Bocadilla on a Bench

Some years ago I took a train from Nice to Barcelona. As we crossed into Spain the whole mood in the carriage changed. Instead of petite French women nibbling on fruit, there were curvy, lively Spanish girls, talking and laughing. And out of their bags, wrapped up in shiny foil, they pulled bocadillas, big sandwiches, overflowing with ham, cheese, tomatoes … Read More

Desayuno, El Muerzo, Menu del Dia – eating out in Valencia

With all restaurants, bars and cafes out of action, it feels strange to walk the streets of this usually vibrant city, where you’re never more than 30 seconds from a snack or a one euro coffee, to see shutters down and closed doors. Takeaways are still on offer, but for someone who spends such a lot of time eating out, … Read More

My Happy Life as a Midlife Nomad

Twelve years ago in May 2008 I sold my beloved home in London and began a new and wonderful life. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the old one, but at 48, with my only child at University, I felt it was time to make a big, bold change. However, the next day once we were in the car, heading … Read More

Meetings and Greetings in Covid Valencia

Spanish people greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks. They repeat this when they say goodbye. They do it automatically, without question in nearly every situation, both informal or formal. Not to do so is considered rude, a little cold. I have struggled with this at times over the last seven years, since I first came to live … Read More

Eating Out for England

After weeks of repetitive lockdown cooking and washing up in Wales I was excited to return to London, where the restaurant world was doing its best to operate normally. The weather was mild and sunny and most places had outdoor tables, strategically placed so customers could easily distance. Some were extending Eat Out to Help Out into September, offering enticing … Read More

Summer Trundling 2020 and the Power of Friendship

Beyond 5 Miles The relaxation of the 5 Miles rule in Wales on July 6th and the opening of the tourist market on 13th July brought far more freedom as travelling to and from England became possible. It was time to leave the village of Maentwrog and head for London. Time to reflect a little too. And to contemplate how … Read More

May Day in Maentwrog

After seven weeks here, except for the saddest day trip to Staffordshire, my routine is so set, that I sometimes get it muddled up. I put my door keys in the coffee pot and my lipstick in the bread bin. I fill my hot water bottle just as I am due to go for my morning walk. Mostly though I … Read More

The Strangest Spring

Three Weeks and Counting The sun has shone every day for so long that I can’t remember when it rained. I have rarely known such wonderful weather here in North Wales. Today is a glorious bonanza of blues and greens, yellows and pinks. There are clusters of wild violets and primroses, blazing red rhododendrons, early bluebells and creamy blossom, fluffy … Read More