midsummer madness

wildfire smoke, Gredos
The last two posts have mentioned the noche de San Juan, when celebratory bonfires are lit, but I had rather thought that that would be enough of the subject for this year. After all, the hogueras are lit on the evening of June 23rd, and today they should all be over.

Sadly, though, someone seems to have got the dates mixed and started un incendio in the middle of the day today.

The whole afternoon has been accompanied by the screaming sirens of the police and fire brigade, and the thrumming of the helicopters called out to deal with it.
Continue reading “midsummer madness”


While others bundle and bunch

under umbrellas, shrug

into pak-a-macs and hunch deep

into their collars, their faces

scrunched, gurning

against the elements, she

pokes tongues

at raindrops and laughs

glitter from her hair.

Rain drops on grass heads

In the UK we are used to hearing that “April showers bring May flowers”, an expression that apparently can be traced to its earliest known form – Continue reading “april”

fire and rain

Some readers will remember the fraught few days last summer when I wondered if the house was to be burned to a frazzle by the Gredos fire. It’s hard to believe that with all the rain that’s fallen recently.

Anyway, I still have a “Google alert” set up that tells me when any relevant news appears on the web. Which is why I’ve just seen this headline from the catástrofes y accidentes section of ABC online:

Aplazan por mal tiempo reforestación...

Yes, the re-forestation has been put off because of the weather.
Continue reading “fire and rain”

200: a work in progress

When I first started this blog it was intended to be mostly poetry, but I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by other language issues and general bits & pieces, and it’s a while since I posted a poem.

This, though, is my 200th blog post, so I think some poetry is called for. The problem with short poems is that it’s almost impossible to know when they’re finished. So, like the blog, this is a work in progress; a draft:


The dragon in the fireplace snorts
contempt for kitchen mortals. He shifts
to find a comfy spot, catches his breath
and coughs, farting a firework spray
of sparks and embers. His scaley hide
cracks open as he settles back to rest
on his vermilion hoard.

siempre incendiada

The town motto of Arenas de San Pedro is siempre incendiada, y siempre fiel (“always aflame and always faithful”). The coat of arms is a picture of the castle in flames, surprisingly reminiscent of card sixteen – the Tower – in many tarot decks.

The fireworks at the Arenas fiestas are always set off from inside the castle, which provides a lovely backdrop and such wonderfully appropriate images as this:

Always aflame
Always aflame

(This time the pink hues are not due to problems with my camera.)

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