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

121 – Walking Under The Moon

121-MoonTree“Un Sendero Nocturno”.   A night-time walk.  It had sounded beautiful.   A relaxed stroll in the moonlight, chatting with 30 friends and neighbours.  Starting from the next village, Casabermeja, and wandering gently up to Torre Zambra, an old Moorish lookout point and beacon, under the bright light of the October full moon, to be followed by a meal in a bar.  Lovely. Continue reading

120 – Reddest, Greenest, Tastiest …

I’d heard it a million times.  Gardeners, exaggerating how marvellous their fruit and veg were.  Fisherman’s tales of everything being greener, bigger, rounder, smoother, and above all, so much BETTER than everything we poor mortals were buying.  Yawn.  Until my awakening.  Until that Damascene moment.  Until I ate the first tomato from my own plant. Continue reading