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

127 – After the Exam

Mostly, the whole experience of doing exams is almost forty years behind me.  And the Spanish GCSE, taken in 2011 at Poole Adult Education Centre, was a walk in the park.  But this DELE Spanish exam is no joke.  It’s the internationally accepted standard, so they have to be rigorous.  I wrote last week about the oral exam in “Testing Times”.  Two days later we all returned to Málaca Institute for the main ordeal, three more exams – reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and writing. Continue reading

87 – Just a Note

No blog this week as I am sunning it in Nerja over Christmas with my good friend Nikki.

I have been touched and amazed to see the readership grow throughout 2013, both here on the blog’s home site at WordPress, on the Eye on Spain blog site, and through the new Writers in Spain website. I am immensely grateful to everyone who has read any of the blog since it began in July 2012. I’m especially grateful to those who have taken the trouble to comment – your encouragement and suggestions mean a lot. Continue reading

86 – Two Faces of December

Oh yes!  It’s that time of year again.  And Spain does Christmas so well.  The lights are up, and in every corner a little nativity scene is built.

Oh no!  It’s that time of year again.  And Spain does fiestas so well.  The chorizo is sliced and the mosto decanted, and Colmenar prepares for its Fiesta de Mosto y Chacina – officially a Ruta de Tapas, unofficially the bar-crawl round every bar in the village. Continue reading

38 – A Spang-ly Spang-lish Christmas

Traditions from home and abroad mingled this year, and new traditions began as old ones were put away.  The warm sun made this a very different Christmas from those of previous years, plus a new village, new neighbours, and the first Christmas in 54 years without Mum. Continue reading

35 – A Foot in Two Campos at Christmas

35-townhalllightsChristmas plays well in Dorset market towns, especially Shaftesbury.  The stone parish church and the charming town hall sit comfortably at the centre of lights and celebrations during late-night shopping.  Santa, elves, the Shaftesbury Town Silver Band, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the community choir carolling in the crisp winter evening.  It’s Christmas in Dorset and all’s right with the world. Continue reading