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Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead
Victoria is a New York Times bestselling author. In 2004 she nagged poor, long-suffering Joe into leaving Britain and relocating to a tiny, remote mountain village in Andalucía where they became reluctant chicken farmers and owned the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. Village life inspired Victoria’s first book, 'Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools', which was quickly followed by two more in the Old Fools series, all of which fast became Amazon bestsellers. Victoria and Joe continue to enjoy life keeping chickens, writing, sampling the local wine and living alongside their colourful neighbours.

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools And Spanish Oranges

Posted by: Carole on Sunday March 17, 2013 (01:37:04)   (1894 Reads)
Victoria Twead
At the bottom of our mountain, an elderly farmer sits on an upturned crate beside his ancient car at the side of the road. The wind is cold, and the old man wears woollen gloves and a scarf, his shoulders hunched in a heavy coat. Under his flat cap, he watches the traffic pass, waiting for people like us who can't resist his wares.

Oranges. It's the tail-end of the season, but bright oranges and lemons still hang from the trees around our village. In the far distance, as snow-covered mountain peaks jab the sky, it seems strange that oranges ripen and are picked in winter.

"Stop the car," I say to Joe, "I want to buy some oranges."

He rolls his eyes, but applies the brakes. I know what he's thinking - we have more than enough oranges in the bowl at home, given to us by villagers.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools And Wildfires In Spain

Posted by: Carole on Monday February 18, 2013 (01:32:47)   (2072 Reads)
Victoria Twead
"Another day in paradise," I thought as I climbed the staircase to our roof terrace. February is usually the coldest, wettest month of the year, but this February had been glorious. I set down the heavy laundry basket, heaped with wet bed linen. Perfect drying weather: very windy, but not a cloud in sight, and the sun beating down. The washing would flap itself dry in no time.

I leaned on the terrace wall and looked around. Joe and I never tire of the view over the village and around the mountains. A few curls of smoke, rising from the only occupied houses in the village, were swiped away by the wind. Clusters of almond trees, dressed in white blossom, decorated the mountain slopes, the wind ripping at their petals. The green mountain tops gave way to endless blue sky.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools And Mail

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday January 16, 2013 (19:26:43)   (2070 Reads)
Victoria Twead
Receiving post has always been a tad problematic since we moved to our village in the mountains of Spain. In the old days, mail used to arrive by mule, but we've definitely progressed since then. Haven't we?

After moving in, as our front door didn't sport a letterbox, one of our first jobs was to buy a mailbox. Joe struggled to fix it to the wall, as old Spanish houses are made of dry rubble held together with sand. Joe persevered, and succeeded.

"There! That's done," he said, standing back to admire his work. "The postman shouldn't have any trouble with that."

Unfortunately, our mailbox has never been exactly overworked.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools And The Colour Red

Posted by: Carole on Monday December 17, 2012 (01:26:21)   (1954 Reads)
Victoria Twead
I like the colour red. I thought about the significance of that colour as I gave my latest book, ‘Two Old Fools on a Camel’, which describes our year in the Bahrain, a final check before publishing. We’ve enjoyed eight Christmases in El Hoyo, our village in the Spanish mountains, and one in the Middle East. Of course they differ hugely, but the colour red is significant in both.

In Spain, Christmas starts at the beginning of December when Carmen, our next door neighbour, presents us with a poinsettia. My heart always sinks, as the blood-red plant is doomed to die a slow death in my hands. Within days its crimson leaves curl and turn brown. By Christmas, only a naked brown stalk remains, every leaf having relinquished its hold and dropped with a dry rustle to the floor.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools, Cowboys And Hallowe'en

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday November 20, 2012 (04:56:46)   (1380 Reads)
Victoria Twead
With relief, I finished the last chapter of ‘Two Old Fools on a Camel’ just before the Gin Twins arrived for their annual Spanish visit. Now I could really enjoy their company without worrying about writing deadlines.

As usual, they came laden with gifts from the UK, including everything one could ever need to celebrate Hallowe’en. Decorations, banners, plastic skeletons, drinking straws with skeletons, a ghostly soundtrack CD, masks and a massive bag of sweets to give visiting village children.

“When the kids come Trick or Treating, we’ll put the masks on,” said Gin Twin #1.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the Spanish kids all dressed up,” said Gin Twin #2.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools And Memory Loss

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 20, 2012 (00:24:08)   (1614 Reads)
Victoria Twead
Long before we moved to our mountain village in 2004, Joe's been forgetful. Before now, he's put the phone in his sock drawer, and locked the keys in the boot of the car many a time. He's left the chickens' gate open, allowing them to range freely through my precious raised flower beds, leaving nothing but stalks. Once he left the engine running in our parked car the whole time we were shopping, around two hours.

So I wasn't surprised when he returned from a recent shopping trip and couldn't find his credit card. He felt in his pockets. Nothing. He searched the carrier bags. Nothing. He checked the car. Nothing.

“Could you have left it in Carrefour?”

“Well, I suppose it’s possible...”

Phone calls to Carrefour confirmed that no credit card had been handed in.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools And Burglars

Posted by: Carole on Sunday September 16, 2012 (07:43:32)   (2056 Reads)
Victoria Twead
On the other side of our valley in the Alpujarra mountains, there is a holiday house owned by a young British family. About two years ago they emigrated to Australia, leaving it to friends and relatives to enjoy. To the villagers it is known as ‘the English house’, and most of the time it stands locked and unused.

One day, recently, Geronimo and his mule passed our house and stopped to bang on our door.

“Somebody tried to break into the English house,” said Geronimo, thus passing the responsibility on to us.

We walked over to check it out for ourselves. The house is surrounded by Spanish oaks and summer-baked acorns crunched under our heels as we walked round the property.

The attempted break-in was obvious; the thieves had tried to dig out the locked burglar-bars that protected the front door. They’d failed, as the house walls are pretty solid.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools Blow Virtual Kisses

Posted by: Carole on Sunday August 19, 2012 (00:35:31)   (1626 Reads)
Victoria Twead
Isn’t technology wonderful? When we first moved to our tiny Spanish village in 2004, we were lucky to have one of the only two telephone landlines in the valley. We even had access to the Internet, albeit an unreliable, grindingly-slow dial-up connection.

Back in 2004, a fast Internet connection would have been nice, but it wasn’t essential. Emails and telephone calls were sufficient to keep in touch with friends and family. Of course I didn’t know then that my daughter would fall in love with an Aussie, and that Australia would become her permanent home.

Long after most people had taken broadband for granted, the day came when El Hoyo also became connected, just in time for me. My first grandchild was on its way and I blessed the Internet. Thanks to my broadband connection, I saw my grandchild tumble in her mum’s tummy, saw her seven minutes after she was born and cried happy tears as I saw her face and tiny clenched hands - all from the other side of the world.    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools And Cockroaches

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday July 18, 2012 (16:58:59)   (2093 Reads)
Victoria Twead
It all began last month when I got up in the middle of the night and came to the kitchen for a glass of water. I switched on the light and, to my horror, saw black shapes scuttling into the shadows. Cockroaches! I ran back to the bedroom and woke Joe.

"Joe! We've got cockroaches in the kitchen!"

“Wah? We got wah? Right..." and he resumed his snoring.

In the morning I reminded him about our little problem and, this time, he was much more attentive.

"How many did you see?"


"How many is ‘loads'?”    more ...

Victoria Twead

Two Old Fools In The Pink

Posted by: Carole on Monday June 18, 2012 (12:07:23)   (1497 Reads)
Victoria Twead
Hurrah! All the decorating is finished, inside and out. We’ve splashed white paint into every nook and cranny and everything looks fresh and clean. Joe’s bad back is better, although he still complains about his scraped knees (from kneeling on the roof), his bruised thumb (trapped under a plank of wood) and gashed finger (changing a light bulb).

Yes, everything looked wonderful, ready for the summer, except for the chicken house. The chicken house was badly in need of sprucing up and we still had an unopened tub of paint. Joe pulled the lid off, and we stared at it.

“That doesn’t look right,” I said. “That looks pink!”

“I’ll stir it,” said Joe, grabbing a stick. “Perhaps it’s just separated.”    more ...

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