Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free
Insurance, FX and international movers
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!
From our tax, investment and FX partners
Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.
Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Two Old Fools on a Camel

  Posted Wednesday January 04, 2012 (10:00:31)   (1306 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Ironic isn’t it? Our grapes will be ready in a couple of weeks, but we won’t be eating them. They’ve never looked better; plump, blushing purple, huge heavy bunches ripening in the Spanish sun. And we’ll never taste them.

They are building a new council building in the village which should be ready in time for the Fiesta. But we won’t attend the opening celebration. And we won’t be dancing at the Fiesta.

I’m busy writing the sequel to ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’. It will be called ‘Two Old Fools - Olé’ but I won’t finish it here in Spain, in our village.

Isn’t it astonishing how one click of the mouse can change your life forever?

It was Joe’s fault, of course. We haven’t actually been employed since 2004 when we moved to Spain. We manage quite well, but the battering the Euro has taken in the Credit Crunch hasn’t helped our finances. So when Joe saw an advertisement for teaching posts in Bahrain, he applied.

To our amazement, the response was immediate. “Mr Joe, We are most interested in your application. Please forward copies of your qualifications.” So he did.

Then it snowballed. Not only did the Bahraini school want Joe as a Maths teacher, but they wanted me, too, to teach English in their Middle School. The salary isn’t huge, but it’s tax-free, and they will provide a two-bedroomed flat with all utilities paid, medical insurance, flights to and from Bahrain and transport to work. And the best part? It’s only for ONE YEAR.

We signed the contracts two days ago, and already have our flight e-tickets. We leave in less than a week and the house looks like a bombsite. There are boxes, suitcases, piles of books, heaps of papers and mounds of clothes. So much to do!

Paco next door has offered to feed the chickens, bless him. We’ve found good homes for the kittens and their mother. I’ve been doing my Widow Twanky impression, wash-load after wash-load of our smart clothes. We haven’t worn any of them since we last worked in the UK in 2004.

My head is spinning. I feel like a have a tight band round my chest when I look at the mountains that surround us, or hear the village mule, or the churchbells, or our crazy neighbours playing flamenco guitar in the street. How can we exchange all that for a year of work, deserts and city life?

But it’s only for a year, I tell myself. Our beloved El Hoyo, the house, the villagers, everything will be still be here when we return. I shall carry on writing a monthly column for Expat Focus, but from Bahrain. And what an opportunity to gather material for a third book! ‘Two Old Fools on a Camel’, perhaps?

My recipe of the month - Olive Oil Infusions

(Recipe courtesy of

Flavoured Olive Oils are a favourite here in Andalucia...

Add extra flavour and aroma to a bottle of olive oil by simply adding a few ingredients and let them infuse together. So easy to make and the longer you keep it the more intense the flavour.

To make:

Simply add any of the following ingredients to the olive oil. You can add the ingredients on their own or combine them how you like.

Choose from:

• whole peeled cloves of garlic
• sprigs of thyme
• sprigs of rosemary
• whole black peppercorns
• dried chilli peppers

Once the oil has been allowed to rest and infuse (at least a week) use it to drizzle over salads or pizzas, spice up pasta or simply serve with crusty bread for a true Spanish delight.

Victoria is the author of 'Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools' (available at Amazon UK or Amazon USA) and 'Two Old Fools - Olé' (also available at Amazon UK or Amazon USA)

“a charming and funny expat tale” The Telegraph (UK)
“Weeks later you will be doing the dishes and recall some fleeting scene with chickens or mules or two old fools and laugh out loud all over again.” The Catalunya Chronicle

Contact Victoria by email on or via her website at

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.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Cigna Global

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.

Copyright © 2019 Expat Focus. All Rights Reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use/Privacy Policy. Comments are property of their posters.
Interactive software released under GNU GPL, Code Credits, Privacy Policy