As I boarded I had a sneaky feeling it was a complete waste of time. No, that’s not fair. It’s always lovely to see friends in Dorset, and I was due a visit. Cabin bag laden with turrón (a cross between fudge and nougat, a Christmas essential in Spain) and packs of Spanish ham and cheese. Continue reading
There was a nurse on my flight home to Málaga. A Spanish nurse, working in a GP surgery in Dorset. British husband, dual-nationality totally bilingual daughter. We’d been chatting in the queue about the newish Ryanair rules requiring us to jam our handbags INSIDE our cabin bags, just for passing through the gate before boarding. ¡Qué pena! What a pain. She was flying to Spain for just a couple of days, to collect her daughter from the Spanish grandparents in Granada province to bring her back for the new school term. Continue reading
Forty degrees and higher. Really, that is too much. The rhythm of the day changes to suit the temperature. At the hottest time, after a lazy late lunch, it’s time for a siesta. Late at night, after midnight and into the small hours, it is finally cool enough outside to sit on a kitchen chair on the slope of our little street and share some comfortable time with the neighbours, catching up with the minutiae of life. Continue reading
“Seen through Mediterranean eyes, we English are a cautious, fussy, elderly-minded people, living without large ideas among a litter of temporary expedients: far too taken up with the problems our muddle creates for us to have much faculty left for practising the arts of life.” Thus wrote Gerald Brenan on his return to England after the tour of Spain about which he wrote in “The Face of Spain” (1950). Spain had captivated him, as it does so many of us, yet he at least in part fell into the trap of seeing the host country through rose-tinted spectacles, and seeing only the negatives of the home nation. Continue reading
It was warm on the plane so I peeled off my two thin jumpers, which I’d worn for the whole five days in Dorset, not having packed correctly for the British “summer”. Shoving them into my flight bag in the overhead locker I snagged it slightly on the safety pin. Continue reading
Got into the wrong side of the car once last week. Too used to getting into the left seat now.
Said “hola” to a stranger I passed on Shaftesbury’s narrow pavements. Fortunately it was misheard, and fortunately too, greeting strangers is still socially acceptable in Dorset villages. Continue reading
I’ve never been one for the nine-to-five. And fortunately, I guess I’ve never really had to do it. Journalism involved some quite strange hours, as did provincial and touring theatre. Campaigning for the rights of community care service-users and attending late-night Council meetings continued the irregularity, as did freelance training. But retirement? That should be a whole lot more straightforward. You’d think. Continue reading