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 . . .

Poppies from the past

shed 1I HAVE resumed my flirtations with not-so-fine art – an interest I suspended temporarily in 1973 when faced with a future in shipbuilding rather than a preferred path to art college and enlightenment. Enforced retirement has provided opportunities to grab the frayed strands of former pastimes, and to tug them gently to see where they lead – if anywhere. Though I daresay my place at Preston art college has long been filled by someone else with a bad haircut . . . Continue reading Poppies from the past

The economic migrant

shed 12I AM an economic migrant. I don’t fit the usual profile because I am white and speak impeccable English. Like the Duke of Edinburgh, who arrived in Britain as an asylum seeker in 1922 when his Greek father and Danish mother fled war in Greece, my status has been skewed by that prism we call Englishness . . . Continue reading The economic migrant

In high places . . .

capileira 1THE air is cool and scented with spring. Last week’s snow lies in folds on the high peaks. Cowbells clunk in the valley bottom and hay meadows ripple. This could be a quiet corner in the Alps, this steep-cut vale with its clinging villages. But this is the Poqueira gorge in the Sierra Nevada, many leagues to the south and within sight of Africa . . . Continue reading In high places . . .

A stove odyssey . . .

stove 1I SPOT a wood-burning stove in a junk shop in Lanjaron and decide to buy it because it’s essential that people retain basic skills and remain in control of their lives. You’ll remember this advice in ten year’s time when your Google driverless car breaks down and you haven’t a clue where you are because you binned the road atlas when you purchased a satnav . . . Continue reading A stove odyssey . . .