174 – Growing Old in the Pueblo

Officially, I’m not old.  I’m too young to get a pension, and I’m not sixty yet.  My pueblo organises events and trips for the “oldies”, but technically I’m too young.  Technically.  But thanks to last year’s heart attack, I can sneak in.  Continue reading

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170 – Una Escapada

 

Juan-Jesús was probably about seven, though hard to tell.  He’d been staring at me in the bar earlier, where I’d been chatting to a charming old guy about the provenance of the local jamón.  The old fella had offered some useful tips about villages I should visit between Huelva and Extremadura.  Obviously the child had spotted my accent, and seemed captivated by it.  Continue reading

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

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

166 – Catching Up

 

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