…AND HOW I DERIVED SOMETHING POSITIVE FROM OUR MOST NEGATIVE EPISODE The past twelve Covid-19-infested months included, by far the bleakest time my wife Dido and I have shared together was our enforced eight-month sojourn in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, back in the early 1990’s, described in earlier posts ( here and here). Yet, few circumstances, however dire,Continue reading “MOODY BLUES AND STORMY HUES…”


and the dramatic potential of the humble pencil… My recent post on line drawing was so well received that I thought I would follow it up with this look at a set of my more studied drawings from 1996. The images here will be familiar to some, as they form the basis of one ofContinue reading “DRAWING LIGHT AND SHADE…”


…BUT WHERE THE ALMOND blossom is ALWAYS WHITER I nearly titled this as a third straight “yearning” post, in the sense that after three months lock-down here in Oxford we are desperate to get back to our finca in southern Spain. But seeing as we are actually returning there tomorrow I decided on a catchierContinue reading “WHERE THE GRASS IS (nearly) ALWAYS BROWNER…”


WIshing all my friends, viewers and followers a happy 2020 The single most impressive feature of our lives since we purchased our mountain finca (smallholding) in southern Spain, and becoming part-time farmers in 1993, is how it dramatically increased our awareness of the passing seasons. A perception intensified by having planted the best part ofContinue reading “STARTING OUR 28th YEAR AT FINCA CARMEL”


…and how two ice cream ladies ended up being PORTRAYED on the wall of the chilean embassy in london… During our 1991 visit to Chile we took a day-trip from Santiago to Valparaiso, to have a look at the National Congress building, but mainly to try and get a feel for one of the greatContinue reading “UNEXPECTED TERPSICHORE…”


obsession or INTERPRETATION? Generally, one associates the concept of theme and variations with music. From Classical to Heavy Rock (e.g. Brahms’ wonderful takes on that tune of Haydn’s or more recently Leslie West’s fabulous live improvised versions of his own Swan Theme on the album Flowers of Evil) and all idioms in between and beyond,Continue reading “VARIATIONS ON THEMES”

OUR “WHITE PRAETORIAN” – a portrait of Aura, our Italian guard and friend…

Although I promised the resumption of normal posting for this piece, I’d forgotten that I would be in Oxford, and thus geographically separated from my two hard-drives (one in Jönköping in Sweden, the other in southern Spain). So, for the third successive post I’m restricted to the material I carry around on my laptop and hence,Continue reading “OUR “WHITE PRAETORIAN” – a portrait of Aura, our Italian guard and friend…”

BLOOD, SWEAT AND LAUGHS – wine making at Finca Carmel

Regular readers of these posts will know all about our finca (small holding) in southern Spain and especially the adventures we had building our house. However, what I haven’t done thus far is said that much about the little farm itself. Our biggest crop is from our two small vineyards (about 1000 vines in all),Continue reading “BLOOD, SWEAT AND LAUGHS – wine making at Finca Carmel”


We’re now back on our finca here in southern Spain for the Easter / Passover break (and a happy whichever one you may or may not celebrate), and in our case, dozens of farming chores of varying degrees of arduour. In other words, time is precious and I can only devote the bare minimum ofContinue reading “SKATING (AND DANCING) ON THICK ICE”

TWO (and a big white dog) AGAINST THE WORLD…

Last March I published a post describing how we became stranded in Boulogne sur Mer for eight months and in which I promised to follow that up with a record of some our  subsequent Boulognaise tragicomic adventures. However, one of the many modern problems associated with a life lived in three disparate European locations isContinue reading “TWO (and a big white dog) AGAINST THE WORLD…”