ever.
I lost a dear friend
at the beginning of September and I'm still recovering from that. Also the general election result is just... crushing. Our system does not represent the people and I hate that the government is acting with impunity when they have less than half the popular vote. I haven't given up, though. We haven't given up.
For 2020, I hope to find a new job and get back to writing.