A Serious Case of Escapism

In an attempt to take my life a little more seriously than I habitually do, I make coffee, then grab a pen and a whimsically-covered notebook. I plonk random pieces of fruit next to me for colour and inspiration, and read snippets of this fabulously escapist and informative book (another Oxfam bookshop gem). Funny and … More A Serious Case of Escapism

Tapeando in El Tubo

Zaragoza’s tapas quarter is small and perfectly formed in a web of old streets called “El Tubo“. The narrow lanes of Calle de los Estébanes and Calle de la Libertad comprise its core, with bar after bar offering gastronomic delights, and then more spin off into the neighbouring streets. Its a fine way to follow the Spanish … More Tapeando in El Tubo

Bodegas Almau

In the heart of El Tubo de Zaragoza is a small place with a big reputation. Its name is Bodegas Almau. Old and atmospheric (it’s been here since 1870), bottles and barrels adorn its yellow walls. Groups of friends crowd the floor, and the few tables are crammed.  Squeeze in at the bar to order … More Bodegas Almau

Solo in Zaragoza

My husband sent me to Zaragoza. He insisted – said he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I wondered what I had done wrong, or had I done something right? “A break”, he offered with gentle conviction. “You can think, you can write – just get away. Take two nights.” “But …” I had a … More Solo in Zaragoza

Pa amb tomàquet tonight

This evening my eldest son surprised me by making his version of pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato rubbed onto it, an olive oil drizzle, then seasoned) on the eve of the highly-charged and contentious Catalunyan referendum. He was hungry. We enjoyed this in Cambrils in the summer, but first tasted it Andalucían-style (tostada con tomate y … More Pa amb tomàquet tonight

Lovely Luffa

Last year my naive experiment of growing a luffa plant (in the relative cool of Kent) from a seed shaped in the sunshine of sub-Saharan Africa, came to a leaf-withered, sorry-looking nothing (despite having survived a nasty accident with a bike). I was sad. After receiving a lesson in luffas from Bettie in Malawi, I had planted … More Lovely Luffa

No Pizza in Tivissa

A perilously narrow road wraps its way tightly round steep mountain curves. Our car breathes with relief at every turn taken, then we brace ourselves for the next one. Higher and deeper inland we go, into the countryside behind Catalunya’s Costa Daurada. It’s a beautiful drive on this hot summer’s day. But it’s (Spanish) lunchtime … More No Pizza in Tivissa

Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine

Wine Tourism Spain’s brief: to explore the possible relationship between wine and extraterrestrial life. How would aliens react to wine? Would wine play a role in the way that aliens perceive Earth?  It’s tricky, a little off-piste for me (with a 500 word limit), but here you go … Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine Two aliens observe the Salamanca scene – … More Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine

Music in Málaga

This was not my small child, but every passerby was charmed by her (and the music). She refused to leave the busker, who played beautifully and almost tenderly for his new biggest fan. Soon they both had an audience. Her parents beckoned her onwards in vain – so eventually her father returned to grab her hand, tugging it … More Music in Málaga