Well, it weren’t the year we had in mind. But you take the rough with the smooth don’t yer? Especially where over-hyped global pandemics are concerned.
In January, we moved to Madrid for my photography course. It was going well, Malasaña’s countercultural vibe was spurring my creativity and my multi-lingual missus had the locals eating out of her hands. But all that was about to change.
The newsreaders had me apprehensive, when they mentioned an infectious little Chinese export. The last time one of those came into my life, I had no resistance. This time, the liberty takers stepped in to protect me. And I was banged up abroad.
After 3 months sitting by the sunny window and with the Spanish taxman breathing down our necks, we had it on our toes – to the “safest” place we could think of, Berlin.
We landed on our feet. A mind expanding 5 week homestay with an artistic American, and his son. Firm friendships followed. The German capital didn’t disappoint either.
In August, we went Dutch [a couple of months in Amsterdam]. We timed it right – a heatwave was in town, and so were some mates from down under. Banter and bifters down by the riverside.
As the year came to an end, so did my right to free movement. The 9 months I spent in Europe won’t be permitted next year [due to Brexit]. The lyric, “No matter where I roam, I will return to my English rose”, used to be my mantra. Now it’s mandatory.