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Victoria Twead

Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

The Two Old Fools And Spring Cleaning

Posted by: Carole on Friday May 18, 2012 (00:34:14)   (1352 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Spring has most definitely sprung. In our valley, Joe and I can see and hear the frantic activity all around us. The birds are at their noisiest and busiest, building nests, finding mates and packing as much as they can into each day. Sparrows, bee-eaters, a pair of kestrels, swallows, cuckoos, owls, all in our valley, all in over-drive.

This month, Joe and I, too, decided that our house needed freshening up. When we lived in England, I spent hours agonising over paint colour-samples, trying to pick exactly the right shade or hue. Here in Spain, it’s much simpler. White paint is all we need. Gallons and gallons of it. So we bought the paint and concentrated on the scaffolding. Our house isn’t high but it’s built on the slope of a mountain and scaffolding is essential. The usual conversation took place.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

The Two Old Fools' New Spanish Car

Posted by: Carole on Sunday April 22, 2012 (01:00:19)   (1815 Reads)

Victoria Twead

“We’ve run out of milk,” I said to Joe. “Could you drive down the mountain and pick some up, please? There are a few things we need, and I have this blog to finish.”

“No problem.”

I should explain that we had to sell our beloved jeep, and this month we bought ourselves a new car, a six year old Volkswagen Polo. It’s diesel, sounds like a tank, but we’re quite pleased with it. Compared with our jeep, it has all sorts of unfamiliar extras that we can enjoy, like a working heater, radio, and central locking.

I settled down to write, jumping when the phone rang.

“Vicky, I’ve done something stupid...”    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Life's A Hoot With The Two Old Fools

Posted by: Carole on Saturday March 17, 2012 (01:44:53)   (2133 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Can you believe it? It’s exactly one year since Joe and I were under house arrest in the Middle East. Spring was the only thing on our minds then but it was the Arab Spring, not the seasonal one. In Bahrain, the seasons passed unnoticed. Unlike here in our valley in the Spanish mountains, we saw few birds or animals and plants battled to grow in the desert. So this spring in El Hoyo is rather special, our first after a year away.

One of our favourite signs of spring is the scops owl. We’ve never seen one, but we hear them nightly. Usually, there’s just one, trying to attract a mate, but the other night there were three of them, all competing.

Scops owls don’t say, “Twit-Twoo” like some other species. Scops owls are perfectly happy with just a “Hooo” every 20 seconds or so, repeated over and over again.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales From A Spanish Village - Two Old Fools, A Bee And Fire

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday February 15, 2012 (04:08:56)   (1744 Reads)

Victoria Twead

“What’s that buzzing noise?” I asked Joe as we sat in the kitchen drinking coffee. “It sounds like a giant bee trapped somewhere.”

“I don’t know. It seems like it’s coming from the dishwasher. How can a bee be trapped in the dishwasher?”

The buzzing increased in volume as we peered anxiously at the dishwasher. We opened it gingerly. No bee. Then the buzzing changed to alarming crackling noises. Bright flashes and smoke appeared from behind the dishwasher.

“Something’s on fire!”    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Two Old Fools and Chilly Chickens

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday January 18, 2012 (05:11:42)   (2224 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Mountain weather is unpredictable, as Joe and I found out after our first winter in Spain, seven years ago. Snow cut off our village for nearly a week, and we had no electricity or water. However, we coped. We had bottled water and two woodburning stoves that kept us warm and cooked our food. We couldn’t shower, so we doubtless hummed a bit, but no visitors could have reached our door anyway.

As I sit typing, I can see steely clouds gathering, cloaking the mountaintops. Will it snow? Probably not, but we’re prepared, just in case. We have water, food and logs in abundance. Our chickens provide us with fresh eggs but, unfortunately, they also give us cause for concern.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Gifts for the Old Fools

Posted by: Jamie on Thursday January 05, 2012 (05:43:25)   (1673 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Somebody knocked on our door this morning, and Joe and I immediately guessed who it might be. We were right; our next door neighbours stood on our doorstep, faces wreathed in smiles, arms bearing pre-Christmas gifts. This is our sixth Christmas in our tiny, remote Spanish mountain village, and Paco and Carmen have brought us gifts in the weeks before this festive season every time. But there is a problem. They gave us a bag crammed with bright, shiny tomatoes, grown by their son who exports them to the UK supermarkets. No problem there. The tomatoes are delicious, perfect for all sorts of recipes, salads, or at this time of year, homemade soup. And they brought a nice bottle of wine. No problem there, either. Joe and I often have a little glass or two of something nice in the evening.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - The Log Mountain

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (11:05:09)   (1436 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Back in England, I don't remember thinking much about logs. Of course we had central heating, and although we had an open fire, we didn't rely on it for heat. How different it is here in our tiny, mountain village of El Hoyo!

When we first moved to Spain, one of our neighbours dragged us into his house to show off his central heating, fuelled by a huge tank of paraffin. "Nobody else in the village has central heating," he said proudly. He stood back, inviting us to examine it closely. Joe and I looked at the ugly setup. "That's wonderful!" we said enthusiastically. We didn't have the heart to tell him that central heating wasn't a novelty for us, and that everybody has it in Britain. And we didn't believe that southern Spain ever suffered much from the cold anyway.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Two Old Fools Need Ear-Plugs

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (10:55:31)   (1335 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Why does everything always happen all at once? This month has been crazy, so crazy that I nearly forgot to write this column. In the UK, they used to call me Schindler because I’m an incurable list-maker, and this list describes just a few of the recent events.

1) The village fiesta. This is never a quiet affair. For the whole weekend, processions marched past our front door, fireworks exploded and the dancing in the square carried on until 6 o’clock in the morning. We’re still finding rocket sticks in our garden and the chickens have gone on strike, flatly refusing to lay. Frankly, I don’t blame them. I couldn’t lay an egg with that noise going on.

2) My second book was released. This is the sequel to ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’. The telephone never stops ringing and my email inbox is full to overflowing. The paperback edition of ‘Two Old Fools - Olé’ will not be launched until next month, but the Kindle edition is already doing astonishingly well. Thank you, kind readers!    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Two Old Fools Fight Over Thongs

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (10:50:45)   (1729 Reads)

Victoria Twead

I always thought writing would be a gentle pastime. Sitting at a desk, fingers busily tapping the keyboard, ideas flowing from mind to computer in a steady creative stream. But it’s not like that in our household. For a start, if the words won’t come, I pace the kitchen, deep in thought. If Joe speaks, I snap at him, annoyed that he’s breaking into my train of thought.

Living in a tiny village in Spain is definitely inspirational. I can work undisturbed, gazing out onto the mountains between paragraphs. No sounds apart from the bee-eaters chattering as they fly through the valley in flocks, or Uncle Felix’s mule clattering through the streets. So there should be no distractions, right? Wrong, I’m afraid.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Life is Good for the Two Old Fools

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (10:47:53)   (2069 Reads)

Victoria Twead

We’ve been back home in Spain for a full month now, leaving Bahrain and the Arab Spring behind for ever. Memories of being under house arrest, the distant gun-shots, the helicopters and the protests are fading.

Our Spanish neighbours gave us a lovely welcome and their eyes grew large when we told them about our year away. Very few have ever been out of Spain, and our tales of teaching Arab children and the uprising astonished them. But it was the day-to-day stuff that really fascinated them.

“Madre mia!” Paco said as he sliced the serrano ham.
“No ham or pork at all? For a whole year?”
“And you had to cover yourselves up in that heat?” asked Carmen, gaping.
Coming back to our mountain village was like pulling on a favourite pair of old slippers. We threw ourselves into cleaning the house and evicting the spiders and lizards that had taken up residence while we were away. It didn’t take long, and we were soon comfortable again.    more ...