sunday song – cucurrucucu paloma



First time I ever heard this song, performed by Caetano Veloso, was while watching this Almodóvar film, Hable con Ella, many many years ago. Then today I was watching the gritty and gripping Moonlight, Best Film winner at this year’s Oscars… and suddenly a snippet of this song turned up again. Ohhhh… it took me back. It’s just so lovely.

And here is another live version…

a special night…


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Ania & Delia

We did it! A very special night out with 45 guests who were here all week for conference meetings, and who asked me to arrange something nice for their final evening in Sevilla. And it was fabulous. But I couldn’t have done it without these two… nor without this guy…

Juan Tarquini

And special thanks to the always fabulous Vineria San Telmo team. They are the best! And the best compliment ever? That we turned a corporate event into something that felt very personal.  🙂


cold showers



So yeah, I know I’ve been complaining about how HOT it is here, and how we can only somewhat cool down the living room in this house. Then yesterday, on the longest – and also hottest – day of of the year, the gas water heater conked out. And while you might think it’s quite nice to take a cool shower after coming in from a power walk (and it is) it’s another thing not to be able to take a proper shower in the morning with at least warm water. Not to mention we’re now boiling water to do the washing up. And still no word on when this will be repaired…

getting the ol’ heave-ho



I’ve tried, I really have. But basically every encounter with my landlords over the past year or so has ended up being an incredibly stressful exercise in frustration. From the beginning they didn’t seem inclined to do basic repairs, but the first real confrontation started with the now infamous “split scenario” which began here and ended up becoming a full-on disaster here. Later on they refused to replace the (very old!) oven after the door fell off, telling me to buy new one and then “take it with you when you leave”. Nice. Presumably I shouldn’t let the door hit me on the way out. Other reasonable requests for repairs have also gone ignored.

I’m so sorry now I ever agreed to the “quick fix” split solution as they have used this against me ever since … “but it’s what you wanted Shawn!”. Well, no. It wasn’t. And they know that. I had actually wanted the option of a split in the living room so I didn’t have to always heat/cool the entire apartment. I didn’t foresee that agreeing to the split last summer would mean they would take this as not having to repair or replace the central system, which died in July. Blah blah… it kept going on.

Later on I signed a new contract for a year, at a higher rent, thinking that it would at least give me time to find somewhere else. But when things started heating up here (+45º!) it meant that we were reduced to living in two rooms as the inadequate split just barely keeps the living room below 28º even when left on all day. This means that Peter can’t even be in his room upstairs for more than 5 minutes, and now has to sleep on the sofa. And my room next to the living room is also an oven. So I tried one last ditch attempt to set things right here. I arranged a meeting with the landlords, myself and Peter… and a bilingual friend who would help make sure that nothing got “lost in translation”. But in the end this didn’t help, because two days later I received notice that I would be getting the heave-ho after the present contract runs out in February. You see, the landlords seem to think they could be getting LOTS MORE MONEY from this property. They even spoke about AirBnB-ing it. Boy are they in for a surprise.

And so… I am once again house hunting. Luckily I have a few months to find somewhere that I hope will feel like home. But already seeing places with – for example – that bathroom up there, gives me hope. That bathroom is twice the size of the dark and cramped “under the stairs” room I’ve put up with for 6.5 years.

Meanwhile, the hot water heater stopped working yesterday. Oh joy. Still waiting to hear if that is going to be repaired…

wine tastings


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I’ve been doing sherry tastings at various venues over the past few years, but recently I found a great place – and a great “biz partner” – that allows me to start offering them on a regular basis. But why stop there? To wit, I am now offering late afternoon sherry tastings and also regional wine tastings, perfectly paired with tasty tapas. Check em out…

My Wine Tastings



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Remember when I met Tim @clinchpics earlier this month? Well, turns out his friend Elaine also runs workshops at the same fabulous place –  Finca Buenvino – in the beautiful Aracena mountains. So while she was in Sevilla this week we met up a couple of times. First was taking in the whole Corpus Christi thang, as usual before the actual procession starts. We walked the route, then went for brekkie, and afterwards watched some of the procession before heading home.

Later that same evening Elaine joined me on a tapas tour, with two other couples, and it was great fun. She has such great energy and is smart, sassy and well-travelled. We really had a great time together. The good news is that Elaine has fallen in love with Sevilla and is working on a plan to live here at least a few months a year… so we may end up being neighbours!

corpus 2017


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I’ve only missed Corpus here four times in 24 years: once when I was in Granada, another time when I was in Lisbon, then London in 2015, and *that other time* when I was too sick on chemo to go out. Since my first ever Corpus I have followed the advice of my friend (and one of my first English students here) Agustín, who told me the best part of Corpus here is getting up super early and walking the rosemary and flower petal strewn procession route before the procession starts (and everything gets trampled underfoot).

This year we got an even earlier start than usual and invited new pal Elaine to join us. And bonus! We actually came across the guys who were strewing the rosemary (a first for me). Although as lovely as always, there were fewer decorated balconies than on previous years, and it was also sad not to have our usual post-walk coffee & toast at the Horno San Buenaventura (which closed all its brances this past year). But as usual, we left while the procession was in full swing, heading home before the HEAT became too much. Here are some pics (and one vid)…

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sherry time!


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During the last Vinoble (in May 2016) one of my best “souvenirs” was buying one of these very cool pins that had been designed by Carmen from Bodeguas Gutiérrez Colosía, but shortly after I posted this photo, it went missing and I was heart broken. Then when I knew I’d be visiting El Puerto de Santa María again this week I asked Carmen if she had any left. And she did. ONE. Which she left for me at her fabulous tapas and sherry bar Bespoke.  🙂

And of course while we were there we had to try a couple of sherry cocktails…