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Sunday, 18 February 2018


Hola! Everyone's favourite rootless cosmopolitan here. When I travel throughout continental Europe people often stop me in the street and ask 'Ana Maria, who is that man? You know, the one who is always on the British TV, is he your Prime Minister?' and I realise they are talking about the one whose name we never mention. The one whose mother christened him with the initials that chime with those of the National Front. The one who has appeared on Question Time more than the PM herself or the Foreign secretary or the leader of the opposition. He is seen in many parts as the Face of Britain, AKA the turd that will not flush. He has tried to get the Irish on board with his breathtaking gall. The one who ought to have been a Tic Tac man at the races but ended up everywhere beginning sentences with  'believe you me'. The one that once Britain leaves the EU will be out of a job and have nothing to whinge about. My vision is that he will, alongside Tommy Robinson either convert to Islam or start presenting his version of The Real Deal. 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017


I used to prepare the Private Eye lunches upstairs at the Coach and Horses Soho.

I get a mention of sorts in Keith Waterhouse's play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, set in the Coach.

I got barred from the Coach along with many others for showering journalists with sweets.

Due to the exodus down the road to the French House and loss of takings at the Coach we were invited back within a week.

I slept upstairs at the Coach but was unable to get to the bar on account of the laser beam across the doorway.

I helped Paul the barman carry Jeffrey Bernard into the pub.

Norman Balon the landlord chased me round the bar with a broken hoover part demanding to know who broke it.

Coming down the stairs of the Coach one morning with a heavy tray a la Mrs Overall I overheard the three Irish barmen talking about women. I heard one of them ask what the others thought about me. I nearly dropped the tray when I heard Brian say 'I bet she's a little demon in bed'.

Friday, 18 March 2016


One of my Facebook posts mysteriously disappeared. It was about the Catholic charity opposite which has been set up to help and house pregnant women at risk from 'social exclusion' which hasn't seen a soul pass through its doors since its inauguration six months ago and the brothel next door which has been doing a roaring trade since it opened about a year ago and how I couldn't help thinking there was some kind of connection. Well, there has been a development. I noticed something the other day as I looked up from my book, Secret Judaism and the Spanish Inquisition. There was someone at the window of the institution. I squinted in the hope they wouldn't squint back but saw it wasn't a person and that a poster had been put up on the wall of one of the rooms. At first it looked like one of those teenage posters of pop stars but had a sort of seventies feel about it, maybe David Essex or the better looking one in Sparks but once the glasses were on it was something quite different. A religious poster of Mary Mother of God and child. I gather they are preparing for the imminent arrival of a mother kicked out of wherever she was staying. Maybe it's the second coming, or the first whichever way you look at it. There are after all only 281 days until Christmas.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Dear friends. Hopefully you are all well and keeping the rug firmly under your feet despite all trying to pull it from under you. Me? Well things are always a bit hectic here. H has decided to take up a hobby. Fencing if you please. I wouldn't mind if he was sticking bits of wood in the ground but no, I've just seen him lunging, foil in hand towards a policeman who called him 'an aggressive little fucker' which I thought was a bit rich. I know my betrothed is not as lofty as some of his fellow countrymen but I wouldn't describe him as little. Aggressive yes. A fucker certainly but I am not sure there is anything diminutive about him. Anyway this is only the half of it. He's coming back now as I write, shouting 'touche!' and carrying what looks like.............
To be continued.

Sunday, 23 February 2014


As a member state Spain fails to fulfil its obligations when it comes to how long adverts can run during programming. Not being a fan of said tele I had to ask if this was still true, with friends getting quite heated about how they can take a shower while the ads are on and how they end up going to bed late as films last longer thanks to the neverending publicity. I like to do my own research so went to the nearest cafe to see for myself. The channel showing was the local one and predictably it went on for about fifteen minutes but instead of getting annoyed I found it all quite entertaining. Whoever works in continuity hadn't checked or couldn't be bothered to synchronise the various soundtracks to the adverts so every time a new advertisment came on the music or voice over from the last ad was still playing. My favourites were the old people's home that transformed into a luxury hotel but was topped by an ad for a butcher's, showing behind the scenes of its sausage making to the strains of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing. The track was still playing as the butcher delivered his gains over to a woman who lived in what looked like the old people's hotel and ended with the name of the butcher's, el Sauce. 

Being easily pleased and often bored I found the time to do one of those 'look up line whatever on page such and such and this will describe your sex life' boredom killers. The idea was to pick up the nearest book and turn to page 45 and the first sentence explains your love life. I suppose I could while away the hours reading tarot cards or getting someone else to read my star sign out to me just to alleviate the listlessness but being blessed with a life that means I am never far from a book was too tempting. The nearest read turned out to be one my sister tried to burn but was rescued by me from the bonfire she had built with the aim of reducing our dear mother's library. Being of the belief that one shouldn't burn books unless of course they were written by Sydney Sheldon, said book lives on and goes by the name of a Cottage on a Cliff by Derek Tangye. There was another one by him that didn't escape the flames called The Way to Minack and the last words I saw as it was engulfed went something on the lines of 'please give him this message......'. Cottage on a Cliff will never be read on account of the plot which resembles my own life, a life of 'getting away from it all' and the author being described as 'engaging' and 'reading his get-away-from-it-all stories will leave you longing for the great outdoors'. First sentence page 45 seemed to sum up my love life. Beautifully. 'and our virgin land would have been stocked with bulbs which could have assured us a financial future'. I liked the Dutch angle and was even more reassured as I read further. 'As it is, if anything goes wrong, we will still be able to continue on our own'. 

Not being satisfied with this I went to get the book I was reading at the time and wondered if that would satisfy my lust for entertainment. 'Your refusal to sit down could amount to a sort of rebellion' seemed to describe my whole life and finally I stopped on opening Operation Mincemeat and discovering, ' I miss you most frightfully, and life has just seemed one long, grey monotone since we have separated'. There was only one solution, the one I always take when the four walls have had their chance and that is to go out. Moments later, nosebag on, tucking into some carillera and shooting the breeze with H, a charming but drunk man came up to us both and told us we were cachondos, which translates as horny, hot and turned on but also could mean funny, fun loving and riotous, so all in all a rather pleasant afternoon.

Monday, 9 December 2013


It's been a while since I wrote something on this blog but that's because I've been out. I could and I will write about the food, the wine, the women, the songs, the Pinteresque behaviour of my family, but I feel I have neglected the drama of some of the locals and so an update is in the offing. If you don't know the saga of Mr C and his wife next door or the prophet of doom upstairs then you'll have to backtrack a bit to the old blogs. Mr C, who brought me grief, was replaced by a sporty handball player who brought me wine, but he moved on and a waiter with a puppy moved in. Your woman upstairs left and gypsies are now renting. 

The last episode of Mr C involved him making strange moans every twenty minutes which was nothing out of the ordinary until I went to bed and it continued into the early hours. I knocked on the door and when his wife answered I could see him lying on the floor, face down in a pool of blood. I told his wife as much as I couldn't stand the bastard I wasn't going to let him lie there and was going to ring for an ambulance but she grabbed me and begged me to leave him be. Not content with driving me mad over the years she now wanted me to conspire in his demise by leaving him to bleed or freeze to death. 'They are coming tomorrow', she exclaimed and I deciphered she meant social services. Much to her chagrin I rang 112 and when they arrived they said pretty much the same, that even though he was a pain in the arse she should have called them when he first fell over and hit his head. As they lifted him off the floor he caught sight of H and muttered 'eres un payaso', 'you're a right clown'. That was the last time we saw or heard from him and he now resides in an old people's home in Angues which is too far for him to hop on a bus and haunt us once more. Meanwhile Mrs C had young men coming round in the early hours and while I didn't want to deny her a sex life, her nightly arguments with Mr C were replaced by amorous cries of delight. This went on for several nights and then Mr C's son showed up to cut off the gas and electricity. Along with the waitress from the Rico Rico and various other folk we all tried our best to help but the lack of hot water pushed Mrs C over the edge, into a taxi and back to Brazil. Six months later she appeared again with a locksmith who somehow changed the locks for her and she moved back in for about five minutes until the police came and turfed her out, handcuffed and arrested her and remonstrated with the locksmith for letting her in without proof of her living there.

I tried to get to the bottom of the story, believing all these years that Mr and Mrs C were not legally married and so therefore leaving Mrs C helpless before the law but it turns out they were married according to his son so she would have been entitled to live in the flat but somehow she was paid off and sent packing again to Brazil. However, according to Aragonese law anything bought by a partner before marriage doesn't automatically go to the spouse if the relationship ends in divorce. Apparently each province in Spain can have different laws regarding this matter and if you are a foreigner resident here there are often complicated disputes regarding wills and divorces as Spain expects the resident to comply with the law back in their place of birth even if you make a will here or get divorced here. In any case, Mrs C hasn't been seen since and no one can tell me what happened as everyone has their own version of events.

Meanwhile, yer woman upstairs, Mercedes continued to patrol the streets and community and then Anselmo her husband died. We assume she went back to her village and now the flat has been rented out to gypsies maybe as a deluded idea that we would suffer more living underneath them as opposed to the previous madness involving Mercedes and her dreaded hound Piti the Priapic Poodle. The parties next door continue and I, unable to beat them, join them.....

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Wine is as good as life to a man, if it be drunk moderately: what life is then to a man that is without wine? For it was made to make men glad.”  -- Ecclesiastes

'Where would you be without me?' -- Him 

'Sober?' --Me

When I'm not struggling to get the wine bottle open ( due to wine elbow) or getting to know the local food and wine I like to catch up on what's going on in the world. It seems the world is getting madder at times and it doesn't surprise me that we drink. Drinking alcohol, or was it hangovers, has been described as a great restraining device on society so perhaps more rather than fewer people should try it, drinking that is. Getting to know a wine and the food that can accompany it is a civilising force and is enhanced by the company of others who get it. So long as we have alcohol society won't collapse but I can imagine a revolution if optics are ever introduced to Spain. Or if I ever have to go back to the UK and be expected to down such measurements. The idea fills me with dread and seems so pointless. A friend here remarked the other day that while he felt all the so-called binge drinking occurring throughout Europe seems to him to be a fashion of sorts, here in Spain he described it as 'tradition'. Spain is a country where most folk don't judge you if they see you drinking wine for breakfast or with lunch or at four in the morning leaving the latest tertulia.

So on that note I leave you with  an interesting link on getting to know the wines of this region.