maculate

I moved back to the UK some years ago, but the time spent in Spain, and in particular, the years spent en el pueblo, still influence my thoughts. Today, for example is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a fact I would never have paid any attention to before living in a Catholic country, but which today has prompted me to feel nostalgic.

When we signed the papers on the house in the village it was early autumn, although we continued to dither between Madrid and the country for quite a while after that. So we were still not really on top of the intricacies of rural life as that first year wound down towards las fiestas de navidad.
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neighbours

It’s Sunday; it’s the first of December. Which means that here in the UK, some people are celebrating the first day of Advent.

But the first day of December is cause for celebration for other reasons and in other places. In Chad, it’s Freedom and Democracy day. In Romania, it’s Great Union Day, celebrating the Union of Transylvania with Romania. It’s Myanmar’s National Day, and it’s Military Abolition Day in Costa Rica.
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something to look forward to

The tomato plants I put in pots rather later than intended this year seem to be growing reasonably well. They are tall and leafy, although bushier than they should be, as I missed a few side shoots.

We don’t have a lot of space and, as I said, it was a bit late before I got my act together to buy seedlings, so there are only three of them: one Gardener’s Delight and two others, which the ironmongress couldn’t remember the names of. I reckoned we could just call them Tom I and Tom II, as they weren’t likely to answer anyway.
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“there was an old lady…

…who swallowed a fly.”

I expect many readers will understand that “I don’t know why she swallowed a fly.” Many will also be familiar with the range of extreme remedies the old lady pursued.

First she swallowed a spider to catch the fly.
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year of the pig

We are now officially well into the Year of the Pig. And, frankly, if the Year of the Dog was a bitch, this year has already been a pig of a year.

Back when I lived in Spain, pigs loomed large in my life. So here I’m just going to gather together some old blog posts that have featured pigs and pig products, boars and other related issues, and also re-post a few relevant images, starting with this little pig who went to market and half startled the life out of me as he nestled in among the reconstituted crab sticks.
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cat tale at the tail end of the year

One of the things I dislike most about this time of year is the fact that news sites are full of articles of highlights and honours, of lists of the best, the most read, the most popular…

To be honest, I mostly don’t care.

Even so, I am very tempted to do a ‘review of the year’ as my last post of 2018.
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nocturne

Yesterday was the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere.

Over the years, I have posted lots of poems here on on the blog marking season changes, solstices, equinoxes, the day we change the clocks, meteor showers and other astronomical and astrological events, but since I’ve been back in the UK this has become increasingly difficult: I’m writing less, and I’m far less tied to the natural rhythms of the planet.
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