Interview with mad Spanish chicken lady Victoria Twead

For my interview today I am delighted to invite Victoria Twead who is clearly mad in the most positive exciting romantic brave and enterprising way possible. I have only just met her through her excellent blogpost  5-Star Book Corner, (a showcase for books with 25 (or more) 5-Star Amazon reviews) but I have begun reading her book Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools in which she describes giving up a perfectly normal sensible middle-aged life in England, with central heating, plumbing, fitted carpets, and regular visits to Tesco, for life in a crumbling tumbledown ruin with none of the above (not even a kitchen) in a deserted Spanish village in the middle of nowhere. See what I mean? Mad!

But let her tell it in her own words. Here we go. Victoria Twead LRVictoria, what is the most important choice you have made in life? What might have happened if you had chosen differently?

One rainy August Bank Holiday nine years ago, I decided to change my life completely. Well, not just my life, but my husband’s as well. Joe was nearing retirement, and as I watched the raindrops chase down the window, I thought, why not move somewhere sunny? Somewhere quiet, somewhere with no traffic, somewhere where the sun shines every day? So, after some determined nagging, I managed to persuade Joe that we should retire to Spain. With the kids grown and flown, we were free do as we pleased.

We were lucky. We moved to a tiny mountain village where life is in tune with the seasons and the sun shines most days. Our neighbours are colourful: Uncle Felix, whose mule is in love with him, the raucous Ufarte family, beer-swilling Geronimo, too many to mention…

Almond blossom

And if we hadn’t moved? I guess we’d still be in England with umbrellas in the cupboard by the front door. We would never have owned the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. And I would never have written CHICKENS, MULES AND TWO OLD FOOLS and its sequels.

Look out of your window – now! What can you see?

It’s spring here in Spain already, and the sky is cloudless and impossibly blue above the mountain tops. An eagle soars, one of a pair that nest every year in the crags above our village. The almond blossom is finishing, but wildflowers carpet the ground. Uncle Felix’s mule is conducting a conversation with the handsome mule in the next village, her head in the air, ears rattling and lips peeled back to expose long teeth. The chickens are scratching the ground, digging up juicy worms and calling excitedly to each other. I think I live in paradise.

Donkey DSCF3386

You wake up at 3 a.m. It’s dark and quiet. You press the light switch, but no light comes on. What next?

Ah, that’s easy! An absence of electricity is a regular occurrence here in our mountain village. The power supply is haphazard.  The village is always quiet, except at fiesta time and summer evenings when our neighbours twang guitars and dance flamenco in the street. Our bedroom is a cave room, so it’s always dark and quiet. What would I do? Roll over and go back to sleep.

What is your favorite smell?

Nice question! Our neighbours still cook over an open fire and the aromas that waft out of their front door are tantalising. The villagers cook delicious, traditional, Spanish food, and I’ve collected the recipes, adding them into my books. That’s why the subtitle of CHICKENS, MULES AND TWO OLD FOOLS is ‘Tuck into a slice of Andalucían Life’. This answer is making me hungry…

MC11 pablo paella 001 M

Thank you so much, Victoria! Never let it be said that older folk can’t be brave, romantic and foolish. If you want to read more, why not buy the book below. It’s a fun read, I’m halfway through already. (I read some more in the Tesco car park yesterday afternoon!!) 

CHICKENS, MULES AND TWO OLD FOOLS  Amazon UK

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Victoria’s website (with recipes!)  www.VictoriaTwead.com

Check it out. They don’t cook food like this in Tesco!

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13 Responses to Interview with mad Spanish chicken lady Victoria Twead

  1. Thank you for the curious questions, Tim. Mad chicken lady? Hmm… I think that’s an excellent description of me, seeing as I’ve just come in from scolding the chickens for standing in the rain. Luckily it doesn’t rain too often in Spain. :)

  2. Terry Tyler says:

    Liked this very much, Victoria and Tim – and lovely pictures! Nice to put a face to the name, Victoria xx

  3. victoriatwead says:

    Thank you, Terry, *squirm* :)

  4. Beautiful pictures! It all sounds very SANE to me :)

  5. jennytwist says:

    Very interesting interview. Thanks Tim and VIctoria.
    From another mad Spanish lady in Andalucía.(But minus chickens). I think we must be further south than you, Our almond blossom went over weeks ago and now we’ve got the spring flowers. Myriads, all different colours, including irises and dog roses and wild orchids. What bliss!

    • Thanks, Gabriella, and hi, Jenny! Our almond blossom is all finished now too, but the swallows have arrived which always lifts my heart. Just waiting to hear the first cuckoo in the valley. Aren’t we lucky living in southern Spain? I sometimes have to pinch myself, even after nearly ten years. :)

      • jennytwist says:

        Siily me. Of course you did the interview before!
        I love the swallows. We have a pair that returns every year to nest over our back door. Haven’t seen any this year yet, though. I’m jealous.
        And yes, every morning I see the view from my window and have a moment of ecstasy (12 years for me). I live in the sierra Tejeda range, east of Malaga. Where are you?

      • We’re in the Almeria region, Jenny. They call it the vegetable basket of Europe. Like you, enjoying the wildflowers at the moment. :)

  6. Sandra Higgins says:

    This is a great book – we live in Almeria. I love the recipes, but just want to check one point – in the Easy Peasy Carrot Cake, is there no flour – do the ground almonds act as a substitute ?

    • Hi, neighbour! Sandra – is the Easy Peasy Carrot cake a recipe from my third book, Two Old Fools on a Camel? If so, Nadia Sawalha gave me those recipes, and it’s one I’ve never made. She is on Twitter (@NadiaSawalha) Perhaps you could Tweet her? :)

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