I got back to Madrid yesterday evening after spending a few days (including my 32nd birthday) with my boyfriend in Barcelona to find a lovely bunch of birthday flowers from my friends here in Madrid.. the photo above doesn't do them justice. It really is lovely to receive flowers, and for us mini apartment dwellers they're great as they don't clutter up the flat, they just give you a few days of joy then they're gone forever - in fact, I've found I can get them to last up to 3 weeks if I regularly change the water, trim the stalks and feed them a little sugar :-) I've also been told a little lemonade or bleach in the water does wonders, but that might be taking it too far. In any case, this time the flowers will not need to last too long, as we're off to Sicily next week for a much-needed break. Originally we looked at more far off and exotic locations, but that was before we were facing a summer with builders and budget constraints - so we're going to have 10 days in Sicily instead which I am so looking forward to. 3 days in Palermo, followed by a stay in an agriturismo in the countryside which looks quite idyllic and most importantly has a pool for cooling off. One of the things I'm most looking forward to in Sicily is the food, I'm a bit of a foodie and I can't wait to try some of the gastronomical goodies I've read about - couscous (arab influence), jazmin granita, sardine pasta... mmm. What else is going on? We'll I put my house on the market and took it off again, all in the space of 3 days. Really I had no intention of selling it, but as it has given me more than a few problems over the past 2 years I though I'd test the waters... I expected no-one to contact me in these times of recessions, but surprisingly over 30 people contacted me over 3 days, perhaps because it is so central? (anyway, the idea of selling the flat is shelved until more economically friendly times, simply because I'd have to sell it for considerably less than I bought it 2 years ago). As for the next few days, they'll be occupied with tying up loose ends before going away: doctors appointments, arranging apointments with plumbers for my kitchen overhaul in late August, seeing friends, sorting out hire cars in Sicily, finishing off my day job work and freelancing in order to finance all of the above.