140 – Back in the Arms of a Health Service

At the top of the stairs Marcelo took my arm solicitously.  “Should you take the lift instead?” he asked.  “We don’t want you to have an accident on the stairs, what with you having no health cover ….”.  I shot a glance in his direction and he failed to hide his mischievous grin.  But despite the joke, there was a worrying grain of truth in what he said. Continue reading

137 – A Strange Week

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

135 – One Man and His Boat

I didn’t really fancy a museum.  It was a nice Saturday morning in Pedregalejo, I’d had a couple of coffees with Jose and then moved on to the intercambio meetup in the bar next door.  Nice to catch up with old friends there and meet new ones, helping everyone practise Spanish and English.  Then someone suggested a museum.  Not the best idea, I thought, but I  wandered along with the group to the western end of Pedregalejo until we found ourselves outside a boatyard.  And then it all suddenly, and surprisingly, got really interesting. Continue reading

134 – Elf and Safety

Although most of what I write about focusses on life and travels in Spain, this blog will ALWAYS keep the name “A Foot in Two Campos” because what I can never leave behind me, wherever I might live, is my innate British outlook and upbringing.  So when I see a narrow footpath with a massive drop, completely lacking any kind of fencing, every pore in my oh-so-British body screams “What would Health & Safety have to say about THAT !?!?!” and “THAT wouldn’t be allowed in the UK!!!” Continue reading

133 – Seas of White

I hadn’t counted on Almería being quite so different.  It has some lovely parts, but  ¡joder!  it’s bleak!   In every direction, the sun glistened on nothing but seas of white.  White plastic poly-tunnels, stretching further than could be imagined.  A hundred miles, just poly-tunnels.  Continue reading

132 – Immersion, not Drowning

132-eatingYou know you’ve got a good bunch of people, when the kitty (bote) keeps growing.  Nobody wanted to under-pay, everyone was chucking a bit extra in “just in case”.  The kitty grew.  We began by stopping for ice-creams late at night on the way back to the hotel to use it up but it wasn’t enough, and in the end the final meal was paid almost entirely out of the remnants of the kitty. Continue reading

128 – That Time of Year

128-lights1There’s never enough time in December.  It’s as though the whole month is given over to preparing  for Christmas, cooking for Christmas, shopping for Christmas, pre-Christmas gatherings, visiting Christmas lights, visiting Christmas nativity scenes, and generally focussing around Christmas. Continue reading

126 – Testing Times

126-malacaIt was hard to remember exactly why I was doing this.  Arriving in the patio, the place seemed full of Italian teenagers.  The only two adults in view were their teachers.  It seemed as though I would be the only “mature student” taking the DELE Spanish exam.  One by one they emerged in varying states of nervous excitement and reported back on what the topic had been for their 15-minute oral exam.

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122 – Of Acorns, Olives, and Old-Andaluz

122-1pigs1The pigs definitely won.  Out of everything in this amazing multi-cultural language immersion week, the pigs definitely won.  And the horses, the dogs, and the miles of rolling countryside and beautiful holm-oaks.  Or maybe the food?   Or perhaps achieving the challenge of a week without a single word in our own languages?   Or possibly …. no, never mind.   It was the pigs. Continue reading