It's been a rough few weeks for the cat and also for the toilet officer in our house but thankfully the fluffy little bastard is his old self again. The cat, I mean. So now when we go out we can be reasonably sure that we won't be returning home to any cat-related floor schmeers.
'Going out' here isn't the same as it was in Australia. After a quiet six-storey ride in our building's lift (they've refused my request for a fireman's pole) you step onto the street into the thick of the action of one of the coolest cities in the world.
This was about 6.30pm on a Saturday, on our way out to eat. (It's too early for the locals, who are still flat-out shopping.) On our block – and blocks here are dimensionally miniscule – are six bars/restaurants (they're the same thing over here), a dozen clothing shops, three bakeries, a perfumery, four shoe shops (three women's, one men's) an outdoor shop, gym equipment supplies, tobacconist, two pharmacies, a dentist, two banks and four ATMs, two kitchenware shops, a supermarket, a growers' market, four fishmongers, three homeless bums, a cathedral that goes bong but thankfully not at night, post office, two homeware shops, and some guy in a tiny booth selling lotto tickets.
The cat litter shop is on the next block, five minutes' walk away. The beach is four minutes away (the surf beach is all the way across the river, 10 minutes). The restaurant hub of the 'old town' is five minutes too. And you can be in dense bushland on a mountain in under 15 minutes.
Obviously this is a conspiracy to keep us under control and not wandering around too much.
San Sebastián is a town busy with cars, buses, scooters and bikes buzzing around everywhere yet fully one-quarter of the streets here are pedestrian only. I'm yet to see a traffic jam, even at knock-off time.
But it's crowded sometimes – and we're not even close to tourist season yet. It doesn't affect us too much because we can go out any time, outside of busy hours, but wrestling for space and getting the server's attention in a Spanish bar is a fine art, so long as you consider rugby a fine art.
Spaniards seem to have evolved a special voice for getting attention in a bar, particularly the women. They can deploy an order in a voice reminiscent of the bay of a beagle in full flight. Usually right in my earhole. It transcends conventional acoustics. I suspect that if deployed correctly a hungry Spanish woman could bring down an airbus just by yelling at it.
It's snowing today. At some point we'll have to make the 40-yard dash to the indoor market and get some food, wine, perfume, an exercise bike and a lotto ticket.