Category Archives: Roads

Concrete facts

THERE’S a law in Spain relating to fresh concrete. People are obliged to tread through it to leave their mark. This also applies to cyclists and motorists; tyres must make an impression, several centimetres deep. Dogs and goats are not excluded. Owners must ensure that claws, paws and hooves are inserted. Unaccompanied animals have a special responsibility to use their initiative. Nothing is exempt . . . Continue reading Concrete facts


The big country . . .

beni-1IT’S dark in Andalucia at 5am when we set out from our home in Orgiva. The sky is just turning light nearly three hours later – as our van purrs eastwards along an endless chain of motorways . . . Continue reading The big country . . .

Time and limericks

brenan 2I’M reading Gerald Brenan’s South from Granada: Seven Years in an Andalucian Village, an evocative account of the author’s life in southern Spain during the 1920s. Brenan came to Andalucia in 1919 after spending the First World War in less hospitable circumstances on the Western Front. After walking from Granada to the coast, and traipsing through nearly every village in the Alpujarras, Brenan decided to rent a house in the mountain village of Yegen. And there he wrote the diaries from which he later compiled his book, giving us a unique and candid insight into life in rural Spain in the pre-republican, pre-Franco era . . . Continue reading Time and limericks

Paws a moment


THIS morning, on my early run before the sun comes up, I come across large, fresh paw prints in the dust of a mountain track. It’s the second time I’ve seen them, dismissing them as the prints of a roaming farm dog on the first occasion. This time I take a keener interest. There are claws among the paws – big claws that leave neat indentations . . . Continue reading Paws a moment

The sorrowful fox


SAW a fox this morning. I was out walking before the sun rose above the hills and this wiry, chestnut-backed creature drifted across the track in front of me – bushy tail ramrod straight and perfectly horizontal. Gave me a quick glance with big round eyes before trotting into the scrub . . . Continue reading The sorrowful fox

Water from the well


SPEAKING of rituals . . . the practice of fetching water from the well is ingrained in our culture and subconscious. There was a time when we referred to gossip as “parish pump” talk or “village pump” talk, implying it was gathered by people – usually women, apparently – going about their daily chores in the days before water was piped into our homes. The modern equivalent is “talk around the water-cooler”, which continues the tradition almost seamlessly. In the interests of balance, I will add that the latter practice is embraced mostly by men . . . Continue reading Water from the well