Monday is the first “normal” day of the lockdown. I go to the surgery for routine blood tests. Everyone is maintaining social distance. Doctors and nurses are wearing masks and gloves. The village is VERY quiet. I use the opportunity to go to a couple of food shops. In the first, they have put tape on the floor to keep people queuing at a good metre’s distance from each other, and that works well. It feels a bit like a board game, when the person at the till leaves the shop we can all move one square forward. In the bakery, a sign prohibits more than one customer at a time, and there is a tray to put the money on. Continue reading →
Church halls pretty much anywhere in the western world all look remarkably similar. This one was just like the one in Yorkshire I went to in the 1960s as a Brownie, and the one in south London in the 1990s when I hosted fundraising jumble sales, and then in Somerset in the 2010s when I ran charity training courses. This one, though, was in a small Axarquía town in inland Málaga province. 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 →
A bit of fun before the final exams. La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas ran an informal cookery competition amongst all the extranjeros learning Spanish, and we all had to bring a dish representative of our own countries. 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 →
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 →
Poco a poco, paso por paso …. Little by little, step by step. Each Christmas and New Year in a new country represents another step forward in learning about and understanding my new environment. The first Christmas day here, I went to a lovely English-run bar for turkey and all the English trimmings. The second, I stayed with an English friend in a Spanish hotel, and we had a traditional Spanish Christmas Eve dinner AND a traditional English Christmas Day lunch! Followed by a German-style enormous buffet meal that evening! This year, Christmas number three, was a strange mixture of Spanish, Argentinian and English traditions at home. Continue reading →