May 6, 2007

Today is Mother’s Day in Spain, which is a relatively recent thing. In fact the first place in the country to have it was the village I live in, San Jose de Brena Baja. The custom was started by a local writer, Felix Duarte, who emigrated to South America very young (fifteen, I think) and sent a lot of letters back to his mother. When he finally came back to…


Fiesta de la Cruz

May 3, 2007

Today is Fiesta de la Cruz in Spain. La Palma was finally conquered on May 3rd, 1493, and the town of Santa Cruz de la Palma was officially founded the same day. Now I’m not sure it’s in good taste to celebrate treachery and slaughter, but of course people are celebrating because they’ve always celebrated. And the celebration itself is beautiful – they decorate the roadside crosses in Santa Cruz,…


Bees and Butterflies

May 2, 2007

A butterfly on amor-secalo (Bidens alba) Yesterday was a public holiday here, so I went to see my friends in Franceses Alone, since my husband and son didn’t want to come. It was drizzling when I left, but the sun was shining by the time I got there. We had the usual wide-ranging conversation about how their house was getting on, how my writing was getting on, and whether your…


A storm in a tea cup.

Theresa phoned me at lunchtime, all upset because Helen was upset. It turned out that Helen had been working on the steps outside the house when one of the neighbours came along. Now the neighbour is deaf and Helen’s Spanish is still limited, so obviously there was a good chance of a misunderstanding. But the neighbour appeared to be saying that the girls had to allow tractors to get past…

April 30, 2007

Alan Johnston

April 23, 2007

I’m a writer. I support free speech. Whoever is holding Alan Johnston should release him immediately.Only liars need to hide the truth.


Trying new things.

I’ve had two new experiences today. This morning I washed a dog for the first time in my life. My friend has “acquired” her mother-in-law’s dog when Mother-in-law came to live with them. The old lady had been too infirm to wash the poor dog for months, and it was so dirty my friend couldn’t bear to touch it – so it just got dirtier. Someone had to break the…

April 21, 2007