my galicia in decanter!


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Pretty exciting to get this in the mail today! My latest article in Decanter Magazine, this one on Galicia. It’s actually part of an 82 page supplement with the November issue, all about Spanish wines. I had a bit of a struggle with this one, not just because it was twice as long as the previous one, but it took awhile for me to feel good enough about it to send it in. Apparently Decanter was pleased with it though as they asked me to stay in touch and send them some pitches on different Spanish wine regions. So I think I can now add “Decanter Mag contributor” to my social media profiles   😉

enbhiga 2019


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Next week I’ll be back in Galicia attending ENBHIGA in the province of Ourense, roughly in the south east of Galicia. You may recall that I spent a day in and around Ourense last July when I went up to do research for a Decanter article. This time I will be part of an international and national group of 40 journalists and 10 tour operators (not sure which category I fall into… both?) who have been invited by the Ourense tourist board to get to know this lesser known part of Galicia through its gastronomy.

Last summer I visited three of the five DO wine regions in Galicia – Rías Baixas, Ribeiro, and Ribeira Sacra – so I was very excited to learn that this week-long event would be taking in the other two – Valdorras and Monterrei (whose wines have actually become the new “house wines” at Casa Azahar).

My friends and Super Fixers Anna & Jorge @guitianmayer have organised the itinerary, which is so full-on I fear for, well, something. Hopefully not my life. Perhaps my sanity? We shall see. I actually almost backed out because of the ABDOMINAL PAIN, lest I explode somewhere in the northern countryside and die of sepsis. But last time this went on for over two months without incident, so I will be popping paracetamol and hoping for the best.

Including travel days to Madrid and back the whole trip will be from Monday to Sunday. Full day itineraries Tuesday to Friday, and a half day on Saturday before being taken back to Madrid. Ufff… wish me luck!



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Difficultitisa chronic condition arising from repeatedly trying to get your doctor to take your complaints seriously. Symptoms include frustration (mild or otherwise), a sense of helplessness, loss of sleep and occasional tears. Although the cause has been well established there is so far no known cure.

I went to see the oncologist today fully armed with notes and print outs of the results from my last ultrasound and blood test, ready to tell her about my latest bout of diverticulitis, and ask about getting a blood test to check for possible infection. And well, that almost happened.

First of all, the possibility of having diverticulitis was shot down when I was told that my last colonoscopy (done a month after I had the first abdominal pain episode) didn’t show any evidence of diverticula, hence they couldn’t be inflamed if they’re not there. Okay…

So I went through my questions and the doctor said that, because of the new pain issue,  instead of an MRI (which had been recommended after the ultrasound) I’d be having a CAT scan. Even though I’d read that an MRI is much better than a CAT for detecting liver problems I was assured that a CAT was a preferred “two birds with one stone” approach. So, okay…

I asked the doctor if she had any idea what might be causing the abdominal pain (accompanied by shooting pain in my right arm and shoulder, just like the previous time) and she said no, and that this was why I was getting another CAT scan. And that was it.

My feeling is the liver issue is probably more important than this recurring abdominal pain thing, so a more specific test for that might be better? Rather than a shotgun approach to check out the entire abdominal area. Oh, and I had mentioned that the previous time I went to emergency with the belly pain they did a blood test to check for infection, but then forgot to ask if I should do this again, especially as I am supposed to be travelling next week and the CAT scan probably won’t be for a couple of weeks at least. So now I’m left waiting again.

I really miss my old oncologist. I felt she actually listened to me. Sadly she ended up with cancer and retired shortly afterwards. I mean, this new one is better than some of the awful ones I’ve experienced, but I just don’t feel “heard”, if you know what I mean.

VORS sherry cata


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As soon as I saw this tasting was coming up I knew I had to go. These monthly sherry tastings held by the Consejo Regulador are always worth going to. Presented by a member of the Consejo and either the winemaker or owner of the bodega (this time it was both), they are also excellent value. And this one with a selection of VORS sherries (over 30 years old) from Bodegas Álvaro Domecq was exceptionally so. 

After the tasting Anne, Paul and I met up with Tomoko for lunch at Albalá. And then I hobbled back to the train station (diverticulitis!) and made my way home. I think I may have overdone things a bit and was in bed by 9 pm, but it was a great day.