Category Archives: Just Living

Adios y Gracias

It is time to say adios for the final time. This week we handed over the keys to the new owners and left our beloved house and olive grove in their care. The Spanish Valley is a special place and we know the new owners fell in love with at first sight, as we did all those years ago. So this is a farewell message from me, the last post you will receive from ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’. Thank you for following me, many of you since my first post ‘A Gift of Lemons’ published on February 27, 2013. I’ve enjoyed sharing the ups and downs, the twists and turns, of our Spanish adventure. We have left our Spanish Valley with heavy hearts and many tears. On the final morning as we drove away from the house, the sun was rising and the sky in the east was the most perfect pink. In our last week, as we packed boxes and said farewell to friends, the spring visitors started to arrive: cuckoos calling down by the river, a lone peregrine falcon circled overhead and a russet-red kestrel sat on a branch. It has been a wrench to leave, but life moves on and so begins a new chapter both for us and in the life of the Spanish Valley.

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You never know, a memoir of ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’ may follow! It is also inevitable that we will visit Spain again and that future novels will be set in Andalucía. I already have an outline for the ‘Casa Melodía’ series of stories about the adventures of Melody who inherits a rundown house in the Spanish countryside in the 1960s.

Special Offer
Now I will settle down to write ‘Sweet Joy’, third in the ‘Identity Detective’ series. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something new to read at Easter, the ebook of Ignoring Gravity is reduced to 99¢/99p at Amazon from April 11 – April 18 … which is quite a #KindleCountdown bargain when you think the paperback costs £9.99. If you like the novels of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve, try it. A mystery with a touch of romantic suspense and a contemporary storyline.
DOES YOUR FAMILY HAVE SECRETS? REALLY? ARE YOU SURE?
IGNORING GRAVITY, the debut novel by Yorkshire author Sandra Danby, is a compelling story about an ordinary family with a secret. Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it. The day she finds her mother’s hidden diary is the day she starts to search for who she really is.

A story about identity, adoption, family mystery and ultimately of love, IGNORING GRAVITY connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. As Rose untangles the truth from the lies, she begins to understand why she has always felt so different from her sister Lily.

★★★★★ Here’s what readers are saying about IGNORING GRAVITY:
“It took me a little bit to get into the book, but once I did, I could not put it down. I loved that this book brought some often-difficult issues: infertility, adoption, family relationship, and identity to light. An overall delightful read”

“I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns that accompanied the characters in this book. Just when I thought I had everything figured out, and knew who Rose’s parents were, the plot would take a sharp detour. I really felt as though I was with Rose on this journey of self-discovery, and when she finally unravels the secrets that have been decades in the making, I was as shocked as she was”

“I devoured the book in one go, unable to put it down despite the tirade of emotions it brought to the surface”
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Sandra Danby

Already read Ignoring Gravity? Then try Connectedness, second in the ‘Identity Detective’ series?
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
IGNORING GRAVITY ebook only 99¢ & 99p #bargain #KindleCountdown https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2AA via @Spanish_Valley

Old ruins

The hardships of living in this countryside in centuries gone by are everywhere here. Old ruins. Roofs and ceilings collapsed, walls fallen, tiles foraged by passers-by. The skeletons of what were once farmhouses and outbuildings, once home to people and animals, stand as a monument to their previous inhabitants. Thick stone walls insulated against the heat of summer and the frost of winter, small windows minimised glare from the sun; all now surrounded by weeds with a coating of green moss and silvery lichen. These ruins stand isolated, a clue to the desertion of their occupants; no electricity, no running water. How hard the lives must have been of these farmers without our modern-day conveniences of broadband and satellite television, off-road vehicles and solar panels. But I know in my heart that we today have a deep connection with these disappeared people; we have all stood on our doorsteps, turned our faces to the sun and marvelled at the beauty of the countryside here.

5 to remember
en siglos pasados ​​por – in centuries gone by
una pista – a clue
la deserción de – the desertion of
las comodidades modernas – the modern-day conveniences
la puerta – the doorstep

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Old #ruins: who once lived here? #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2gW via @Spanish_Valley

Nothing tastes better than a home-grown tomato

Spanish finca for sale: 595,000. For more information, click here.

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Nothing tastes better than a home-grown tomato #villaforsale via @Spanish_Valley @HiddenAndalucia http://wp.me/p3dYp6-28x

The sound of moving water

The sound of moving water, waves & waterfalls, are proven to de-stress the mind
Follow us at http://www.TheHiddenAndalucia.com

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A waterfall: proven relief for stressed minds #villaforsale #Andalucia via @Spanish_Valley @HiddenAndalucia http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1XX

Meet our neighbours…

Our local goats, on their way to some tasty grass.
Follow us on Twitter @HiddenAndalucia

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Our local goats know where the best grass is… #villaforsale #Andalucia via @Spanish_Valley @HiddenAndalucia http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1XT

These are the views we see every day

I just wanted to share this photo with you, because the difference about living here is that popping out for a pint of milk takes your breath away.

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And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Driving to the supermarket need not be boring… #villaforsale #Andalucia http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1XO via @Spanish_Valley

Don’t miss a minute of sunshine

There are 12 hours of sunshine here, every day in the summer in Southern Spain.
Follow us at Instagram @HiddenAndalucia

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Catch every minute of sunshine beside the pool #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1XK

October in the valley

October is a month of ripe fruit, fattening olives and a second-blooming of flowers. All the pot plants flower through into winter, lasting all year with a bit of tender care. Geraniums all-year round is a treat I didn’t expect when we first moved here. The mint has got a new burst of energy too. All around the valley, fruit is ripening, going over and falling… the birds love it, and we love it too as it gives us a chance to see birds we would not normally spot.

5 to remember
engordante – fattening
todo el año – all-year round
no esperaba – I didn’t expect
también – too/also
que no haría normalmente – we would not normally

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Ripe fruit & fat olives: October in the valley #Spain #nature via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1OC

A day of two halves

Some days we can have had all kinds of weather in one day. In the morning, strong February sunshine coupled with a breeze to dry the earth after last night’s shower. We don’t complain at the overnight rain, it is welcome rain for the farmers. Driving through the olive grove, half a dozen pied wagtails bounced ahead of me, scattering and re-forming in their group as if waiting for me to reach them before bouncing ahead again up the track. Why don’t they scatter to the side, between the trees, where I will not follow? hail1 27-2-16Then the afternoon. First the odd white cloud, then grey clouds, then dark grey clouds, more wind and a distant rumble of thunder. Dark enough to make us turn on the lights inside the house. Then the hail arrived, only the second time I have seen hail here. Hailstones as big as sultanas, bouncing off the terrace, sinking into the water of the pool, nestling into the folds of potted aloe vera.

After ten minutes of hail, the valley looks as if it has been dusted with snow and the sky is as dark as night. There is a breather between the first and second hailstorms, then the clouds pass and the sun re-appears. For a while, the valley has a split personality: dark at one end, sunny at the other. Half an hour later it is as if it never happened, 90% of the hail has melted. Just the odd white sultana remains, nestled in a cold corner; evidence of the multiple personalities of today’s weather. That evening, the sunset was the colour of Seville oranges.

5 to remember
todo tipo de – all kinds of
excepto – except
media docena – half a dozen
un estruendo – a rumble
el granizo – the hailstones

A Little Friend

This little friend appeared silently last night on the wall of the sitting room. He was completely unphased by us, occasionally moving slightly, flicking his tail. Two nights previously we saw a baby gecko, about 4cm long. Similar colouring, pale blush pink. Interestingly, the gecko positioned himself above a floor-standing lamp: lying in wait for moths?

gecko1 28-7-15gecko2 28-7-155 to remember
un/a amigo/a – a friend [male/female]
silenciosamente – silently
de vez en cuando – occasionally
ligeramente – slightly
previamente – previously