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!3) The Gin Twins came for their annual visit. Of course they were as badly behaved as ever, and I dread to think how many bottles of gin they consumed between them. But, as usual, we had a blast. We went exploring villages, got lost numerous times, lazed by a friend’s pool, played Rude Scrabble and ate and drank far too much. I’ve just taken them to the airport but my face still aches from laughing.
4) Mysterious water started trickling out of the wall in our workshop. Joe investigated and smashed up a bunch of floor tiles, then dug into the wall until he found the cause. A piece of copper piping had developed a hole and the water must have been trickling gaily for weeks, judging by the state of the wall. Our house walls are a metre thick and made of stones and mud, and the whole area is saturated. It’ll take a few weeks to dry out but at least it’s not inside the house.
5) Workmen appeared in the village. I thought they’d come to take down the fiesta lights and bunting, but no, I was wrong. Instead, they’ve been noisily digging random holes in the street outside our house. Our water is cut off at intervals, always when somebody is in the shower all soaped up, or when we’ve been digging in the garden (or workshop floor) and desperate to wash our hands.
So, I offer a piece of friendly advice. If you’ve been toying with the idea of moving to rural Spain for some peace and quiet, perhaps you should reconsider. Living in a remote Spanish mountain village is not necessarily the undisturbed, tranquil lifestyle you may have imagined…
Do join me on Facebook to find out how we’re coping, day to day.
Mediterranean Chicken – as cooked by the Gin Twins
(Recipe courtesy of Orce Serrano Hams)
A lovely Mediterranean style roast chicken, with lots of herbs and seasonal vegetables. It just goes into the oven and cooks itself!
You will need:
1 whole medium fresh chicken
2 green or red peppers
2 medium onions
1 medium courgette
Salt and pepper
• Wash the chicken inside and out, removing any giblets, and pat dry. Place in a large oiled roasting tin.
• Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper and sprinkle generously with oregano and thyme.
• Cook in a high oven for about 20 minutes, basting with the juices.
• Prepare the vegetables by washing and/or peeling and chopping into cubes.
• Add the vegetables to the pan and lower the oven heat to ‘medium’, then cook for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the chicken.
• You can check the chicken is done by inserting a thin knife between the leg and breast. If the juices run clear then the chicken is cooked, if not, leave for another 20 minutes.
• Serve immediately with boiled, roast or mashed potatoes or lots of fresh bread to mop up the juices.
“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