168 – Space For Two Campos

168-brenan“Seen through Mediterranean eyes, we English are a cautious, fussy, elderly-minded people, living without large ideas among a litter of temporary expedients: far too taken up with the problems our muddle creates for us to have much faculty left for practising the arts of life.”  Thus wrote Gerald Brenan on his return to England after the tour of Spain about which he wrote in “The Face of Spain” (1950).  Spain had captivated him, as it does so many of us, yet he at least in part fell into the trap of seeing the host country through rose-tinted spectacles, and seeing only the negatives of the home nation. Continue reading


160 – Two Campos Divided

It was warm on the plane so I peeled off my two thin jumpers, which I’d worn for the whole five days in Dorset, not having packed correctly for the British “summer”.  Shoving them into my flight bag in the overhead locker I snagged it slightly on the safety pin.  Continue reading

138 – England, Oh England

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


134 – Elf and Safety

Although most of what I write about focusses on life and travels in Spain, this blog will ALWAYS keep the name “A Foot in Two Campos” because what I can never leave behind me, wherever I might live, is my innate British outlook and upbringing.  So when I see a narrow footpath with a massive drop, completely lacking any kind of fencing, every pore in my oh-so-British body screams “What would Health & Safety have to say about THAT !?!?!” and “THAT wouldn’t be allowed in the UK!!!” 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


107 – Forgiving the Fanfare

I could have hugged her forever.  I wanted to hold her until eternity, hold her safe, never to let anything bad happen, ever again. Continue reading


106 – Jubilee Monday

Sometimes it’s easy to remember where you were on a certain date, what you were doing.  Kennedy’s assassination, Diana’s death, the twin towers – those big, shared experiences.  And some of the big royal occasions.  For a non-Royalist, how odd that big moments in my life seem to have been marked by the Queen’s jubilees. Continue reading