Archive for 2010|Yearly archive page


In Practice, Production on December 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

A puzzle.

K and her mother busy themselves with it by the Christmas tree. A thousand pieces; not the largest you have heard of I’m sure but when the image is Gustav Klimt‘s “Mrs Adele Bloch-Bauer” the challenge is considerable.

It can be difficult fitting all the pieces of a picture together when it is so complex. We are not long in and are warming ourselves after an expedition to a nearby hill for some sledding. Standing at the top at dusk and watching three or four families race down the slope and drag their sleds back up – windows twinkling in the distance as lights and fires are lit – I am reminded of the simpler jigsaws I would receive at Christmas when I was a child. More

The Rock

In Presentation, Production on December 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I’m on top of the rock, just beneath the crest. Here the steep slopes that face West and overlook the town below give way to the sheer cliffs that characterise the Eastern face. I am at altitude and it is dark – black dark. I am perched on one of the narrow laneways that have somehow been eked out up here and I am bent over, bracing myself against the torrential rain and high winds that feel strong enough to blow me off my feet and to my death below.

I am not of a nervous disposition but this feels dangerous – the sodden and lofty views of the lights of La Linea and Algeciras across the bay a constant reminder of dizzying altitude and my precipitous position in this maelstrom. More


In Practice, Production on December 13, 2010 at 10:43 am


Blood. Spain. Me.

Where’s this going?

I don’t know.

Hot blooded. That’s what they say of the Spanish. Or Mexicans come to think of it. Or Italians. Basically anyone south of Brighton. It’s an awful cliché of course. A stereotype; it conjures images of fraught love trysts, fighting in the streets, bull rings, criminality and…well, blood.

This week I have had to jump through another couple of (relatively painless) bureaucratic hoops because I need to go to a doctor in the extracción department and give a sample of mine. If I’m to continue on my current medication then my blood is going to have to behave itself. More


In Practice, Production on December 3, 2010 at 10:59 am

I had wondered why such generous concrete boundaries had been afforded the little more-or-less-dry river bed that winds along in front of the English school.

Now I know.

I’m standing beneath the nearby bridge in my socks and underwear. It’s raining, hard and heavy; water gushes all around me – the whole world it seems is a waterfall today. I’ve found a sheltered and slightly raised patch of pathway and make damp footprints on it with my socks. The artificial riverbank is being tested and has burst in some places.

Before anyone calls social services, I had to duck in under here to get out of my sodden jeans and to put on a dry pair of trousers. Why? More


In Plenary, Practice on November 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm



You know that feeling you get when you’re sure you’ve left the iron on? Or you think you might have? Or the gas. Or in K’s case, the straightener (an iron for hair). You know you’ve left the house a thousand times before and you know that to date it has always been there when you get back – a house, not the charred remains of one – but you just can’t shake the feeling that a disaster is unfolding even as you consider whether it is or not. Unfolding, that is.

And then you get the negotiation with self; well, even if it’s on it was propped up on the safety thingamy at the end of the ironing board so it won’t burn through anything. Or the straightener is on the bidet (did I mention we now have a bidet?) which neither of us has had the courage to use as yet so it’s bone dry and, as far as electrical fire risks go, approximately a zero. More

Estamos Guay.

In Practice, Production on November 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

“I think we’re cool”, says K.

We’re on the way back to Tarifa, having spent a few days in our favourite; Granada. We have been winding our way through the mountainous Malaga hinterland for nearly an hour and now we are nearing the city itself, crossing the snake-like Guadalmedina numerous times as we navigate its sheer, precipitous valley. A few spots of rain hit the windscreen now and then but the weather is mostly blue sky.

We’re always sad to leave Granada. Always. There are few things, I have learnt, on which K and I agree absolutely and unequivocally (most of our decisions are reached through complex negotiation or protracted periods of mind game and emotional manipulation). This epic city is one of them. More


In Plenary on November 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm

There are vampires in Spain. But then you knew that, didn’t you?

Because they’re everywhere; as much a part of our world as we are. Children should be taught to look out for them. Not vampire children, obviously – the other ones.

Don’t believe everything you read in the literature. They’d hardly be very difficult to spot, would they, flying around on batwings, fangs dripping with the blood of their latest victim? If it was that easy I imagine we’d have dealt with the problem a long time ago. Tales of seductive counts, entranced maidens, crosses and stakes through the heart should be taken with a pinch of salt.

And let’s clear something up for once and for all More

Chicken Cake

In Plenary, Practice on November 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

A week of opposing elements.

We celebrate K’s first week at work in Gibraltar and we lose the lagomorph.

We are hurting so we go to Tangiers, thirty five minutes away on the Moroccan coast, to distract ourselves. We feel like curling up under a duvet, so we force ourselves out there to explore.

Tangiers has always seemed an exotic, far away location to me. Now it’s our nearest city bar Algeciras. Still exotic though. A former colonial outpost that has seen better days – it is just my cup of (mint) tea.

The narrow streets of Tarifa are precursed here More


In Plenary, Practice, Presentation on October 29, 2010 at 8:07 am

It began as it ends, with Africa.

K’s words as we walk away from the little grave. We have chosen a spot high in the hills overlooking Tarifa, the Gibraltar Straits and the African coast. There’s only the one road into Tarifa so this way we will pass her every day, and can say Hi. She won’t be alone.

A few years ago K got a notion to go to Africa and travel overland from Nairobi to Cape Town. It was important to her to get out there and do something for herself that took her outside her comfort zone and to see something of the non-European world. It may partially have been a response to my own travel experiences, which I had possibly mentioned once or twice. More

Box No.16

In Plenary on October 25, 2010 at 11:43 pm

  …doesn’t arrive on the two pallets that are left, after a bit of pushing and shoving, outside our front door on one of the narrow laneways of Tarifa‘s casco antiguo. We drive two hours to get it from the cargo terminal at Malaga airport. The terminal isn’t what we expect – it isn’t well signposted for a start and when we get there it looks like a warehouse. No “customer” area or seating. No indication of where to go.

We ask some questions and eventually find ourselves in front of a clerk with fluent English – an exact reproduction in fact of the blue collar home counties accent. He helpfully informs us that he has nothing matching our dispatch number. More