Interesting post on hand-holding hang-ups…

Exotic Maypole

Holding hands with Louise Brodie

Louise and I hold hands. Picture by Lou Brodie

What do you think about, when I say “holding hands”? Is it pig-tailed girls swinging their arms and giggling, best friends. Or lovers with their palms glued together, or running their fingers over one another’s hands just to make sure they’re real?

I think of love. Whether it’s a consolatory hand-hold to tell a sad friend that I’m listening, or skipping hysterically down a street after way, way too much prosecco, or walking down the street smiling happily at my boyfriend, I only hold hands with people I love. Oh, not my parents though. My family loves each other dearly, but from a distance.

Apparently the UK is jolly rare in thinking of hand-holding in such a limited fashion. While idly combing the internet for more things to do in my beloved Camberwell, I came across a work in progress by…

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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


¿Qué es eso?


What is it?  It’s  a LOQUAT – and here are hundreds of them around at the moment – like figs in Autumn they grow like weeds here in Andalucía. 

BIBASSIER in France, WOLMISSPEL in Germany, NISPERO here in Spain. In England? The delightfully named MEDLAR.  Indigenous to Central China, I had my first taste for breakfast this morning, Pedro next door bought them at the monthly market mistaking them for Apricots – an easy mistake, they look for all world like an Apricot, but are quite different inside.

Lots of shiny jewel like seeds, a tough often blemished skin and a soft fruit that’s packed with pectin, so jelly and jam, crumbles, ice cream, chutney, put them in Moroccan dishes with Lamb and Chicken, with curries, or just eat them as they are!



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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


XXV Gran Premio de Fondo Ciudad de Órgiva half marathon is taking place tomorrow in Orgiva. It’s going to be a hot one….

El Blog Rural de La Alpujarra

A continuación os dejo la nota de prensa que se remitió a los medios desde el Área de Cultura y Deportes del ayuntamiento de Órgiva, donde se incluye un resumen histórico de la evolución de la prueba:

“Nadie podía imaginar hace casi medio siglo, que el GRAN PREMIO DE FONDO,  entonces Media Maratón de la Alpujarra con apenas 70 atletas, se iba a convertir en el referente provincial en lo que a pruebas de fondo se refiere y al mismo tiempo en el evento deportivo más importante que se celebra en Órgiva y la Alpujarra, congregando en la última  edición  a 650  atletas procedentes de distintas provincias andaluzas ( Sevilla, Málaga, Almería, Jaén ) e incluso de ciudades de fuera de nuestra comunidad ( Madrid, Alicante, Murcia, etc.).

Este año se cumplen veinticuatro ediciones desde que empezara su andadura allá por el año 1988 y podemos afirmar que…

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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


“Tobin and I trekking in the Alpujarras, Andalusia, Spain 1992…”

(Taken from Forest Key’s blog – Spain, 20 years on)

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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


Top Ten Hiking Tips

Earlier today, I found myself lost in the middle of the Alpujarras, somewhere in the hills between Berchules and Juviles. I had decided to walk cross-country rather than stick to the track. That was my first mistake. I was also wearing flip-flops, carrying a lap-top, and had nothing to drink. Fortunately, my sense of direction is second-to-none and so I arrived at my destination none the worse for wear.

It did get me thinking however…. thanks to Icon Roy for sharing his top ten hiking tips for novices like myself.

Here’s my Top Ten List for Hikers.

1) Wear warm, comfortable, breathable clothing. It should also be light weight. Today there are so many choices that will fill this requirement and as with many of the items on this list, you should be able to get great deals if you plan ahead and buy during the off season.

2) Wear Warm, comfortable, lightweight footwear. It is recommended that your shoes be broken-in before you head out into the forest. Also they should be laced up firmly and come up over the ankle. An aggressive tread is also a must as you may need traction in compromising situations such as crossing creeks and/or climbing over boulders.

3) Hikers should always carry some type of hat or head covering. While in the elements, it does not take long for the sun to de-hydrate a person and a hat will aid in helping you retain your hydration level.

4) On that same topic, sunscreen is a highly recommended item to take with you. Cover any exposed skin with an ample coating 10-15 minutes before you head out and check yourself periodically throughout the hike to see if you need more. Many a day in the woods has turned into a disappointment because someone got fried by the sun.

5) Bells and bear spray are a necessity. Although many areas of the United States may be critter-less, it is always a good idea to carry some type of personal protection. Bells announce your presence and will tend to alert wild animals to make way. Bear spray is a must, especially in my part of America. It is safe and effective. On a side note, 99% of hikers will probably never have to use bear spray, but it is a good idea to carry it with you.

6) Plenty of liquids are a necessity. Water should be the drink of choice, but other electrolyte replacement drinks will suffice. It is recommended that you drink often throughout the trek even if you are not thirsty. A lightweight ergonomic water bottle that hooks securely to a pack is recommended.

7) Take along plenty of energy foods including protein bars and light weight snacks. That does not mean junk food. When hiking your body furnace is burning lots of calories, so pack foods that will replace what you are burning.

8) Depending on the duration of your trip, some sort of pack is a must. If your journey is short, you will need some type of day pack that you can comfortably wear around your waist. For longer treks you will need a very lightweight-frame type backpack. Many novice hikers make the mistake of taking too much gear. Your backpack’s weight is a huge factor in determining how much you will enjoy an extended hike. Take the necessities only.

9) When I hike, I always take along inexpensive survival gear which includes a lighter or matches, knife, hand-warmers, compass, first-aid kit, compass and a map of the area. These items do not take up much room in my pack and are a must if something unexpected happens.

10) For the last one I recommend hiking sticks. They are a great item to include as they allow for increased cardiovascular work by giving the arms the same type of exercise as cross-country skiing. They also provide stability when negotiating difficult terrain.

I firmly believe that hikers should take with them an optimistic outlook of adventure. Our great outdoors is a wonderful treasure, one resplendent with beauty and the breath- taking opportunity. Take in all nature has to offer, enjoy your hike and make the most of it by being prepared.

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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


Hiking from the Hotel

Summer has arrived in the Alpujarras, and it’s a great time of the year to take a hike around the region before the temperatures really soar.


The countryside around Los Bérchules is hikers’ paradise. There are walks to suit all levels, from the gentle ambler to the energetic strider. The town lies on the path of the famous long distance hike, the GR7, which starts in Greece and ends in Gibraltar. Maps are available and the routes are to be found on the separate menu on the left. Transport can be arranged for those wishing to explore further afield. There are English-speaking guides if required who know the mountains and can explain its history, its plant and animal life.

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized



Poppies in Berchules, Alpujarras

Where the poppy-banners flow
in and out amongst the corn,
spotless morn
ever saw us come and go
hand in hand, as girl and boy
warming fast to youth and maid,
half afraid
at the hint of passionate joy

still in Summer’s rose unshown:
yet we heard nor knew a fear;
strong and clear
summer’s eager clarion blown

from the sunrise to the set:
now our feet are far away,
night and day,
do the old-known spots forget?

Sweet, I wonder if those hours
breathe of us now parted thence,
if a sense
of our love-birth thrill their flowers.

Poppies flush all tremulous —
has our love grown into them,
root and stem;
are the red blooms red with us?

Summer’s standards are outroll’d,
other lovers wander slow;
I would know
if the morn is that of old.

Here our days bloom fuller yet,
happiness is all our task;
still I ask —
do the vanish’d days forget?

Christopher John Brennan
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Uncategorized