san lorenzo 2020


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san lorenzo 2020

Today is the Día de San Lorenzo. In case you don’t know, the martyr San Lorenzo was put to a slow and painful death on top of a large gridiron with live coals beneath it and, the legend concludes that, after enduring the pain for a very long time he made his famous cheerful remark, “I’m well done on this side. Turn me over!”.

This is the first time in over five years that I haven’t attended the hectic San Lorenzo Day festivities at the Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo. Because of Covid, Ramón and Carmen took the decision not to reopen their bar until September. In any case, this celebration is not one that lends itself to social distancing. The place is packed all afternoon long, standing room only, with Ramón passing around platters of grilled flesh (sardines, chicken legs, sausages, etc) with everyone drinking a punch from Huelva called ponche alosnero.

It’s always a crazy time and I miss it.   ❤



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casa azahar guestroom

This morning I found a (thankfully dead) MASSIVE COCKROACH on the guestroom floor, just to the right of where Loki is sprawling in that photo. And even though it was dead – cats must have done it in, those heroes – it took all of my everything to pick the fucker up in a handful of paper towels and flush the dread thing down the toilet. And then of course it wouldn’t go down. Took four flushes to stop it from bobbing back up like an evil hallowe’en apple. For one mad moment I thought the water might revive it and it would come back to life. Aaaarrgh.

After the first two summers here without a sighting I thought this latest Casa Azahar was somehow magically protected from these horrors. But then last summer there was not just one, but two instances. After the second one I spent the rest of August sleeping with the living room lights on. I mean, I know they are “just bugs” and I that am way bigger than they are, but I am totally irrational about them. I used to feel this way about large spiders but that was before I met Periplaneta Americana.

Anyhow, hours after The Incident I am still suffering from PTHB (post traumatic heebie jeebies) and jumping at any slight something I see out of the corner of my eye. Probably a good time for a glass of wine, or six…

wines of northern spain


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sj evans

It’s taken three months to get here (don’t ask) but I have finally received my copy of The Wines of Northern Spain written by my friend Sarah Jane Evans MW. I ordered it back in April when the publisher had a special offer going and I had this rather naïve notion that I would be spending LOCKDOWN doing a lot of reading. Ha.

Have just had a quick look through and, man, this would have been so useful before I went up to Galicia last summer to do research for that Decanter article (in fact, it was Sarah Jane who first recommended me to Decanter, bless her!) but I had very short notice for that trip so there wasn’t time to order it then. Especially with a more than three month delivery time.

Actually, that was a mix up with my address. Three times. When I got in touch with the publisher after a month he wrote back saying the delivery company had come to my place twice and left notices for me to pick up the book at their drop off point. Well duh. Not likely since I was home all of May and June. Anyhow I got in touch again and they offered to give me a refund, but I was really keen on having this book, so they sent it a third time. This time they also took my phone number (don’t know why they didn’t do it in the first place) and last week I got a call from a guy who lives down the street saying his cleaning lady had taken in a package addressed to me. At his address. Duh. Anyhow, I finally got round to picking it up today because the guy said they were only at home in the evenings, and I don’t go out in the evenings, so we worked out a plan whereby he’d leave it at the shop across the street from me. But then it turned out they were leaving on holiday today and would be at home at midday… and so I finally have my book. Now I just have to get my brain out of lockdown mode…