In Plenary, Presentation on January 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm
“I’m not a conservative person, am I?” I ask K.
We’re sitting in a wood panelled taberna in Madrid, towards the end of the evening. Full of tapas and perhaps a little tipsy, we haven’t ordered anything here, content to sit side by side with a glass of wine each and fill up on all the antique eye candy around us – the (inevitable) bulls’ heads, the little sign that announces the availability of snails, the dusty old bottles of sherry, the elegant, marble-topped tables.
What I thought then: not conservative. As a matter of fact I hold views which positively annoy conservatives. Actually, I consider annoying conservative types one of life’s great pleasures. More than that perhaps – a duty. It would be no surprise to run into conservatism here, given the decor, but actually the other customers look rather bohemian. We’ve been in Madrid for less than a week and we’ve seen the inside of a lot of bars.
Many, many bars.
Apart from the fact that I probably would have done that anyway, I’ve been researching for a story I want to do on the city and its tapas. K hasn’t voiced any objection to joining me, so here we are in Bar Umpteen. More
In Production on June 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm
I have to get right down to the ground to take a picture of the ladder because it’s only four inches tall. My elbows get a bit mucky on the floor and people are staring, but I want the shot.
“Wait a minute”, I hear you ask yourself. “That doesn’t sound like a terribly effective ladder.”
“Normally, people need to bend down to reach things at the four inch level and when it comes to bending down, ladders are generally considered unfit for purpose.”
“Such a ladder”, I hear you continue “would appear to have been built to address a problem that does not exist.”
But you’d be wrong.
It isn’t all about you, you know. It isn’t even, I’m told, all about me.
And it isn’t a toy ladder either. Nor is it a model; it’s a real ladder and it’s used on a daily basis.
Nightly, in fact.
We’re back in Jerez and we’re taking a tour of one of its numerous sherry bodegas. It’s June and the bodegas More
In Practice on May 29, 2012 at 10:02 am
We go to Jerez.
Up the N340, onto the the A396 at Vejer and onwards towards Medina Sidonia looking for the A389 to Arcos. Not finding the A389, we bicker and then we switch on the satnav bitch and let her guide us onto the A381 towards Jerez. It’s too soon to be there though and we have a day trip to Arcos planned so we slip onto the A4 and then eastwards on the A382. Jesus Christ, it’s like algebra. One moment we’re whizzing along on a grand adventure, the next we’ve missed our exit and it instantly becomes an exercise in failure and inadequacy. Anyway, we get to Arcos. Jesus.
We enjoy Arcos, a town draped over a couple of heights along a sandstone ridge and very well endowed with pueblo blanco charm and tourists, and after a couple of hours we find our way back to the car and head for Jerez. Arcos facts for the interested; it used to be Berber, it’s very big for a pueblo blanco, it does indeed boast many arches (arcos).
It is impossible for us to near Jerez feeling anything but carefree optimism. We love it. We came to Spain more excited about places like Seville and Granada, Cádiz and Córdoba but we have never had a bad time in Jerez. It is a sleepy, More
In Practice, Production on June 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm
On the road to Cádiz
The big burn.
Summer has recoloured the country. What had been verdant crop is now yellow and baled in rows at regular intervals. Dusty and baked. Cattle sit down in the heat. The only living crop an endless field of sunflowers.
We pass an expanse of solar panels that seem for all the world to have been built especially to resemble the local pine forests. Squat structures with wide canopies – sucking up the sun and casting shade beneath them. They sit on a rise as cracked and parched as a desert.
Brown, yellow, dusty greys – the colours dead things go before they disappear forever. The season scorches the year’s remains. Clears the way. As much death in Summer as there is in Winter; as much life there as there is now, here. It doesn’t seem such a brutal truth looking at wheat fields that I know will be green again and soon. More