Gaudi’s Failure? (still amazing)

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On the Northern edge of the city of Barcelona stands one of Gaudi’s least successful projects Parc Güell. We decided that this would make a nice quiet afternoon visit – not quite true as it was remarkably busy and very warm for the 20 minute walk uphill from the metro!

Park Güell is where Gaudí turned his hand to landscape gardening. It’s a strange place where his passion for natural forms really took flight – some of the structures in the landscape are very large, but strangely appear natural. Its other great offering is the view out across the city towards the sea, it is frankly wonderful – well worth the climb!



Park Güell originated in 1900, when Count Eusebi Güell bought a tree-covered hillside (then well outside Barcelona) and hired Gaudí to create a miniature city of houses for the wealthy in landscaped grounds. The project was however a commercial flop (it was too far outside the city) and was abandoned in 1914 – but not before Gaudí had created 3km of roads and walks, steps, a plaza and two gatehouses (which look like something from Hansel and Gretal). He also built a house for his own occupation which he lived in until his death in 1926 – which is now a museum in his memory.

The park is now public – and free – which is perhaps why it is so popular. It is worth a visit however if only to see the gate houses with their multi coloured tile roofs and the structure just to the rear of the main entrance (built as a market area (but never used).

I am not sure it’s failure as a commercial venture can be laid at Gaudi’s feet! The design is remarkable, it was down to location – as important then as it is today in property decisions!

Surviving GCSE’s

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Finally! The Dare household is free of the curse of the GCSE’s, Star has finished today, and now all we have to worry about is the Prom (and results later in the summer of course)!

I had forgotten the joy of exams, the last ‘proper’ exams I did were my degree finals over 25 years ago. I recall them taking over my life for about 4 months and feeling as if I had nothing to do once I finished them (luckily swiftly sorted by getting a job). More recently I had a day of exams to qualify as an Energy Assessor, not a pleasant reminder either!

The GCSE experience has however been all-encompassing, revision has been a very ‘hands on’ experience for us all. My wife has provided the major support mechanism (thank you!) and this she has found very time-consuming. However, she does think she could get some good GCSE’s herself now though!

I am now looking forward to a quiet ‘normal’ home existence. Yes there will without doubt be the occasional teenage outburst, and arguments. But, in real terms normality will have returned and we can function again as a family unit.

The Prom dress is currently being completed – luckily my wife is a very capable dress-maker! It would appear that we now have a satisfactory product,  the shoes I gather are being purchased this week, hopefully at a discount price – probably highly unlikely!

Star has worked incredibly hard for her exams, hopefully the pain  will have been worth it for her. We can only hope that she gets the results she hopes for and deserves.

Results day is now only 9 weeks away, this will add the next element of excitement to family life. Plus its only two years to go to the A levels and then the year after Sam starts his GCSE year ………

definitely beginning to feel old (but very proud)!