Pasta, a wintercoat, and the comforts of home.

It is a rather ineffectual day.

I am left in bed for work again, and the lack of routine or schedule leaves me to lose half the day asleep.

This almost waterlogging of sleep leaves the day to pass in a slumber tinted way, reading, lazing, generally being slow.

Now, I understand that everybody needs a lazy day to rest and restore any lost energy, but two in one weeks seems awfully self indulgent of me.

And so it is with this thought in my head that I become disgruntled with myself. Enough to force myself into the mundane and slightly intrusive task of doing chores in somebody else´s home.

Then I climb into the tiny elevator, half filled with a mirror reflecting back your own company at you in a space barely big enough to hold more than three, and head down to the street.

With headphones in, I am wrapped up in my English winter coat against the cold weather, and there is a large part of my brain telling me that I need to stop in the little bakery near the station for a little pastis, but it is too late.

For my forty minute journey I indulge in the routine self care act that I have repeated to the point of battering not one, but two copies of this book: Eat, Pray, Love. (I will save my comments about this book for further discussion on a different post). Only distracted from my book to peer at my fellow passengers and to watch with fascination as lightning lights up the scenes outside our windows, and as torrential rain runs over the train and floods the stations we stop at. Umbrellas are clutched at and everyone is wrapped up, although there are a few that have hair stuck to their head like drowned cats, and there is a general feel of home.

Its comforting, and I am strange enough to miss the rain.

But in this train compartment, with all these strangers pushed together, hot breath fogging up cold glass, the smell of the cold air and of wet clothes, it could almost be a train in London in November, everyone slightly damp and eager to be home, in fresh, warm clothes with the heating on and a cup of tea.

Instead, I am heading into the city.

We reach Gracia and I get out of the station to head directly to the little bakery opposite, that sells the most decadent of all brioche loaves.

I buy myself a saffron cake that is so delicate to eat, it almost dissolves on my tongue like candyfloss.

I have a moment where I cannot decide if I should be happy to devour cake or sad worrying about getting fat. Then I eat the glorious cake, thinking of the terrible weather and how, in such conditions, a little extra body fat will help to keep me warm.

I am still filled with a sense of calm when I enter a market, or supermarket, in the way I have since I was a child. During the stress of my degree I would head to the largest Tesco store and wander around the shelves, buying ingredients for meals in the coming week, for cakes to bake to de-stress, as though I was meditating.

Gracia market is no different, except I have the excitement of deciphering labels, of learning the differences between Spanish supermarkets and English ones (always marveling at the expensiveness of jarred spices here) and adoring the fresh fruit, vegetables and meats, chocolates and fish available in the market, something I revel in walking around exploring.

I head through the market to the supermarket, where the sound of thunder echoes through the roof at us, like ants in a tin can.

I try to decipher hot chocolate powder, buy jam that looks suspiciously nothing like any English jam I have ever encountered, and I take too long debating over pasta for dinner.

Rigatoni? Stuffed fresh pasta with ricotta and spinach? Tortellini with ham?

My indecision and desire to eat all of the pasta makes me text my dinner date and be free of decision making as I head back out into the rain.

I wander around, dipping into little indie shops, waiting for a reply, until I get a text confirming “Rigatoni!” and I wander to the nearest supermarket I can remember stocks the stuff, my dinner date and I end up in different train stations, and I am unfavourably a little grumpy, and am teased for being so when she arrives.

I had watched the trains for her arrival excitedly, and am content when we finally slide into seats on the train home, catnapping on each other, tired, the weather lulling us to sleep.

When we arrive home, I waste no time, taking off my coat and heading straight to the kitchen.

The kettle is filled and on.
Onions are chopped, slid into a waiting pan.
Garlic too.
Tomatoes are next, with finely diced courgette and a generous amount of oregano.

Then its tomato puree, water to loosen the sauce, and its left to bubble away until the pasta is cooked.

Then I take off my shoes and change out of damp jeans and wet socks.

I add soft cheese to my sauce, drain and add the pasta, and cover with a layer of grated cheese, and its popped in the oven untils the cheese has melted and starts to bubble.

And so, with a bowl each of glorious pasta each, we curl up on the sofa and watch Broad City, the weather outside and the pasta I have been making this way for years bringing the comforting feel of England in winter to me across the sea.

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