Hello hello! This is the first of my (sporadic so far) 5 minute bites of English, grab a coffee, click play on the Soundcloud playlist at the bottom of the page and you can have a little listen to some music in English, read a speedy post about Madrid and hopefully feel like you had some nice English in your life before you start work today!
La Piscine, Calle Campoamor, Calle St Teresa
16:31 - 17:45
Espresso number 3
Today I had been working for 3 hours straight and every link I clicked on in the final 20 minutes led me to a picture of an otter, I love otters and I can’t imagine a situation where I would be unhappy to see an otter, but this definitely wasn’t productive and productivity is my objective today, I have a to-do list that is keeping me awake and enabling me to rise like an animated zombie seconds before my alarm goes off.
However, Otter number 3 in 20 minutes (accompanying an ask Polly article that I wanted to use for a discussion topic in my students facebook group btw) made me realise it was time to go for a bit of a walk and take a break as my eyeballs were hurting from staring at the computer screen.
My co-working space is on Calle Campoamor in Justicia, a very swish neighbourhood in the centre of Madrid, the kind of neighbourhood I always imagined I would live in once I grew up (spoiler. I do not yet live here) …… I’ve already got over the nasty shock I had when I got to university in London and realised the prices of Notting Hill weren’t quite in my student budget.
I went around the block, along Calle Santa Teresa, past a very, very cute cafe that I would like to go back to with my best friend for a gossipy afternoon sharing a bottle of fizz and stealing one of her cigarettes as always ‘Olivia te Cuida’, on past the insanely expensive Love Stories underwear shop - where I would like to buy everything just to hang on my wall and look at because it’s far too wispy and thin to actually use, but so so pretty!
Around the corner, my economist student who works in this area and I have been scandalised to see the very New York and very Un Madrid bright white, minimal and to be fair - pretty empty - spinning studio, as well as a Tracy Anderson gym (879€ JUST TO SIGN UP!) These places seem to have popped up in the last few weeks while all the Madrilenos were away from ‘the pan’ at at the beach.
The last street before I turn back up Campoamor and to write this, takes me past my favourite cafe - Mama Framboise, which I have to actively avoid or I find myself walking in and convincing myself that yes I do deserve a raspberry croissant, because in fact I’ve been thinking very hard and probably using up an awful lot of glucose in my brain.
Past one of the great many gorgeous independent bookstores we have, Libreria Antonio Machado where I can buy the babies in the family reading books about Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo and Nina Simone. It makes me feel involved in their lives, knowing that they have a colourful little book from Madrid in their British bedrooms when it’s drizzly and grey outside.
I’m carrying only my phone so I can grab a few pictures of the streets and I realise how happy and free I feel when I don’t have a handbag, as my students in Madrid know - I normally look like a small blond snail with a huge (anti-thief!) backpack as I carry my office with me, so walking with no bag, no coat and no wallet makes me feel extremely light, slightly naked and I have to fight the urge to skip along like a kid again. It reminded me of this racked article I read a few months ago on the politics of pockets….
When do you feel at your most free? Do you have a favourite place to take a quick stroll when you’re working, do you look up to spy into the apartments above the high street at night (I’m very guilty of this, as you can imagine!)