Glad I’m sweating it out in Madrid

Well, it may be too hot too often here, but it could be worse. I could have spent 100 pounds on a brand new tent and who knows how much on a ticket for Glastonbury festival in South West England – and ended up under water. The world is going crazy. No flash floods here though. A pretty decent thunderstorm last night, and a load of rain, but nothing more than ‘4 gotas’, four drops, as the locals say.

Meanwhile the papers say that Andalusia, Murcia and Valencia may turn into deserts in the new future if drastic action isn’t taken…. Could it happen? Parts of Valencia and Andalusia are unbelievably green – but then Almeria is already part desert, and large parts of Murcia look like the face of the moon… I blame the golf courses…


Hotting up – The week ahead

Oh yes, not even July yet and the temperatures are rising nicely… a bit more global warming and this city will become uninhabitable.


Crazy Spanish timing…

…never fails to suprise me. Yesterday we were invited to dinner with some Spanish friends.We arrived at 10.30 p.m., pretty late for a Friday night meal I thought, even by Spanish standards… but we were the first to arrive! The last were the couple with the 5-month-old twins. We sat down to eat an enormous plate of pasta at about 11.30 p.m., and got home at 4.30 a.m. Thank God for that early evening siesta, the only break in a typical 21 hour Friday.

Meanwhile, two more websites. is my attempt to create a blogosphere in Spain – people living here or just passing through and blogging all the way. And – a collaborative venture with Rafe Jaffrey, bringing you podcast interviews and travel from Spain. Check out the last interview, with Clark Boyd from the BBC.


The joys of being a translator…

A warning to anyone considering translation as a career. There will be sunny Saturday mornings when you are stuck inside translating sentences like this:

Es un método en el que el avance de la excavación se ajusta con gran versatilidad a las condiciones del terreno y en el que se utiliza entibación cuajada con tablones de madera como sostenimiento provisional, dejando en las sucesivas fases de la excavación de la sección de avance una porción muy limitada de la misma, cuya amplitud se ajusta a las condiciones existentes, sin entibación hasta que se coloca ésta.

Aaahhh! Help!!!


Podcast No. 4 ! Where to live and work in Spain

It’s another Notes from Spain podcast! First part of a series on living in Spain.

Where to Live and work in Spain – show notes:

  • San Sebastian and the North Coast
  • Madrid – a word of warning!
  • Valencia – Las Fallas!
  • Barcelona
  • Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Malaga
  • Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz
  • Seville
  • Cordoba
  • Granada and the Alpujarras – the best of Spain?
  • Where not to live in Spain…

Click here to listen (30 mins, 13 mb).


Quiero moto

23:55 – 22 ºC – rain, refreshing

I passed my motrbike test the other day. A horrible business in Spain – driving around a series of cones before negotiating a 5 m long, 6inch wide raised iron bar. I saw several people fail on this part of the exam, including one poor girl who was moved to tears, before finally managing to pass the test myself. Incredible… I was sure I was bound to fail. So now I am in the market for a medium sized motorbike. Luckily I have my friends at to help… this is the power of the net, where everyone is an expert in something and happy to help anyone with questions. Great.

So, should it be a honda cbf 500, or a suzuki? It’s all academic really as I haven’t got a penny to spare! Still, por ahora tengo la Vespa, asi que… paciencia…


Joder que temperature rise…

Saturday afternoon, 7 p.m., 34 degrees in the flat. This country is crazy.

One minute it’s a nice kind of spring, (almost literally a minute, spring is usually as short-lived as it is pleasant – i.e. very), and the next thing you know, bang! mid-thirties all day and all night long. It plays tricks on the brain, the siesta becomes a total necessity, not just some funny Spanish stereotype. Worst of all is what my wife has just informed me is known as a ‘Bochorno’ – heavy weather, formation of cloud, very hot – but there’s no way it’s going to give in and clear the air with a nice burst of rain.

Damn it’s hot. And this is only the beginning, from here on up into the 40’s – yipee!


What England is coming to?

Hoodie ban for violent teenager


An revelation about the internet…

Much as I love it, the internet used to worry me, I thought it may have the power to turn us all into recluses, shut up at home ‘surfing’, or blogging away to ourselves… But quite the opposite is occuring. Forums, blogosheres, yahoo groups – they are bringing people together in person, not just in cyberspace as I had once feared. For example, local motorcyclists are meeting other motorbike enthusiasts through forums, and organising weekly bike rides around Madrid; last week I heard a podcast with Clark Boyd, a BBC podcaster from the states who was interested in meeting podcast listeners whilst on a trip to Spain, and indeed we are set to meet up in a couple of weeks. How the hell did people ever meet other like-minded people in the past? Well, I suppose it justy took a little longer…

So, it’s no longer just lovers and conferencing bloggers that are getting together via the net – there’s a big shared interests thing taking off here and I think it’s going to be big. Thank God – I thought for a minute that the net, despite all its wonders, might become a hinderance to a large part of (social) life as we know it….


Podcast no. 3 !! Views from the roof terrace…

Podcast – 25th May 2005 !

It’s another Notes from Spain podcast! This one is basically a terraza cast rambler including:

  • How to get in touch
  • A surprise from the porter
  • Views from the roof of our building
  • This morning’s bomb, the end of advertising and the dumbing down of tv

Click here to listen (16mins, 7mb).