“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
My fifth Christmas in Spain. I thought that must be wrong, but it’s not. Four and a half years since I bought my house, three and a half years since I retired and moved here full-time. Such a short time, yet it feels like forever. Continue reading
First of all it was remiss of me not to thank you all for the lovely thoughts and messages you sent following my heart attack. I really did appreciate every one of them – “the kindness of strangers” means a lot.
Since then I’ve been doing a lot of catching up. Trying to slow down, catching up with old friends, and catching up with long-delayed tasks. Continue reading
Some people are easy to like. Belén, for example. Kind, generous, pretty, gorgeous eyes, and she works more than 40 hours a week as a volunteer, cooking and serving meals for homeless people at Los Ángeles Malagueños de la Noche. One of life’s special people. So when it was her turn to need something, dozens of strangers who had never met her were willing to help. Continue reading
Seriously. There are no words.
When I walked (staggered) into the village health centre on Thursday morning I didn’t need any words. I stood swaying in the doorway and three waiting patients grabbed me and guided me to a seat, while two doctors and two nurses rushed to my side. For a smallish village we are lucky to have a 24-hour “Urgencias” onsite and our own ambulance, and it wasn’t long before I was strapped in and the siren sounded and we headed for Málaga. Continue reading
And finally the rain came. Not enough, but it rained. Across Andalucía farmers breathed a sigh of relief along with the bomberos (firefighters), the dryish leaves on my patio trees lifted their faces and cheered up a little, and everyone gratefully flung open all the doors and windows to allow the cool air into the houses. I pottered outside for half an hour, moving plants to the centre so they would catch more of the precious drops, enjoying standing in the cool, gentle drizzle. It’s refreshing. Continue reading
She’s not at all an unpleasant woman. Not as far as I’ve seen, and nor does anyone mention they’ve found her difficult. A bit grumpy at times, but then this is not the life she had imagined. Perhaps a bit judgemental, not really willing or able to see that nobody else wanted to be there either. Doesn’t participate in group activities, seems to sneer slightly at the art and craft workshops. But pleasant enough, a nice smile, easy to chat to. Continue reading