Last week I travelled to Madrid to visit a friend I'd met whilst attending Sharon Kendrick's writing course at The Watermill two years ago. After leaving behind a snowy landscape I was a little surprised to see most people bundled up in scarves and gloves as we headed into the centre of Madrid for Tappas, but believe it or not, it was only marginally warmer there than back at home.
We treated ourselves to a night out at a Flamenco Tablao, where we had a fantastic meal and watched in awe as the dancers performed with passion and unbelievable energy.
We also visited the famous Prada Museum. Here we concentrated on paintings by several of Spain's artists, Bosch, Velazquez and Goya. Also we went to Museum Reina Sofia to see Picasso's Guernica. All of this opening up a whole new world to me.
I enjoyed strolling through Madrid's Retiro park, despite the cold and wished I'd been fast enough to get a photograph of the red squirrels as they scampered up and down the trees. The boating lake behind us looks very cold now, but must be fun in the summer.
In the middle of the week we took a train to Seville, where it was quite a bit warmer. There we saw the city from an open top bus and then visited the majestic Seville Cathedral. My favourite place was the orangery, where workers were trimming the trees, filling the warm sunny air with the beautiful scent of oranges.
It wasn't all play. As both of us are writers working hard towards publication, we settled down each day to some serious work and I was pleased to arrive back in a frosty Britain having written lots.