Tuesday, August 31, 2010


One of the highlights of our year is the Gala Folklorica Internacional de Ronda, which is held during the last few days of August or early September and is part of the Pedro Romero Feria.

Dance companies from all over the world are invited to perform at this prestigious event and this year featured groups from Martinique, Argentina, Ukraine, Poland, Turkey and Georgia! This Gala was formed in 1974 and is the oldest folk festival in Andalusia and during that time over 100 countries from all continents have taken part.

The location for this Gala is the Auditorio Blas Infante, an open air theatre situated on the edge of the Tajo that offers spectacular views of the valley.

The Gala is held over three days, starting at 10 o’clock each night and in addition to the featured countries, a group of dancers from the local Ronda school of flamenco perform at the start of each session.

It is also a tradition that representatives of each of the dance groups take part in the opening procession of the Ronda Feria, which starts at the bullring and travels slowly up La Bola to the Feria ground on the outskirts of town, where we are treated to a magnificent firework display, which signifies the opening of the Ronda Feria.



The fantastic Argentinians who, along with Georgia, stole the show!


A 'Cool Dude' from Martinique


The principal dancers of Georgia




Whirling Dervish

Sunday, August 22, 2010


After the thunder storms and heavy rain earlier in the week, we were left with this stunning sunset, which we would like to share with you…..

Very unusual to experience this type of weather here in August!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

OUR FIRST EGG.........

How eggciting!! Sorry couldn’t resist it!

Saturday 14th August: After several attempts, one of the chickens produced our first egg! The first five or six that they laid had soft shells, but the one pictured was absolutely perfect.

We had it for breakfast on Sunday and it was absolutely delicious.

We’re off and running…three eggs today!!

Yesterday, our friends Glen and Michelle Wolstencroft, who are over here on holiday at the moment, came up for lunch. Glen was an old golfing buddy of mine and it was lovely to see them both again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


When we moved to Spain back in 2007 one of our ambitions was to explore as much of the country as we could and the city we most wanted to see after Granada was Seville, the capital of Andalusia.

As Ed was staying with us at the time of our wedding anniversary, we decided to take advantage of the situation and arranged to spend a weekend there.

We found, what seemed to be a wonderful boutique hotel, which was well situated being only 10 minutes from the centre, and within easy reach of all of the places of interest and we were not disappointed. Hotel Amadeus is an old 18th century manor house that has been tastefully decorated and as the name suggests takes its inspiration from classical music. All fourteen rooms are named after famous composers and classical music was played in the lobby throughout the day. If you would like to see more photographs of the Hotel Amadeus take the following link to their website.. http://www.hotelamadeussevilla.com/

Although Seville is only an hour and a halfs’ drive from Ronda, we decided not to take the car, but travel up by bus, to avoid the parking problems in Seville. We were initially apprehensive, but it actually worked brilliantly and we would recommend it to anyone thinking of making the trip. The only thing to watch out for is that you are not guaranteed a seat on the bus from Ronda to Seville, as it starts its journey from the coast. As there is only one bus to Seville every morning, this could be a problem if you are only going for the day!

We arrived at the bus station of Seville at around 11:30 and even at that time it was unbearably hot; armed with our City street map we headed off to find the hotel, only to discover 10 minutes later that we had been walking in completely the wrong direction. By the time we eventually arrived in the vicinity of Hotel Amadeus, we were desperate for a drink and dived into the first available cafe!

Whilst we were there we got chatting to a lovely couple of Australian tourists from Brisbane who were sitting on the next table to us and who were struggling to order a coffee with skimmed milk; no mean task in Spanish! Gary and Jeanette were coming to the end of their European tour, so we persuaded them to visit Ronda and to look us up when they were there. Well, to our delight they did exactly that and we had the most wonderful evening with them at our place. Since their return down under we have kept in touch with them, with the hope that we will all meet up again one day in the future!

Jeanette and Gary
Stars of the World Wide Web

We had a really lovely weekend in Seville, although we didn’t visit too many of the principal sights, but it just gave us time to relax and enjoy each other’s company without the daily pressure of tending to the animals.

On the Saturday we did spend a lot of time at the Reales Alcazares, the Royal Palace in Seville, which was originally a Moorish fort. The extensive gardens of the Alcazares are quite spectacular; laid out with terraces, fountains and pavilions, they provide a delightful refuge from the heat and bustle of Seville.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the breakfast on the hotel’s roof terrace with a stunning view of the Cathedral across a jumble of terracotta roof tops. Sunday was the actual day of our anniversary, so we indulged ourselves with a leisurely breakfast and a bottle of champagne, which we shared with a charming American couple; Kathy and Bob Allen from Belmont, Massachusetts.

Lin on the roof terrace of Hotel Amadeus

On the Sunday afternoon we took the Guadalquivir River Cruise which sails along the river from where you get spectacular city views, including the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza (Seville’s 18th century bullring) and passes alongside the pavilions of the 1992 EXPO site.

Before we left for home, we managed to find Bar Europa, which is noted for its gourmet quality tapas! Although it is tucked away in the back streets of Seville it was well worth finding. The food and atmosphere were excellent and the goat cheese and apple gratinada was to die for.

Sadly, a weekend in Seville is clearing not enough time to appreciate all of the treasures of this intriguing city. We’ll just have to visit there again!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Michelle Obama and friends visit Ronda's famous bullring

Saturday 7th August 2010: We were in town having breakfast with our good friends Kathy and Ian, who told us that Michelle Obama, her youngest daughter Sasha and a group of family friends were visiting Ronda that very day.

After we had finished breakfast we joined the large street lined crowd of people all in the hope of getting a glimpse of the First Lady. Sadly, a glimpse was the best we could hope for! Admidst tight security a 15 car motorcade, consisting of two local police cars and the vast security escort of 13 4x4 bullet proof vehicles, sped the 250 metres from the Parador Hotel to Spain’s oldest bulling, Ronda’s Plaza de Toros! As the vehicle carrying the President's wife past us, the man in front of me raised his camera for a photograph and all I saw was her white gloved hand waving in a Queen like fashion!

It was an absolutely ludicrous situation and you felt the disappointment of all the people who had gathered to see her, some of whom, had been waiting for hours! Surely there has to be a better way....otherwise these high profile visits are pointless!

What sort of life is this for the wife of the American President anyway; quite clearly she is a First Lady who would delight in meeting and interacting with the people, but regretably is prevented from doing so for security reasons.

The same would apply to her journey up to Ronda from San Pedro through the Sierra Blanca mountains, which boast some of the most spectacular and picturesque views in the whole of Andalucia. Once you are high in the mountains you can look back and experience the most breathtaking views of coast and on a clear day one can see Gibraltar and the coast of Africa.

The question is, would she have been able to see them, sandwiched between bodyguards and secret service agents in an armoured vehicle racing up the narrow mountain road at high speeds, sirens wailing in fear of a terrorist attack! Probably not, which is really sad!

After visiting a number of the town's historic houses Mrs Obama stopped for lunch at the Restaurante Del Escudero, set in a 19th century villa that is located next to the bullring, before heading back to the five-star luxury Villa Padierna in Marbella, where the group are staying.

The First Lady and her entourage are due to attend a charity event hosted by actors Antonio Banderas and Eva Longoria on Saturday night and then lunch with Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia on the Sunday at their summer palace on the island of Majorca before flying home to Washington DC later in the week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


We are pleased to announce the birth of our new grandson, Dexter Guy Woolgrove born to Guy and Amanda at 1:42pm on Friday 30th July 2010 - Weight 6lbs 15ozs

Mother and baby both now back home and doing well….and Dad come to that!

We are absolutely thrilled….

Dexter with proud brother Ollie