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!
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…
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.
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…
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
Victoria’s website (with recipes!) www.VictoriaTwead.com
Check it out. They don’t cook food like this in Tesco!
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