167 – The Turn of Another Year

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

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156 – Just being There

 

Lorenzo picked a red plastic tricycle wheel off the cushion and lowered his not inconsiderable frame into the armchair nearest the fire.  He’s a man of few words;  he settled himself down, and gazed around.  His wife, their seven children, half a dozen of the children’s partners, eleven grandchildren, and a couple of young boyfriends of the teenage granddaughters, plus a random cousin or three, were variously clambering on the backs of the sofas, curling their hair in the bathroom, stirring huge pots on the stove, wiping down plastic chairs, and counting out 32 sets of cutlery. Continue reading

155 – Christmas in Bethlehem

Christmas in Palestine.  It’s something that calls to many people, whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, or even agnostic.  Birthplace of the alphabet, of Judaism, and of Christianity.  With a million years of human settlement, it was one of the earliest places in the world to see organised human habitation and agricultural development.  Continue reading

130 – A Village Christmas

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

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