151 – Spanish Portraits

“We’re just the same, you and me” said A.  I take it as a compliment, happily glossing over her thirty additional years on the planet.  She has the most piercing look, she’d have been a great interrogator.  Instead she is a campesina, a countrywoman.  Timeless.  Sturdy.  Hard hands.  Sitting on a stool she scoops handfuls of almonds into her apron, and shells them on a tree-trunk in front of her with a small hammer.  Continue reading

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

125 – What Can 5€ Buy?

The thing was, she didn’t ask for money.  She asked for food.  Well, technically, she asked for leftovers, scraps.  What we had pushed aside.   She politely waited in the shadows, almost out of sight, until we seemed to have finished.  She stepped forward, apologised for interrupting our meal, and asked if we would allow her to eat the off-cuts and remnants on our plates.  She hadn’t eaten for three days. Continue reading

123 – Passport to Paradise

123-goldbeachThe DVD was in a pretty case.  La Oficina de Turismo had spent a fair bit.  The little film sang the praises of this beautiful part of Spain – interesting architecture, good restaurants, a casino, pleasant hotels, an ancient fortress, sandy Mediterranean beaches, idyllic scenes.  A great place for my birthday weekend. Continue reading