Nothing Like A Coffee And Some Time

I’m sitting on a lovely, ever-so-slightly battered brown sofa in my favourite bar (Cafe Cyrano) in Almería, my recently adopted ‘big city’, listening to my new favourite album (‘Hey Mr Ferryman’ by Mark Eitzel) with a cortado coffee and an orange juice.

Lovely & slightly battered old sofa

I’ve just put my car in for a service. Not a big deal for most people, but not having owned a car until recently, it feels like a strangely grown up thing to be doing. I dropped the car off at 9.30am and am told it will be 3 hours, so I’ve popped into the city to mooch around and am really enjoying it as it’s not something I can really do in the village where I now live.

I’ve been walking around for a while enjoying the buzzy morning atmosphere of a working day here. As with many cities, there are lots of ‘things to do’ here, some of which I’ve done and others that I will do, but as is often the case, I find myself doing a similar thing ie ‘not very much’ to some people.

But the joy I get from simply sitting in a bar with a coffee, listening to music on headphones, writing, reading and reflecting on nothing in particular is immeasurable.

Some people these days might call this being mindful. I don’t know why doing this works for me and maybe it’s best I don’t know, so in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the positive and calming energy it gives me.

Hope you’re having a good day too…

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Do Less. More

It’s Thursday, so it’s podcast day here at Away From The Noise and today we’re in the beautiful and perhaps under-rated city of Alicante.

On the last few days of our trip around Spain, Mrs Away From The Noise and I have been travelling in the countryside and along the coast of the Costa Blanca and as a result of being here, the podcast this week is called ‘Do Less. More’ inspired by being in this region and also a quote I recently saw online though I can’t for the life of me remember who said it. 

Don’t do more, more, do less, more.

As always, the podcast is like the best pop singles – inspirational and about 3 minutes long.

Listen to Episode 4 – Do Less. More

Happy listening!

Jason

PS The header image is of Benidorm in the 1960s when it was a fishing village before it became a resort. 

Things Are Looking Up (And Down And All Around)

It’s Thursday, so it’s podcast day here at Away From The Noise and today we’re in the beautiful city of Valencia.

This week’s podcast was inspired by almost literally bumping into the National Ceramics Museum based here and how we need to be more aware and connected with our surroundings to live more happily.

As always, the podcast is like the best pop singles – inspirational and about 3 minutes long.

Listen to Episode 3 of the podcast – Things Are Looking Up (And Down And All Around)

Happy listening!

Jason

Art Deco, Aluminium And A Bar In Madrid

Walking to the lovely Cafe San Gines in Madrid last week for their famous chocolate con churros, I was listening to one of my favourite bands The Aluminum Group. One of their songs is called ‘Without Erté’ and to be honest, I’ve never known what the title meant but always liked the mystery of the song. 

Wherever I am, I often like taking different routes each day to where I’m going as it makes each day interesting. One morning I turned right into a new street and ‘Without Erté’ came up on the headphones and as I looked up listening to the chorus as he was singing the word ‘Erté, I was standing in front of a bar called ‘Erté’. I swear to God! 

It was a bit of a weird moment as it’s not the most common word in the world and certainly not in Madrid, but it was such a coincidence that I started thinking about what it all meant.

It could mean that the universe is trying to tell me something or all kinds of different things, but perhaps we like to see more in things than there really are. 

I like to think of it as simply both an amusing and strange coincidence, as well as a reminder that there are moments which are out of the ordinary that we should never take for granted. 

Moments such as these can freak you out or they can make you smile, you choose. Either way perhaps it’s a reminder to always be open – to new ideas, surprises and early morning coincidences involving Spanish capital cities and bars specialsing in foreign beers. 

(FYI It seems the song ‘Without Erté’ is based on Russian-born French Art Deco visual artist and fashion designer Roman Petrovich Tyrtov, also known as Erté.) 

Now where’s that bar in Madrid?

PS… For those who are more grammatically inclined than others, The Aluminum Group are from Chicago, hence the American spelling. I’m English, hence ‘aluminium’ in the title of this post. 

If We Were Having Coffee… What’s Next Is Now

If we were having coffee, I’d say that moving to a new area where you don’t know anybody can be a challenge and moving to a new country even more so. Although my Spanish is reasonable, there can still be a language and cultural barrier at times which can be frustrating, but that’s part and parcel of moving to a new country. There are inevitable a few downsides, however there are also enormous advantages and fundamentally, this is the choice we have made and we are very happy in our ‘new’ home in the south of Spain.

 

One of the most challenging things about moving to a new place where you don’t know anybody is getting to know people and socially ‘starting again’ which can be both a hugely exciting and challenging prospect. We’ve made a few (Spanish and English-speaking) friends in the 18 months we have been here which has been lovely, although sometimes there are good days and bad days, but that’s life and happens wherever you are regardless of your location.

 

Moving to Andalucia has been a dream for such a long time and now we have realised it, I’ve recently been struggling to see what’s ‘next’, but the more I think about it, the more it seems to become clear that the ‘next thing’ is in fact now. Right in front of me. Really obvious perhaps, but there you go. I got round to it eventually. In my own time.

 

So, unlike other times when I’ve looked beyond now and today in favour of a supposedly more exciting and interesting tomorrow, I’m choosing who I am, where I am and with who I am here and now. Maybe there are benefits in getting older after all.

 

And now I know that what’s next is now, I wonder what’s next?

 

The Smiths never wrote a song called ‘What’s Next Is Now’, but they did write the glorious ‘How Soon Is Now’. Enjoy…

 


 

The title of this post is from something I saw on Suzie81Speaks. The ‘If We Were Having Coffee’ series was created by Part Time Monster. Share your coffee posts on Twitter every Saturday with #WeekendCoffeeShare

How To Get Away From The Noise?

After living in London for 17 years, my wife and I decided to move to Granada in the south of Spain in 2014 to get ‘away from the noise’. Most people assume that the ‘noise’ was the urban-ness of the millions of people and the traffic chaos of the big city and to some extent that’s true, however in reality, it was more about the noise of our lives in general.

We just wanted to slow things down and have more time and space to travel, breathe, think and just be. And live in the sunshine and glory of Granada and the south of Spain of course.

It sometimes feels that our lives here have changed beyond recognition and yet at times, it also feels like it hasn’t changed at all as we of course still do ‘normal’ things like the laundry and the weekly shopping. However, one of the most fundamental changes is that Mrs Away From The Noise and I have more time here for our individual selves to pursue our own interests and also for each other.

Seychelles-Island

In hindsight, I’ve always enjoyed being ‘somewhere else’ in my ongoing search to get away from the noise and have regularly mentally, emotionally and physically escaped to places of tranquility because they are beautiful places to be, however I also learnt a long time ago that escaping or changing your geography is not the solution to whatever may trouble you. The usual insecurities and problems tend to follow you. They won’t change unless you do. Wherever and whoever you are, this is an ongoing battle.

Getting ‘away from the noise’ has meant that I now have time to do things I enjoy including songwriting, travelling, teaching English, exploring new interests such as minimalism and writing two blogs Cortado Ingles and this one.

As for the origin of the blog name, I’ve been writing songs for a number of years and a common theme has been wanting to be ‘somewhere else’ and the name ‘Away From The Noise’ has also been around for some time as a potential song title. So when I was looking for a name for this blog, it not only seemed to fit from a sound and meaning perspective, but it also felt like a part of me as it had been with me for a while. Since starting the blog in October 2014, I also find myself learning a lot, both as a part of writing, editing and publishing and also from other bloggers in the community.

In fact, the more I write on the blog, the more I learn about the benefits of being present and living in the moment as opposed to being or wanting to be elsewhere.

So, there you go, that’s the origin of the blog name and why I enjoy writing this blog.

I hope you find it gets you away from the noise too…

This post was written in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt as part of Blogging101 challenge.

Gothic Gin And Tonic With A Bit Of Verdi

As you know, this blog is called Away From The Noise and if you’ve read it before you’ll know that among other things, I like getting away from the noise by hanging out in cafes, listening to music, writing music/blogs and simply walking around Granada in the sunshine (it’s 34 Celsius / 93 Fahrenheit today – so, rather lovely and sunny).

But as it’s the weekend, I thought I’d do something else and as I was flicking through another blog I have Cortado Inglés which is more specifically about living in Granada/Spain, I found a post from last year called My New Favourite Gin Palace In Granada.

Verdi chandelierFortunately, this fabulous gin bar is less than a minute’s walk from my flat in the city centre and other than the fantastic gin cocktails, what I love most about this bar (which is called Verdi) is the rather sumptuously decorated neo-gothic interior which upon entering immediately transports you to another time and place and makes it so easy to simply get away from whatever noise you have in your life or in your head. So, this is where I’m going this weekend.

I know some people go to the beach, others read, do sport or hang out in their garden, but when things are getting a bit much and you need to clear your head or get some space, what do you do or where do you go?