Category Archives: Just Living

On the radio in Spain

When an e-mail dropped into my Inbox, it was easy to answer the questions:-
Did I fancy a day trip to San Pedro de Alcantara, near Marbella? Yes.
Could I talk about my novel, and about adoption? Yes.
Was it okay to speak in English, not Spanish. Bueno? Absolutely, yes! day of the interview - me @ San Pedro 26-1-15aI was thrilled to be asked to appear on The Book Show, the weekly book discussion programme on Spain’s biggest English language radio station for ex-pats. The Book Show is broadcast every Thursday evening in Spain by Talk Radio Europe to half a million listeners. I really enjoyed chatting with presenter Hannah Murray [below] who explained the personal appeal which Ignoring Gravity has for her, she has two friends who were adopted, with differing experiences: one had a happy childhood, the other experienced a rockier road.

hannahmurraymediumThese friendships gave Hannah a key insight into the adoption storyline of Ignoring Gravity and she asked me some really interesting questions. To listen to my interview, click below.

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby


Buy Ignoring Gravity now at Amazon UK and Amazon US. Available as e-book and paperback.

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Talking about books in Cómpeta

I guess 80% of the conversation at the Cómpeta Book Group in Spain earlier this week was about Ignoring Gravity, I was the guest speaker, but I loved talking books with other book lovers. I came away with more books to add to my own To-Read list – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. Most of all, I was impressed with the Group members’ analysis of Ignoring Gravity and their curiosity about how the story evolved. Competa Book group - after dinner 1-4-15As often happens when I talk about Ignoring Gravity and the immensely complex subject that is adoption, I meet more people touched by adoption itself. The conversation about books continued at dinner and one member told me the story of a friend of a friend. This retired lady recently received contact from the daughter she gave up for adoption in the Sixties. She had told no-one about her pregnancy, at the time, or since. Her husband, her children: no-one else knew. What could have been a traumatic reunion turned into a positive family occasion. The similarities between the birth mother and her daughter – both physical likeness and musical ability – were breath-taking to the observers.

I found the experience of that teenage girl in the Sixties very moving: dealing with her dilemma, alone; living through her pregnancy, alone; taking the decision to give her child away, alone; facing every day since giving birth, alone. And I was amazed at the parallels with Ignoring Gravity and with book two in the series which I am currently writing. Connectedness features a teenage art student who, finding herself pregnant, also deals with her situation alone.

Thanks to the members of the Cómpeta Book Group for such a friendly welcome and lively discussion. What a beautiful part of the world to live in. This was the view from our hotel balcony the morning after. Competa Book group - early morning sun2 2-4-15Competa Book group - early morning sun1 2-4-15If your book group would like to feature Ignoring Gravity, click here for a Reading Group Guide suggesting topics for discussion.
If you would like me to visit your Book Group, please use the Contact Form here.

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra DanbyBuy Ignoring Gravity now at Amazon UK and Amazon US. Available as e-book and paperback.

Follow me on Twitter at @Spanish_Valley

As you will see by glancing at the column on the right, I am now tweeting @Spanish_Valley.
29-8-14 twitter logoTo follow my Spanish tweets, go to the column on the right and click the follow button beside the blue bird, or click here to check out my Twitter home page. I am still tweeting about writing at @Sandra Danby. To read more of my writing tweets, click here, or to find out about my books, click here.

Fire and ice

Early evening, the thermometer hovers at freezing, frost lingers on the shadiest parts of the olive grove, but the sky is on fire. sunset1 5-2-15The local weather forecast is -1°C tonight and tomorrow night, -2°C on Saturday night. sunset2 5-2-15Dipping below freezing point: better get the logs in.

thermometer 5-2-155 to remember
el termómetro – the thermometer
el punto de congelación – the Freezing point
la helada – the frost
lo más sombreado/a – shadiest
mañana noche – tomorrow night


Wind, there’s no escaping it in southern Spain. Travel along the major roads and coastlines and you will find molinos on the hillsides. They are elegant things, architectural almost. Spain is a leader in wind and solar energy, our house is energy self-sufficient using wind and solar energy. We live without power lines. turbines in distance1 10-10-14turbines in distance2 10-10-14turbines in distance3 10-10-14Click here to read our adventures with solar and wind power… turbines in distance4 10-10-14here to read about our solar-heated water supply… turbines in distance5 10-10-14… and here to read how we live without mains water, taking our water 100% from a spring. turbines in distance6 10-10-14turbines in distance7 10-10-145 to remember
un molino – a wind turbine
el viento – the wind
eólico/a – wind-powered
autosuficiente – self-sufficient
cien por ciento – 100%

Evidence of man

As much as we like to think that we live in the middle of nowhere, in our blissfully quiet valley, we don’t. We are surrounded by the evidence of man, we just need to look for it. Evidence of ancient man – old posts, old gates – and evidence of today’s farmers – tyre prints of Pablo’s tractor, a goatherd’s summer shack. goatherd's shack 10-10-14tractor prints in earth 10-10-14old stone gate post 10-10-14It reminds us that man has occupied these hills for centuries, way before the Moors and Christians fought over Andalucía. I wonder how different the way of life was then, from now. Our neighbours are farmers, they farm groves of olives and fields of wheat, raise pigs and chickens, they forage for wild fruit, asparagus and herbs, they grow vegetables. They eat what they grow, the Andalusian way, still throwing in a crust of old bread to thicken a stew. rubbish caught in dead grass 10-10-14old post1 15-3-13tubo 10-10-145 to remember
me pregunto – I wonder [literally, I ask myself]
diferente – different
las gallinas – the chickens
un mendrugo – a crust [of bread]
un guiso – a stew

Publication Day

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra DanbyThe day is here at last, my novel Ignoring Gravity is published today as an e-book. Click here to buy now at Amazon

To find out what it’s about, click here to watch the book trailer.
To hear me talk about how I wrote the book, click here.

Coming soon… the Ignoring Gravity paperback. To keep up-to-date with news about my books, sign-up here to receive my e-newsletter [published 1-2 times a year]

Pre-order ‘Ignoring Gravity’ now

Reserve your copy of my novel Ignoring Gravity by pre-ordering at Amazon. Simply click here to pre-order and the e-book will be sent to your Kindle on the day of publication: November 21, 2014. IG's pre-order button on Amazon 11-11-14To find out what it’s about, click here to watch the book trailer.
To hear me talk about how I wrote the book, click here.
Coming soon… the Ignoring Gravity paperback.

Coming soon… the Ignoring Gravity paperback. To keep up-to-date with news about my books, sign-up here to receive my e-newsletter [published 1-2 times a year]
Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby


‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press]

Explaining the silence

Those of you who also follow my writing blog may have noticed an absence of posts this week. That’s because my writing blog is being transferred to a new author website, to coincide with the publication of my debut novel Ignoring Gravity later this month. More details coming soon…
5 to remember
a falta de – in the absence of
ésta semana – this week
el autor/la autora – the author
el sitio de web – website
la novela de debut – the debut novel
Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah]

Irrigating the land

In the middle of winter, when the earth is sodden and claggy, it is difficult to imagine the heat of summer and the irrigation that same earth requires. We have learned to work with the land, and use the natural springs which occur in sometimes convenient, sometimes inconvenient places. elfa - pink close-up 27-8-13 (2)Once we started our planting scheme on the hillside at the front of the house, we installed a small depositó [water storage tank] below the big fig tree [below].

the little deposito 28-5-10This collected water from a small spring and fed it via a system of black hosepipes [all agricultural hosepipes are black in Spain, they come in a bewildering array of dimensions] to the areas to be regularly irrigated. network of black hoses 5-8-13We planted a few climbers around it, and a couple of years later it was covered nicely. It does the job effectively and uses our natural spring water, which is free and gravity-fed from the spring. the little deposito 5-8-13In 2013, we extended an irrigation channel down the hillside so it would water a line of elfas [oleanders] planted beside the steps. Fed by a black hosepipe from the small depositó, a stream of water would trickle down the hillside from plant to plant. That was the idea, and that is the irrigation system used by all the local farmers. So, first the channel was dug… digging the channel 5-8-13digging the channel2 5-8-13… the tap on the hosepipe was turned on and the water started to trickle…trickling 5-8-13… it reached the elfaswater reaches the elfas 5-8-13water reaches the elfas2 5-8-13… until finally, the water ran through it from top to bottom. water runs through it 5-8-135 to remember
pegajoso/a – claggy/sticky
inconveniente – inconvenient
una manguera – a hosepipe [although locally here it is referred to as una goma]
desconcertante – bewildering
una selección – an array