Is fearr cairde ná ór (Friends are better than gold)

My basil plant has outlived my romance. Threatened by the intense summer heat, Carlo resolves to return to his more temperate Italian climate. The first of many goodbyes; hasta luego, mi amigo.

However, the real love story of my Sevillian adventure has been my chicas.


I will caveat this post with a confession that I have recently read and was moved by Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I know About Love’; a celebration of female friendship. And should she deign to establish a cult, I would be first in line with undying loyalty and bank details in paw.

sv14I first meet Tina after posting in a Facebook group about setting up a book exchange. Tina sends me a message; ‘Hey,’ she says, ‘I guess you could say I’m a vegan, feminist, nature-lover’. And I like her straight away.

Ana adopts a more cautious approach; ‘I’m also a vegan,’ she writes, ‘but maybe not everyone wants to talk about veganism’. Although, should you wish to discuss veganism with Ana, she can do so confidently in five languages…SV12

The forth member of our group, Carmen’s presence is felt only in her silence. Perhaps not enamoured by our introductions and political persuasions, Carmen leaves the group (not before voyeuristically procuring two weeks of juicy gossip) and so, ‘GorgGirls’ Whatsapp group is founded.

These chicas are wholesome, endlessly interesting, remarkably intelligent, exceptionally caring and wonderful fun.

My mom’s gravestone is engraved with the Seamus Heaney line ‘In your presence/Time rode easy, anchored/On a smile’. It’s perhaps the most beautiful description that anyone can be gifted and couldn’t capture my mom any more accurately. And I don’t take it lightly, when I say that with my chicas here, time really does ride easy, anchored always on a smile.

Lentil burgers in the park taste all that bit better with Ana and Tina in tow.

And we all have our down days, where, for whatever reason, life doesn’t ride so easy. On these occasions, the GorgGirls are always there to lend their support; be that food, a hug, translation service, a listening ear, pooh cleaning assistance…


And here we encounter my other enduring friendship, Bochum.


It’s late Saturday morning, after an evening of gin and techno, and outside my door is a fresh pile of bloody pooh with a half chewed pen encased in the centre.


‘Dad!’ I cry down the phone (independent woman doing it for herself as always), ‘the dog has left diarrhoea on the floor. My housemate is out. What do I do!?!’

My concerned father directs me through the process. But as I walk closer to the mess, I begin to wretch. As I start to vomit, my Dad tells me to put down the phone.

I sit on my bed shaking.

‘Ana,’ I send into GorgGirls, ‘How do you feel about dog pooh?’.

‘I’m on my way,’ she replies instantly, buíochas mór le Dia.

Angel Ana arrives, she rubs mint balm under her nose and fills her nostrils with tissue. She removes her kimono and gets to work without complaint.

The pooh is gone, Bochum is happily wagging his tail, ignorant to the drama caused, and off we go for vegan lunch with Tina.

Happily fed and calmer, I settle the bill for all three. Primarily as a thanks to Ana but also strategically paying it ahead with Tina. This won’t be my last call for assistance…



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