oh little town of Bethlehem

It’s nearly Christmas, so it must be time to dust off the decorations. Not for me the tree and the tinsel, the baubles and ornaments that figured so importantly in my childhood.

The three Kings follow the star
The three Kings follow the star
No, since living in Spain I have discovered the art of the Nativity Scene and each year I set out my own small belén at home.

As most people do, I started off with the central stable scene – referred to here as the pesebre (manger), nacimiento (birth) or Misterio (mystery) – but as the years go by I’ve added figures and scenes and now I feel the display really does warrant the term “belén” which is the Spanish name for Bethlehem.
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pigging out

It’s Saturday, it’s a public holiday, and I was planning a a long, lazy weekend, starting with a lie-in. Instead, we were woken around 8 a.m. by the sound of a pig being slaughtered.

a cada cerdo le llega su San Martin
a cada cerdo le llega su San Martín

Actually, I’m not sure the pig itself was making the wheezy, squealing noise: it might have been the donkey disturbed by the proceedings. But whatever it was, it woke me; particularly as the general hubbub was augmented by a couple of roosters crowing, another neighbour’s elderly rottweiler baying – presumably excited by the scent of blood – and the vociferous commentary from four generations of the family who had turned out to witness the event.
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the times they are a-changing

I’m intrigued by the headline on the BBC news website today which claims “Clock change may cause tiredness

My elderly mother complains that everytime there’s a power cut she has to go round the house altering all the clocks. She doesn’t understand – and nor do I – why we should have to have so many clocks on appliances that don’t need them: the cooker, the microwave, the video, the radio… Continue reading “the times they are a-changing”

sounds of Madrid

Ten sounds that make it impossible to forget that you’re in Madrid:

1. The neighbour beating eggs to make a tortilla española.

2. The squeak of the washing line pulley in the patio interior. Often closely followed by:

3. The sound of a clothes peg falling into the patio interior. (The only sound associated with the clothes that are dropped is the exclamation of the housewife who’s hanging them out.)
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bridges in Spain

Well, it’s September and this hasn’t been updated for a whole month. I’ve obviously been affected by my years in Spain: Spaniards of all ages take their summer holidays seriously.

The Spanish take their fun seriously

Most Spanish workers get twenty days vacaciones, and they usually take the whole period in July or August as four consecutive weeks at the beach or in the mountains, often with several generations of the family holidaying together.
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summer sport

After a busy evening
listening to cicada orchestras
and dancing with
through the weeds,
the cat comes home.

He sniffs the bowl of kibble
then looks up, looks
dissatisfied, as if to say,
“dried cat food’s

dry’ku II

Strappy sandals;
at every step
my toes launch grasshoppers.