THERE are many things a man needs to sustain him in life and one is rhubarb. There may well be items of greater importance, such as bread and butter, faith, humility and hot tea, but rhubarb is among the essentials. Anyone who has worked an allotment, or owned a back garden where dolly tubs rust quietly under elder trees and gutters sag from shed roofs, knows the one element that links them all is the rhubarb bed. A vegetable patch without rhubarb is like a hot-pot without potatoes. So this is my quest to grow rhubarb in Spain . . . Continue reading Ruibarbo, ruibarbo
I 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 . . .
THERE is a plan. Moving to Andalucia wasn’t just a random decision. We have a goal other than seeking sunshine and high rocky mountains. That goal is to become self-sufficient – grow our own fruit and vegetables; make our own wine; keep hens; attempt to reduce our carbon footprint . . . Continue reading Hanging gardens
THE almond pickers rise before the sun. From white-walled houses tucked beneath trees they head into their groves before the milky luminescence of dawn gives form to the Alpujarra hills. They are busy people in a tranquil landscape. In the velvet shadows, the almond pickers are part of the landscape . . . Continue reading The almond pickers
IT’S not every day that twice Tour de France winner Chris Froome races past your house. But today is one of those days . . . Continue reading A View with a Froome
IT’S early evening and we call at the Andalucian spa town of Lanjaron because we’ve heard a fiesta is taking place tonight. We discover a mediaeval fair with stalls selling trinkets, soap, candles, wickerwork, implements of torture and barbecued meat, plus music and dancing. It’s all very interesting but curiously familiar . . . Continue reading Knights in bright satin
MY early-morning runs continue to deliver intriguing insights into this strange and perplexing country. Today, as I emerge from a shadowy track onto the main road, I see a motorcyclist park his bike and begin to pick prickly pears from a large and ferocious roadside cactus. He keeps his gloves on, which is a good idea, while he fills his back-box with the golden fruit. The motorcyclist ignores me as I pad past. Picking prickly pears requires concentration . . . Continue reading Once prickled, twice shy