Old Fools Blog

Victoria Twead nagged her long-suffering partner, Joe, into moving from England to Spain in 2004. They settled into a tiny mountain village in Andalucía, became reluctant chicken farmers and ended up owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. Victoria’s hilarious record of their culture shock and life with the villagers is told in her book, ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’ and the sequels.

Free Old Fools Photo Books, help yourself!

Did you know that it costs the author if they include photos or pictures in their ebooks? Yes, we are charged a “delivery charge” for large files. I want to keep the price of my books really low, so I’ve come up with a cunning plan. I’m taking out nearly all the pictures in my ebooks, but I’m giving away free photo books instead.

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The Old Fools are back!

Last year, when Joe was twice rushed into Intensive Care and put on a life-support machine, everything changed.   The shock was profound and his recovery has been slow and arduous. Thank goodness, Joe is not one to give up, and he is now almost as strong as when the viruses attacked. Thank you so much to the many readers who have been in touch wishing him well. It’s been nine months since our last newsletter but writing has had to take a back seat. Usually it takes a year to write an Old Fools book but, the latest, Two Old Fools in Turmoil, has taken much longer. However, I’m on the last chapter and we hope to launch it in a couple of months.

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Lola’s boyfriend

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.

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A random page from Two Old Fools in Turmoil

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

Lola to the rescue!

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!

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A rollercoaster year

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.

B is for Bella, the second of the Sixpenny Cross series, was published in July. Then Joe’s book, One Young Fool in South Africa, followed in September.

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

Easy Strawberry Mice

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

A baby secret

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.

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Puppy problems and papier mâché

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.

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Italian Chickens

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.

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Sit!

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.

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A secret

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.

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The creation of Sixpenny Cross

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.

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Old fools on the move

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?

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Naked in Public

Writing a memoir and publishing it, exposing yourself and your innermost thoughts to the scrutiny of strangers is very hard. It’s like taking all your clothes off and walking around in public.

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The Lost Suitcase

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.

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Australian hazards

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.

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Chili Rubbed Steak

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.

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Two Old Fools and another Fiesta

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.

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Behind the scenes with Victoria Twead

Does Joe really scratch that much? What do the villagers think about the Old Fools books? What do I miss from England? What do I regret about moving to Spain? Would we ever leave El Hoyo? This chat filled a whole day and more, so grab a coffee before you read on…

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Two Old Fools and Wildlife Photography

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.

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Two Old Fools and Jellyfish

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.

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Cat after cat after cat

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.

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Old Fool’s Blog – My baby is born

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.

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Two Old Fools and Queueing

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.

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Two Old Fools and the Gas Scam

Spring has arrived here in Spain. The birds are frantically nest-building, bright green leaves are unfurling and the sky is clear and blue. Unfortunately, just one dark cloud hovered above us this month. I’ll tell the story here in the hopes that fellow expats avoid being caught in the same way. Continue reading

Two Old Fools and Expat TV

One could almost hear the howls of anguish from expats across Europe this month, and Joe’s was probably the loudest. We’d been warned, although I don’t think anybody really believed it was going to happen. But it did. One day all the BBC channels simply vanished from our screens.

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Two Old Fools and a Delivery

It’s an uncomfortable feeling being without passports. We applied a month ago, and paid a hefty fee to have them delivered by courier. Had we filled out the forms correctly? Were our photographs acceptable? Had the passports got lost in the Christmas mail? Were they destroyed in the terrible floods that the UK suffered recently? Receiving mail has always been a bit of a problem in El Hoyo, as it often arrives on the fish van or needs collecting from the Repsol garage at the bottom of the mountain. Continue reading

Two Old Fools and Builders

Winter has arrived, but we’re very cosy and the log shed is full. Although we yearn to take another trip to Australia to see family, Spain is beautiful at the moment with some wonderful winter sun and truly spectacular sunsets.

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camel Two Old Fools in Spain Again One Young Fool in Dorset One Young Fool in South Africa Two Old Foolf in Turmoil