Living in Spain, warts and all

Posts tagged ‘travel’

Deborah Who?

Almost like Doctor Who but much less famous and far more dangerous! And, regrettably, incapable of time travel, or I really wouldn’t be sporting these wrinkles…

Fourth Doctor and the TARDIS by LinusL

Sooo – a big HELLO to any of my previous readers who haven’t yet shuffled off this mortal coil

I, in a moment of celebratory fervour, made a New Year’s resolution to renew my acquaintance with the keyboard. OK, I will hold up my hands and confess that I’ve left it a while to action this lofty declaration. Especially since I made it in 2013.

But apparently people occasionally still read “Bitten by Spain”, the book. Who knew? Some even buy it, although this latter group is but a very tiny subset of the first.
So perhaps it can be inferred that maybe people still enjoy sitting in their fave book corner, reading about my various struggles and calamities and thanking their own personal Divine Being that they’re not me!

To that end, I have made a firm promise to my current literary line manager, the inimitable Jack Scott of the fabulous “Perking the Pansies” (book and blog) fame. I promised that I will once again resume the weekly blogging. I have resolved to keep that promise, and have further resolved to hold fast to that resolve. As far as circumstances allow, that is…

First, I guess I owe some sort of explanation for my prolonged lassitude, and so I’ll try to present a brief resumé of some of the larger of my pathetic excuses for having vacated these hallowed halls for in excess of two years, as follows:

1) John finally resigned from the Fire Brigade in December 2012 to join me full-time in Spain in running the kennels business (esPerro Residencia Canina de Lujo)

Given the normal strains of colliding periodically whilst living two fairly separate and very different lives (see The Part-Time Wife….), the 24/7 exposure has left us arm-wrestling ever since:

2) We lost three members of our canine family in uncomfortably rapid succession – first, the gentle and elderly Lady Jade, followed by my partner in crime and fall guy, the giant Marcos, and finally the slightly mad and always hungry Qivi. Each and every one of them tore my heart to shreds, but Marcos – aaahh, Marcos – I still haven’t quite got over losing him, and I’m not sure I ever truly will. I wrote about him almost constantly, and was lost without him…;




3) Of course, a leopard doesn’t change its spots, and so I am still prone to farcical accidents. There have been a few in the last couple of years, including a car crash which was really, really, really not my fault in that I was T-boned on my road by a guy ignoring a clear give way sign. I also managed to break my wrist when I fell from a small step-ladder whilst reaching too far (which was entirely my fault). But I topped all mishaps thus far (ever in my life, that is) with the latest, which I will report to you in a more leisurely fashion at a later date. Suffice it to say that I currently have full use of one arm only, which makes typing a slightly more tedious and error-prone exercise;


4) The kennels business turned out to be a high-performance beast – it roars like a lion and did nought to sixty in two seconds. A business with no let-up, I ran it pretty much single-handed for the first year, leaving me scarcely time to draw breath until John arrived.

At which point we (The Management) found that we had very different views about marketing, pricing and various other aspects of the thing. So we called a management and strategy meeting (a.k.a. the afore-mentioned arm wrestling contest) and I was subsequently voted off the board. So John now runs the business (and is, indeed, making a fine and splendid job of it) while I fill a back-up role in the accounts and information technology departments, which leaves me a lot more free time and therefore little excuse;

and finally,

5) My outstanding son and his utterly wonderful wife became pregnant last June, and so I have been travelling much more.

I am currently, therefore, writing this from the UK, as my first grandson Oliver was born last Thursday. Of course, it wasn’t without its hitches – Rache has married into my family, after all – and he was in fact delivered by emergency Caesarian with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and had to be resuscitated. They are all fine now, though Rache will need a few weeks yet to be considered fully recovered, and the family unit has already meshed nicely. I am more than blessed to be here with them and able to share so much of it.

Oliver, mum and dad 12 03 15


I only hope devoutly that I’m not a bad influence, and that Ollie doesn’t mean to go on as he started…


‘Expat Life Slice by Slice’ by Apple Gidley

Apple Gidley has written a book that made my jaw drop.

I thought that our move to Spain, the cultural differences we encountered, the struggles we’ve had with legal issues, the problems of living lives as part-time partners – well, I thought them momentous, and I have probably been more than a little self-congratulatory in our ability to come through it all.

Apple puts me to such shame that I might never be able to write again!

Born in 1958, the same year as myself, to an english father and an australian mother, her expat wanderings began at the tender age of one month. Pretty good, huh, for someone who couldn’t even crawl yet? (Well, I assume not, but I could be persuaded otherwise, having read of all her other amazing achievements).

Apple has gone on to move 26 times  and has lived in 12 different countries (from Africa to Australasia and Melanesia, Europe to the Caribbean and America). She talks from a wealth of experience about being an expat child, an expat wife, an expat mother and now an expat grandmother.

The depth of subjects covered has left me astounded, awed, maybe jealous and certainly full of admiration. Apple speaks of the joy and heartache of loving and leaving (or losing) pets, including her pet monkey, Munnings. Of the problems faced by a nomadic child who must constantly make new friends in different places, different manners, with different religions, different languages. Of finding a constant in her boarding school but then encountering difficulties in going home to ever-changing locations for school holidays. Of living a single life, even within a partnership, and then frequently being a single mother. Of the need to maintain familial relationships, to fulfil familial obligations, deal with familial problems, over great distances. Of change, change and more change.

Apple’s book is written with deep insight and some immensely evocative descriptions, but still remains light enough to feel that it is not an instructional piece, which in reality it is, very much. My interest was retained excellently by clever movements back and forward through time as each slice of wisdom demanded, and the whole picture became filled like a colour-by-numbers scene, with all hues, painted individually, finally melding together to make one gloriously colourful masterpiece.

Highly recommended.

Apple, I salute you!



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