No, this is not about Lola Ufarte, the badly behaved young lady in El Hoyo that I’ve told you about in my books. However, Lola the Spoodle (or Cockerpoo) is named after Lola Ufarte. I was looking for a name that would suit a golden, very beautiful, naughty dog. A name that would remind me of Spain. “Lola” seemed like the perfect choice.
The bat and the mayor – a random page from Two Old Fools in Turmoil, the next book in the Old Fools series, to be published this year. *fingers crossed*
Something black shot out, swooped round the room and clung sootily to a picture frame.
“Aaaagh!” I yelled. “It’s a bat!”
I’m not at all frightened of bats outside in the fresh air. I think they are wonderful creatures, and they certainly did a grand job of devouring El Hoyo’s flying insect population. I loved the way they flitted round the lamp posts, and their tiny squeaks made me smile. But I have to admit, I don’t like the idea of bats flying round my head indoors. Specially scared, sooty bats.
“Quick, open the front door,” Joe ordered.
I flung the door open but the bat was too frightened to move, and merely blinked.
“Perhaps we should throw something over it,” I suggested, using the royal ‘we’ as I had no intention of doing it myself.
“Hmmm… Good idea,” said Joe, grabbing my favourite white T-shirt which I’d foolishly left lying around.
He hurled it at the poor creature, but the bat sat tight, its tiny hands gripped… Continue reading
It’s been crazy hot here in Australia, and we are very lucky because we have a swimming pool. Lola is half cocker spaniel and half poodle, so she’s a water dog. It’s hard to keep her out of the pool.
Piggy is her favourite toy, and as you can see, she’s not going to let him drown!
Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools has a brand new trailer! It’s only 48 seconds long, but I hope it captures the essence of the book. All the pictures come from our personal photo album.
I’ve been looking back on 2016, and it’s been a real rollercoaster of a year. Joe arrived in Australia on January 1st so the year began well. House renovations began.
Then baby Winter, my new granddaughter, arrived in April. And what a joy she is! Full of smiles and naughtiness, she is an absolute delight and her big sister Indy adores her.
It was almost as though Joe used the last of his energy to complete his book. At the end of September he developed a severe chest infection and was rushed into Intensive Care. Three times he was put on a life support machine, and we all thought the end had come.
Joe surprised everybody, except himself, by beating the infection and battling until he was released from hospital. It was a frightening time, but Joe is home now and coping brilliantly.
Through all this, house renovations continued. As I type, we still have no kitchen. I don’t really care because it’s midsummer and we have a barbecue, and… Continue reading
Now that Lola is one year old, you’d think she’d have outgrown her passion for muddy puddles.
Hard to believe it, but it’s true. My granddaughter Indy will be 4 years old on Monday. Her mum organised a cat theme birthday party, and all the food and activities had something to do with cats. My contribution was strawberry mice, recipe below. Continue reading
I have a confession. I’ve been keeping a very big secret. The reason for my silence was just that I couldn’t bear it if something went wrong. But, thank heavens, nothing did.
The second book in my new Sixpenny Cross series is now finished, polished and up on Amazon for pre-order. It’s called B is for Bella and if you’ve read A is for Abigail, you’ll recognise many of the characters and places. If you pre-order from Amazon, the book will magically spirit itself onto your Kindle on July 1st 2016.
I didn’t know much about Spoodle puppies before, but since Lola came into my life, I have become quite an authority. I now know that Spoodles are very bright, very affectionate and have limitless energy. So I set about finding toys that would occupy her.
Spanish chickpeas are great for making a simple side dish, tapas dip or ingredient in a salad. Here’s a delicious recipe using chickpeas with paprika.
Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools has now been translated into Italian. I love the title – Polli, muli e due vecchi pazzi… Italian has such a ring to it, doesn’t it? Chickens was sold to Polish and Hungarian publishing houses a couple of years ago, and is currently being translated into Spanish, French and Chinese.
Big thanks to Zoe Marr who took this fab picture of Wareham Quay this week as she passed through on her way to Swanage. Why do I love it?
VT thinks I’m super smart!
It’s only my first full day away from my mum and sisters, and I cried a lot last night, but today VT discovered that I’m a very intelligent little dog. I can’t understand why she’s so surprised.
I’m eight weeks old and I’m a Spoodle. Some people would call me a Cockapoo. Whatever, I’m a cross between a Cocker spaniel and a poodle, and people pretty much drool over me whenever they see me because I’m very cute.
How lucky am I? I’ve skipped winter again and I’m embarking on yet another summer. Spring has sprung, but this time not in Spain, but in Australia.
The notes for the next Old Fools book are all set up, and I even have a title, but events have been so intense these past months, I haven’t actually started writing it yet.
Instead, I’ve taken my mind off things by doing something I’ve never tried before.
You remember the charming young couple I told you about last newsletter? The ones that loved our house and put in an offer for it?
Well, it’s all going ahead…
At last! My latest book, One Young Fool in Dorset, is published. Thank you to the hundreds of you who pre-ordered it. By now it should have appeared magically on your Kindles, iPads, Nooks, or Kobos. It’s also available in Paperback and Large Print. I do hope you enjoy it!
So, what else has been happening?
This is probably the hardest village update that I’ve ever had to write since I began in 2008, so forgive me if I keep everything brief.
One Young Fool in Dorset is finished! My latest baby is in the hands of my trusted editors and advance readers, and Nick Saltmer has created a beautiful cover. It will be launched 12th June 2015, but is already available for pre-order on Amazon.
And yes, that is a rabbit on a leash on the cover…
Here’s a little excerpt:
So my Australian visit came to an end. After three wonderful months, I was looking forward to being back with Joe in our little Spanish mountain village. While I’d been enjoying an Australian summer, he’d been in chilly Britain getting various medical tests done.
The bad luck began in the plane at Sydney airport. As the hostesses checked seat belts and locked the doors, black clouds obscured the sky and the captain’s voice crackled into life.
I’ve spent three wonderful, sun and laughter-filled months in Australia with my daughter, son-in-law and gorgeous granddaughter, two-year-old Indy. Poor old Joe missed out as he needed some medical stuff checked out in the UK. Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed another summer.
Grateful thanks to the Harvard Square Edition and Mary Yuhas for this frank interview.
If you enjoy a ‘kick’ of chili, (or chilli) then this chili rubbed steak recipe is for you! It offers a great flavour and takes on hints of smoky paprika. This simple recipe for Spanish steak served with fresh salad and thick potato chips or wedges will never disappoint.
When we moved to our Spanish mountain village ten years ago, we soon became familiar with the families who lived here. All of them were friendly and charming and we enjoyed watching the kids grow as the years passed. Little Paco next door had a friend, Miguel, who once tapped on our door, eager to show us his white rabbit. The rabbit hopped around our living room and was only evicted when it threatened to nibble through the TV cable.
Mushroom Tostada with Fino Sherry
60 – 70 minutes preparation and cooking
Tostadas are extremely popular in Spain and this dish is ideal served as a tapa or breakfast.
After 10 years in our Spanish mountain village, we know what to expect in summer. The village fills up with people we haven’t seen for a year as families arrive to escape the heat of the cities. Children, a foot taller than last year, run wild in the streets and the jasmine-scented air is heavy with the sound of our neighbours’ guitar music.
I’m always being asked for discussion questions for book clubs, and I’ve finally put some together. Help yourself, I hope they are useful!
CHICKENS, MULES and TWO OLD FOOLS by Victoria Twead
Book Club Discussion Questions
1. How did you feel about the title, Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools? Was it apt? Did it make you smile?
This chilli chutney is a great way of savouring the warm summer flavours, long after the heat of the sun has gone and winter draws in. Seasonal eating is a way of life here and towards the end of September you get the last, and the best, of the season’s sweet red peppers and local red chillies. It does have a bite but combined with the chargrilled sweetness of red peppers, the chillies appear warm and the blend is amazing.
With all my thoughts and energies channelled into the launch of Two Old Fools in Spain Again, I haven’t taken much time off this summer. However the book is out now and, with the temperatures still soaring, Joe and I long for a swim.
Until the Spanish begin to neuter their cats, there will always be a huge feral population. When we moved to El Hoyo in 2004, we were surprised at how many cats roamed the village, but I guess we’re used to it now. Although not domesticated, they all seem healthy and manage to exist on a diet of lizards, birds and anything else they can catch or scrounge.
I feel as though I’ve given birth to an elephant. I’m exhausted. In the very early hours of the morning of Friday, 25th of July, 2014, after a long painful labour, Two Old Fools in Spain Again was born, weighing just one pound. That’s the paperback, of course, the Kindle edition weighs nothing at all.
Sorbete de Limon or Spanish style lemon sorbet is such an easy dessert to do. A most welcome refreshment in the heat of summer or a classy after dinner treat whenever. With an abundant supply of lemons all year round, this dish is welcome at any time of year and depending on the options you choose for added flavour, you can transform this dessert from a cooling, invigorating summer dessert to a fresh, fragrant Christmas indulgence.
Alan Parks: Good morning!
Todays Monday Member is a very special lady, Diane Eliott ExperienceOlvera is an English expat living in Spain as a goatherd! So for that reason I am sure she will be up early! Good morning Diane, and first things first, How and Why?
When Joe and Vicky relocate to a tiny mountain village in Andalucia, they have no idea of the culture shock in store.
No idea they’ll become reluctant chicken farmers and own the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. No idea they’ll help capture a vulture or be rescued by a mule.
Fingers crossed, Two Old Fools in Spain Again should be published at the end of July 2014. It’s finished, but it’s being checked, double-checked and triple-checked at the moment.
But if you’d like a sneaky preview of Chapter 1, please read on…
At loooong long, last – I have written the final words of the last chapter of Book #4, Two Old Fools in Spain Again. Now Joe is wielding his red pen, editing it before it flies off to the advance readers and proofreader.
A perfect barbecue dish for summer evenings.