7 – Going Home ….

Going home.  Where is that?  What does it mean?  Is it where your bricks and mortar are?  Where your parents are?  Where your children are?  Or, over the next few weeks, is it the place that makes your heart swell when an Olympic gold is won?

I met an Englishman at the Colmenar Social Club.  “I haven’t been home for over 20 years” he announced.  Continue reading

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5 – Driving with Selina

I’ve been travelling with a new friend, Selina, this last week.  Actually I think she’s lots of people’s friend, because Selina is the default voice on my TomTom satnav.

I didn’t think I’d like her but in fact we’re getting on fine.  I had practiced with her in the UK a bit, just to make sure she knew what she was doing, and slowly my trust in her has grown.  She tells me what lane to be in to make sure I get the junctions right, and she gives advance warnings at exactly the right time.

Trouble is she’s awfully British.  Terribly BBC, don’t you know.  Which is fine, until she starts trying to pronounce Spanish place-names.  Continue reading

4 – Small Change

I lengthened my morning walk today.  Slightly further round the outskirts of the hill.  More views.  Came across an enormous, gentle tethered horse calmly ignoring the yappy little dog jumping around its legs.  Just below the escarpment were various signs of work-in-progress – a new corrugated iron roof on a donkey shed, a new fence around a chicken coop, half a pallet of bricks for something, general improvements going on.  Some chickens were scrabbling around for food – not scrawny things but huge plump ones, mostly shiny black, a few white, one golden.  Behind them, emerging blinking into the early sun from its whitewashed stone hut, was what appeared to be a llama.  With silly jokes running round my head (“¿Como se llama, llama?”) I looked for a way to get closer.  From the track on the other side, its body looked more like a sheep but with a ludicrously long neck. Continue reading

3 – The Miracle of Nature

It’s early.  Sitting in bed watching the sunrise roll across the hills, lighting each field and fold in turn.  A million-dollar view ….. no, beyond price.  Coffee on the patio, out of the sun but warm and bright.  The morning walk around the edge of the village.  Stunning views across the miles of trees, herbs and plants that provide food for the bees to flavour the extraordinary range of honeys produced locally.  Colmena – beehive – how the town was named.  Colmenar – the beehive of the Axarquía region, benefitting from the miracle of worker bees.

Back through a little alley to my second-favourite panadería for freshly-baked bread.  Continue reading

2 – Waiting …..

Waiting.   The man from the gas company is due any time from 10am.  He has to check my gas fittings, fit new tubes (they must be replaced every five years, and are stamped with their expiry date – the ones in my house have expired without ever being used, while the house stood empty), give me a contract, and supply me with two bombonas, big gas bottles, one for the cooker and one for the water heater.

Waiting.  Things to do.  Continue reading

1 – Context is Everything.

Context is everything.   To be irritated by something, or to not be irritated by it, comes down to the context.  A driver cuts you up and jumps an orange light – irritating.  A driver cuts you up, jumps an orange light, turns quickly into the hospital car park and dashes into A&E with her sick baby – not so irritating.

Kids shouting in the street after bedtime – irritating.  Church bells at night – irritating. Dogs barking outside – irritating.  As I lay in bed in my first night in my own little corner of Andalucían paradise, I listened to the children (and adults) shouting, the bells pealing and the dogs barking. Continue reading