A Spanish Mum is Born

By Valerie Collins It was simply too good to be true. After ten years of a blissful dearth of dealings with Spanish officialdom, it was time to renew my Spanish identity card. Off I went to the new police station, clutching enough reading matter for a morning’s arduous queuing, wondering whether I should have taken […]

Catalan Got Your Tongue?

By Valerie Collins Say what you like about Catalan. Say it sounds like dogs barking, as they sometimes do elsewhere in Spain. Complain that it’s short, sharp and brusque, not at all like the romantic Julio Iglesias or sex-drenched Shakira tones you dreamed of. Moan that you found it difficult enough to learn Spanish and […]

The Great Escape

By Theresa O’Shea About a month after we became the proud owners of our first-ever mortgage, Francisco locked me in the bedroom. It was an accident, of course. Old country houses oozing with character  tend to come with old country keys, long, heavy and well-worn, the kind that have the chap at your local ferretería […]

Of Grapes and Garlic

By Theresa O’Shea September’s a great month in Spain. The country has mostly gone back to work, it no longer takes nine hours to get served in a restaurant, you can roll over on your beach towel without landing on someone’s lap /grandma /dachshund, and the idea of swapping sea and sand for the fun […]

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The Catalan Picnic Experience

By Valerie Collins You know the scenario. Summer in the city. The temperature hits 35ºC and humidity 99%.  You lie around in your underwear, watching adverts on TV for canned iced tea and coffee, indefinably pornographic ice creams, fly sprays, deodorants and air-con.  It’s time for the Catalan Picnic Experience, a highly elaborate ritual that […]