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I’ve been suffering a real bout of “writer’s block” these past few days after my last post about the second lockdown, and while I accept, I got a little carried away moaning about the powers that be, I meant what I said about the current situation being all work and no play. Normally there are things to look forward, such as meeting up with friends for a few drinks, a day out spent wandering around an interesting town, a walk to an unspoilt country pub or a short break away, at home or abroad. These are all off the menu, at the moment, although the second option is still possible but even then, I don’t know what restrictions have been placed on travel within one’s own country.
With pubs, restaurants and even cafés closed, opportunities for food and drink are minimal, placing further restrictions on what should be an enjoyable day out. It’s as if HMG and their tame “scientific advisors” have sucked the fun and all the joy out of life! Small wonder that I’ve taken solace in work.
It seems as if I’m not the only one suffering a bout of “lockdown blues” as I’ve noticed a drop off in the output from several other bloggers. There are always exceptions of course, and prolific blogger, Retired Martincontinues to entertain us with his tales of pubs up and down the country, interspersed with observations about pub life and the many towns he visits, but few of us possess the same stamina as him.

I was heartened to see a post appear yesterday from Catalan writer and beer enthusiast, Joan Villar-i-Martí. I first met Joan, who writes his Birraire-Beer Blog under the name of Joan Birraire, at the 2014 Beer Blogger & Writer’s Conference in Dublin. We met up briefly in Brussels the following year, for the same event, when Joan invited me to attend the 2016 Barcelona Beer Festival.
Joan is one of the festival's principal organisers, and I have to say the Barcelona event was one of the best and most laid-back beer festivals I have attended, and as well as enjoying the festival, I had plenty of time to explore the Catalan capital itself. The weather was kind, even in mid-March, and although many of the locals were wrapped up in jackets and scarfs, for a visitor from England, the climate was positively balmy. The undoubted highlight of my sightseeing in Barcelona, was a pre-booked visit to the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished masterpiece of renowned Catalan Modernist architect, Antoni Gaudi. Although not a religious person, I couldn’t help feeling both awed and inspired by this magnificent, but still unfinished basilica. Building work is continuing apace, with the aim of completing the structure in 2026; the centenary of Gaudi’s death.
As 2026 will mark 10 years since my visit to the church, I made a vow that I would return that year, to see the completed Sagrada Familiafor myself. I will take Mrs PBT’s with me, even though she is not a huge fan of architecture, as her only view of Gaudi’s church was from the upper deck of an open top, sight-seeing bus, some 15 months previously. Returning to Joan’s blog for a moment, like many of us he was feeling the effects of a sustained lockdown, that was considerably harsher in Spain, than here in the UK. The good news is that Joan is feeling inspired once more and will be throwing himself into a number of literary projects he has been holding back on for years.
So, taking my cue from my Catalan friend, I too am going to crack on with various writing projects of my own. I’ll be kicking off, back on the blog with an article I wrote last year, but never posted. I’ve also come across a couple of interesting beer related stories that I’d like to share with you. Thanks Joan, but first I need to catch up on my beauty sleep. Until tomorrow………………………
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