. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Zen and the art of umbrella usage

First, an admission: despite the above title I'm not going to mention Zen. It's a reference to a book by Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance - which had a huge impact on my own...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

MOT trials and tribulations

I recently took our car for its MOT (the British acronym for the ITV) in Barcelona for the first time since returning to the metropolis from Girona. I booked the nearest place to our flat, which is on...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight

Although they are now long gone, this is the first column I've written since 27-S so I find it impossible to address any other issue than the Catalan election results. Naturally, I won't be the only Britalan...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Good grace

Grace: it's a name that has fallen out of favour in the UK, associated as it is with Victorian flounced skirt-wearing ladies and Dickensian drawing rooms. If we ignore the archaic religious meanings and...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Degrees of compassion

It's a theme I've addressed before, but then something happened recently that made me reflect on it further: the degree and scope of collective spirit inherent in my adopted culture. It came to the fore...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Second chances

My wife's birthday is on a holiday, so if I want to send a surprise bunch of flowers to her place of work, it has to arrive the day before. Not that I've done that before, but it is what I decided to do...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Chat as stress relief

I've been working at universities in Catalonia for the past 10 years or so, and it is very noticeable how students behave in comparison to students in other countries I've lived in. Surprisingly for many...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Tolerably religious

wEaster is upon us, which means the – to me at least – disturbing televised sight of people dragging crosses around and shouting guapa at the Virgin Mary: such are the images we receive each year from...

. LLUÍS ROMERO
THE CULTURAL TIGHTROPE
BARNEY GRIFFITHS

Nice to meet you

A kiss on the cheek? Left or right? Two kisses, one on either cheek? Three? How many cheeks have we got? A kiss on the lips? Really? No kisses, but a handshake? A bow? What angle? Greeting someone new...