Monday, September 15, 2008


The Legendary 'Deep Purple'

Would you believe it……… I entered a competition on the website and to my surprise won a pair of tickets to ‘The Deep Purple’ concert at the Estepona bullring for last Friday night the 12th September. Needless to say Lin had never heard of them!!!

Well we had a really great time! We set of from home at around 4pm and decided to drive down through the Genel Valley via the white villages of Gaucin and Algatocin, which offers fantastic scenery and views.

Before the concert we had a superb meal at the ‘Bangkok’ Thai Restaurant near to the Estepona harbour, which was a real treat for us, as the types of restaurants in Ronda are very limited.

Lin at Estepona Harbour

The White Village of Algatocin

This was Lin’s first experience of a rock concert and I don’t think she was over impressed! She appeared to be paralysed in her seat by the wall of sound which vibrated through our bodies!

I loved it……. I thought Deep Purple were absolutely incredible and I got to hear one of my favourite tracks ‘ Smoke on the Water’ played live……………………….


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Miguel Angel Perera

Very close to the Royal Box!

The Damas Goyescas arrive!


Preparations begin!!

Over the past year or so I have had many discussions with our friend and neighbour Alvaro on the subject of bullfighting. They would always end up by him saying to me ‘before you can have an informed opinion on the subject you must experience one for yourself’

I knew I would only go once, so I wanted to experience a top meeting and coincidentally it would appear that the most important bullfight of the year is held annually at our own Ronda Bullring during the ‘Feria Goyesca de Pedro Romero in September, where all the participants dress in the traditional 18th-19th century costumes.

However, only the very best matadors are invited to take part in this event and tickets are virtually impossible to get hold of. It’s similar to our own FA Cup Final at Wembley! Apparently, tickets were changing hands on the black market for over 1,000 euros! Well to my surprise I managed to get hold of a ticket, via one of my close ex-pat friends who is well connected in the La Real Maestranza de Ronda.

The day of the bullfight arrived and I was struggling with my conscience and began to have second thoughts as to whether or not I actually wanted to go! Prior to the bullfight there is a costume parade of the matadors, toreadors and the Damas Goyescas (18 beautiful ladies in traditional costumes) in horse-drawn carriages that travel through the centre of the town ending at Ronda’s historic bullring, the oldest in Spain.

Best Matador of the Day - Jose Maria Manzanares

The four matadors that were scheduled to perform where the famous four, Francisco River Ordonez, Jose Maria Manzanares, Miguel Angel Perara and Cayetano Rivera. Unfortunately, Cayetano Rivera had been badly gored by a bull at the ’Plaza de Toros de Palencia a week before and was in the intensive care unit at the Palencia hospital, so obviously was unable to take part.

I had a fantastic seat, only 5 metres from the Royal Box and was rubbing shoulders with Giorgio Armani, The Duchess of Alba, Julio Iglesias, Paz Vega (Spanish Actress) Manuel Chaves (President of the Junta de Andalucia and PSOE Party) Magdalena Alvarez (Minister of Public Works) and Mariano Rajoy (Leader of the Conservative Popular Party)

I knew I was a part of something very special for the Spanish people and I felt privileged to be there. I sat next to a man from Switzerland, who had lived in Spain for sometime, and it had taken him 15 years to get a ticket to this event. The atmosphere was overwhelming and consuming and you could feel the passion of the crowd upon the arrival of the matadors. There is no doubting that these men are incredibly skilful, graceful and brave as they perform their art. However, as I had imagined, all of the splendour was over shadowed by the torture of the bull and its ultimate death.

These magnificent animals enter the arena with pride and spirit and twenty minutes later, humbled and humiliated by the skill of the matador are unceremoniously hauled away by the horns in an undignified fashion. Furthermore, if they haven’t performed well, and you have to ask yourself why they should, they are jeered and booed from the arena. Having given the crowd so much obvious pleasure, in my opinion they deserve better than that.

Having decided to live in Spain, I have to respect their culture and traditions, but having now experienced a bullfight for myself, my opinions of it have not changed.

The atmosphere in the town after the bullfight was electric….. There were thousands of people milling around, all the outside bars were packed and a large number of film crews and photographers were everywhere, hoping to get an interview or photograph of one of the many celebrities that were in attendance.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Sadly, this beautiful snake got tangled up in the netting that we had placed over our vegetable patch and perished in the blistering sun that we have had here throughout August!

To be perfectly honest we did approach it with trepidation just in case in was just asleep! Once we realised that we had been responsible for it’s death we were both mortified!

We know there are a total of 13 snakes present in Spain, five of which are venomous. These are the Seoane's viper, Asp viper, Snub-nosed viper, False smooth snake and the Montpellier snake.

We've no idea what snake this is, but we are rather hoping that it is (or was) one of the eight that are not venomous!

Any suggestions to what it might be would be gratefully received......


After 4 years of happily living next door, our neighbour’s Jack Russell named ‘Sally’ has discovered that she can escape through the fencing and has decided to adopt us!

Initially, she only ventured into the field where we keep our Alpacas, but now she sleeps on our patio, joins in our daily walks and spends most of the day in close vicinity of the house, sleeping with Nuri and Luna.

We did try taking her back to our neighbour’s house a number of times at the beginning, but she is a determined little bugger and kept coming back with us! Needless to say, she has won the day and it now looks as if we have three dogs, much to the disgust of ‘Nuri’ who is not that keen on the situation at present.


Before we left the UK back in April 2007, Monica (one of Lin’s old work colleagues at the University) very kindly gave us a clump of Pampas Grass from her garden, which Eddie and I brought down to Spain on the lorry with our furniture and other belongings.

We planted it out almost immediately, but sadly after a year or so there was little to no growth. However, suddenly from the middle of July (as you can see) there has been an amazing transformation!

It obviously feels at home now!


We’re back! Sorry, but we’ve had a very busy month and as a result have not had time to update our BLOG! However, we have every intention of rectifying that this coming week!

My daughter Sophie and her boyfriend Stuart came over for 10 days at the beginning of August, which was nice. Sadly, this is one of the downsides of emigrating is that you don’t get to see your children as often as you would like.

Above is a photograph of Sophie (who will be 20 years old this December) and Stuart taken at the lakes near to Ardales, which we discovered earlier this year. Sophie, who as you can see from her painting of Tower Bridge, is a very talented artist, will be going to Southampton University, based in Winchester later this year, where she will be studying Textiles, Fibres and Design.

Tower Bridge by Sophie Hall

I had a bit of a close shave when I was driving to the Airport to collect Sophie & Stuart. I was just approaching Monte Corto when I experienced a ‘blow out’ which was a bit scary to say the least, as I was over-taking a car at the time at a fairly high speed. The Discovery lurched to one side and then the other and for a few seconds I had lost control of it completely. To make matters worse, as the car dropped down onto the wheel hub, it broke the steering shaft and coupling, so I wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry.

Sophie and Stuart had to sort themselves out a Taxi from Jerez Airport to Ronda, which cost €150 (ouch) and with a little help from our friend Eduardo from the Arriadh Hotel, the Disco was transported back to the Land Rover Garage in Ronda on the back of a Tow-Truck!! Two days later and a €1,000 lighter the Disco was returned to us fully repaired.