Benidorm. Bring it on.

benidorm-1THE Carthaginians came and went. The Romans came, conquered and went. The Moors came, conquered and flourished. The Christians came, conquered, flourished, gave the world Franco, Morgan’s Tavern and the biggest holiday resort in Spain. Today, all those generations and waves of humanity later, this city of concrete, glass and pizza has more high-rise buildings per capita than anywhere else on the planet. This cauldron of cultures has history, sand, sunshine and karaoke bars. It’s a world within a world and a shock to the systems of the unprepared. It’s big, it’s brash and it’s brazenly brassy. It’s Blackpool with bocadillos and barbequed Brits, a beautiful blister set on a sun-baked beach. And it’s still known by its Moorish name – Benidorm . . . Continue reading Benidorm. Bring it on.

Art from a corner

art-1IT’S a big night in the Alpujarras. The Artists’ Network Alpujarra is holding its first exhibition in the village of Tablones, a couple of benighted kilometres from Orgiva. The event fills the Las Torcas building, next door to the ITV centre – the Spanish equivalent of the MoT. Enterprising types can have their car tested and visit the exhibition in one epic move. I settle for one out of two . . . Continue reading Art from a corner

Getting chilli . . . or chili

chilli-1DESPITE being one of life’s essentials, the world cannot agree on the correct spelling of chilli. I’m not talking about the south American country, as homophone experts will have realised; I’m talking about the fiery and indispensable ingredient of Vindaloo and Madras curry, Tabasco sauce, and the Mexican dish that ends with those delightful words con carne. The chilli is to a certain branch of world cuisine what the potato is to Lancashire hotpot and paprika to goulash. No chilli, no curry – so far as I’m concerned . . . Continue reading Getting chilli . . . or chili

Hamming it up . . .

trevelez-1TREVELEZ is not a good place to be a pig in the same sense Morecambe Bay is not a good place to be a shrimp or Aberdeen a good place to be a big meaty bull. Herring have a similar problem with Mallaig and the Isle of Man where, if they’re not careful, they can find themselves converted into kippers. Haddock face an identical fate in Arbroath and an afterlife as an Arbroath smokie; turkeys hesitate before visiting Norfolk; and only ducks that can stare death in the face and quack at adversity have any stomach for Aylsebury . . . Continue reading Hamming it up . . .

Market forces . . .

IMG_0008IT’S market day. Our local town of Orgiva is bustling. You can buy anything here on market day: fruit, vegetables, cakes, meat, bread, plants, shoes, frocks, trousers, pots, pans. And if your frock or your shoes don’t fit, take them back next week and get them changed. Try doing that at a market in England . . . Continue reading Market forces . . .

When Irish ties . . .

Antrim-born Joseph Beckett Steele and his wife, Hanna, at their house in Dalton-in-Furness
County Antrim-born Joseph Beckett Steele and his wife, Hannah, at their house in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria (or Lancashire, as it was back then)

APPLICATIONS submitted by Britons for Irish passports have soared by more than 70 per cent since the UK voted to leave the European Union. My wife is included in this number, courtesy of her grandfather, Joseph Beckett Steele, who migrated to England from County Antrim in the early years of the last century to work in the iron ore mines of the Furness Peninsula and fight for his country during the First World War. Strange how events unfold as years pass by . . . Continue reading When Irish ties . . .