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Duende

In the velvet early hours when sleep is elusive and the moon is dark, I wander up to the Mirador San Nicolas. The alleys are silent, lit by soft yellow lanterns glowing above plants gently breathing out the heat of the day into the clear mountain air.  A pomegranate tree droops over a whitewashed wall and a bird sings softly from the unripened fruit, the spindly branch quivering beneath its weight. The flamenco spectactular has finished in the Generalife, the gardens of ...

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Ballad of Three Rivers

In the cool crystal air of a Granada dawn, I sit on my terrace and write. Traces of summer snow glimmer on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada.   The sky above is pale gold deepening into high blue, the first rays already lighting the oak trees on Sabika Hill emerald green. A breath of mountain breeze curls about my legs, a last sweet lick of mountain cool before the fiercely joyous heat of an Andalucian summer day descends over the valley. Birds swoop ...

posted in Words to Dream by
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How to be a Free Spirit

Decide what you want to do Get up and do it!

posted in cooking
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Chicken and Almond tagine

During the time I was in the Moroccan Sahara, dinner every night was a variation on the same theme.  It was ‘Al Gamila’, quite literally ‘The Pot’.  Even though Al Gamila utilises the same ingredients as a tagine, for me they are fundamentally different.  Tagines are fancier, and laid out with symmetrical precision and fine flavours.  Al Gamila is what families eat every night, what you smell mid afternoon walking down back alleys in a thousand tiny villages. Al Gamila traditionally ...

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Alhambra Days

Welcome to the new site! Blogging is something I’d more or less stopped doing. But lately I’ve been looking around my adopted home with new eyes  - something to do with Spring, maybe – and realizing just how extraordinarily beautiful it is. When I first returned here from Australia just over a month ago, it snowed.  Really came down.  Big fat white flakes that settled on the orange tree over my balcony, and decorated the ochre walls of the Alhambra in a ...

posted in Musings
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Fifty Shades of Utter Rubbish

I downloaded a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey on Sunday night, after finding no less than eleven references to it in the pages of this week’s Sunday Times.  I figured that if AA Gill and Jeremy Clarkson were citing the book in their columns, there must be something beyond the hype.   There wasn’t.   I’ve read plenty of drivel in my life.  I was addicted to Mills and Boon at age twelve and devouring Jackie Collins and Sheldon by thirteen.  I’m no ...

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One day in Spain…

A post without photos for once – or maybe with just a few.  Mainly this post is for my own thoughts, and because I have come across something I find really fascinating. I’ve spent a lot of this walk wondering what on earth I was going to write about in another book.  After all, the Sahara it isn’t, and much of the camino has been a solitary ramble with my head buried in Roman ruins.  Much as that fascinates me and ...

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Salamanca

There is a frog built into the plateresque facade of Salamanca University.  It seems a rather frivolous thing to adorn Spain's first University, and the third in Western Europe, but it also one of Salamanca's favourite tourist attractions: even in the very wet, cold weather we have been enjoying this week, at any given time a number of camera wielding frog-spotters can be found, squinting up at the elaborate carvings, trying to pick out the elusive little fellow, who is ...