green spain

Asturian Bears and Marmite and Olive Oil on Toast

Asturias, Picos de Europa

Photo: Asturias, Picos de Europa
Midnight nearly, and I’m too full of Marmite and olive oil on toast to sleep properly. Marina bought the Marmite – strange considering only 50% of British people are supposed to be able to stomach the yeasty black spread (I think it’s genetic, you have to like it at birth), and it is said to be all but deadly to anyone from beyond the UK at a distance of anything less than 10 feet.

A small jar cost us 7 euros in Madrid. Worth every centimo. Especially when spread over Extra-Virgin Olive Oil on white Galician bread. Really. I feel like I’m en la gloria.

Actually I think this insane happiness coursing through my veins at midnight near the end of February has got a lot to do with a) a very sunny afternoon walk in Madrid’s early-blossoming Retiro Park, and b) fruit trees.

We (‘the company’) just bought 120 fruit trees through a charity in Asturias called Fapas: the “Fondo para la protección de los animales salvajes”. They will be planted somewhere in the Picos de Europa mountains to help feed, and thus repopulate, the dwindling wild bear population, (plus sort out a bit of this pesky CO2 problem at the same time.)

The money for these trees came from the sale of our latest product at, the ‘Crisis Collection’, recorded with our good friend Isabel who is profoundly and infectiously in love with the environment and suggested we donate our promised percentage from this latest launch to this particular charity.

So, there are to be 120 trees with Spanish learners names on them (figuratively) in those wondrous fairy tale mountains in Northern Spain, and that makes me very happy and incredibly grateful to everyone that buys our stuff. This post is really by way of thanks, thanks for El Bosque Notes in Spanish – The Notes in Spanish Forest.

We shall continue to send a percentage of any profit we make to worthy destinations, and I hope you won’t mind if I very occasionally tell you about it. I feel genuinely happy about it, and really hope this doesn’t come across as smug or ‘halo-polishing’. It simply makes work even more rewarding and fun than it is already. And again, this is by way of thanks to anyone that reads this or uses our Spanish materials.

On a sort of related/unrelated note…

When I was young I was obsessed with the idea of being a nature program film maker. This is probably a very very common ambition – especially amongst Spanish people I imagine, who love to siesta to overdubbed nature programmes on hot summer afternoons. Perhaps one day I’ll get the chance to go and film those bears in Asturias. Now there’s a dream worth pursuing… an idea even more exciting than another slice of Marmite and olive oil on toast.

Update: Email from the charity Fapas… “Hola Marina: vamos a preparar una ficha específica del Bosque Notes in Spanish que podréis ver en la web del proyecto … Mi compañero Luis, la persona responsable de las plantaciones me comentó ayer que tiene ya localizada una finca para plantar vuestros 120 árboles … Un saludo y gracias por vuestra generosa colaboración”