early warning

Here in the UK, the spring equinox happens (occurs? falls?) tomorrow at 10:28. I’m a bit confused by that, as I don’t understand how we can have equal day and night at a specific minute half way through the morning.

Exploring the subject a little further, I find that equinox doesn’t mean equilux: day and night are not of equal length, whatever I was taught in school.

In fact, where I am, today was already almost 12 hours and 7 minutes long, which must, presumably, make the night some 14 minutes shorter. And from now until well into April, each day will increase in length by about 4 minutes, meaning that in less than a month, we’ll be having over 14 hours of daylight. Sadly, that’s not 14 hours of sunshine.
Continue reading “early warning”


I knew that la crisis had forced lifestyle changes on everyone in Spain, but I’m shocked to find it has apparently made inroads into a tradition that lies at the very heart of the Spanish psyche: el puente.

multi-arched stone bridge
No, not that kind of puente. I’m talking about the puente that connects a public holiday to the weekend with an additional – official or unofficial – day off.

Tomorrow is San José, which is a fiesta for some comunidades. Usually, such holidays are celebrated on the actual day on which they fall, which means that when there’s a Tuesday or a Thursday fiesta lots of workers take the intervening day and make a four-day weekend of it.
Continue reading “abridged”


with primaries taut, they finger-tip
the contoured air, screeching
a splay-tailed upward glide to peak

then tuck – dip – swoop –

and skim the puddled mud,
gape-mouthed and hungering.

It’s San José – St Joseph’s Day – which is Father’s Day in Spain, and a bank holiday in parts of the country. It’s also the day that the swallows return to Capistrano, which is why I’ve chosen to post this poem. (Or, perhaps, this ‘poem draft’.)
Continue reading “swallows”

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