38 – A Spang-ly Spang-lish Christmas

Traditions from home and abroad mingled this year, and new traditions began as old ones were put away.  The warm sun made this a very different Christmas from those of previous years, plus a new village, new neighbours, and the first Christmas in 54 years without Mum. Continue reading

37 – Gold, Frankincense and Wensleydale

So.  First Christmas in Spain.  It seems to me there are three ways of doing this – (1) try to import all English customs and do it as Englishly as possible;  (2) try to do it completely Spanishly and be a bit confused throughout;  or (3) try to do it as Spanishly as possible but with just a couple of familiar things in order to remember what day it is.  I went for number three. Continue reading

36 – So Many Bars ……

I’ve always been a “completer”.  When I start something I like to finish it.  So it didn’t take much psycho-analysis to work out that when presented with a card with a box for each of fourteen participating tapas bars to visit, I wasn’t going to leave a single box unstamped.  And we had just Sunday to do it. Continue reading

35 – A Foot in Two Campos at Christmas

35-townhalllightsChristmas plays well in Dorset market towns, especially Shaftesbury.  The stone parish church and the charming town hall sit comfortably at the centre of lights and celebrations during late-night shopping.  Santa, elves, the Shaftesbury Town Silver Band, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the community choir carolling in the crisp winter evening.  It’s Christmas in Dorset and all’s right with the world. Continue reading

34 – The Enchanted Place

“Christopher Robin was going away.”  Possibly the most tear-jerking words in the whole canon of children’s literature.   The opening line of “The House at Pooh Corner” – chapter ten “In Which Christopher Robin and Pooh Come to an Enchanted Place and We Leave Them There.”

It makes tough reading, even for grown-ups. Continue reading