WLM Spotlight Sunday – Craig Briggs

Craig Briggs SS

Alan Parks:  Morning Craig Briggs and welcome to your Sunday Spotlight. Craig is the author of the book Journey to a Dream. People ask your questions!!

Jo Stadelwieser: Morning Craig how are you?

Craig Briggs:  A bit sleepy but otherwise fine thanks Jo – and you?

Jo Stadelwieser:  About the same, just been looking at pictures of the storms in UK. Are you still in Spain ?

Craig Briggs:  Always.

Jo Stadelwieser:  Still enjoying it then.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Morning Craig – whats the temp in your lovely part of Spain today?

Craig Briggs:  At the moment, it’s difficult to imagine life anywhere else Jo Stadelwieser.

–Good morning Anne – at the moment we’re in Marbella and it’s a cool 12 degrees.

Julie Haigh:  Morning Craig! Are you currently working on a follow-up to Journey to a dream? I hope you are! If so when would it be out?

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  We are coming over to La Manga on 4th March – so about the same temp as there then.

Craig Briggs:  Good morning Julie, ‘working on’ is probably not an accurate description but something like that.

–Where exactly is La Manga Anne?

Julie Haigh:  ‘Something like that’ is good enough for me! Will look forward to your next offering then whenever it is.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Costa Calida – near Murcia – our apartment (which we are trying to sell) is on the Mar Menor

–Durrant www.opits.co.uk

Craig Briggs:  The weather today is poor really Anne but forecast to improve by tomorrow.

–I thought you’d sold the apartment Anne.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Fell through they couldn’t get a mortgage

Craig Briggs:  Why are you selling Anne?

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  When we bought it 9 years ago – we had snow over there on our viewing trip in March!

Craig Briggs:  Sounds like Galicia.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  We have decided that is not the place we want to retire to – it always was an investment – failed lol.

Jo Stadelwieser:  Temperatures here were 24 degrees yesterday, we are 3 hours east of Malaga.

Craig Briggs:  Here too Jo – but a bit different this morning.

–Let me guess Jo – Roquetas de Mar.

–Where do you want to retire to Anne?

Jo Stadelwieser:  No, not quite that far we are in the mountains on the border of the Granada/ Almeria province. Very remote !

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  We are still undecided Craig – we want to spend a few years travelling in our campervan then make a decision.

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Craig Briggs:  I like remote Jo.

–Don’t forget to visit Galicia Anne – you’d love the wine.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  I am sure I would lol – What labels do I need to look for in the Supermarkets over here?

Jo Stadelwieser:  Have to walk the dogs now, have a lovely sunday all of you and take it easy xx

Craig Briggs:  Probably the regions most famous export is Albarino – but in my opinion there are much better. On Valentines night we had a bottle of Godeval here in Marbella which uses the Godello grape. I tyhink it was aUS label though.

–Thanks Jo.

Fay Kearney:  Morning Craig, There was talk of a new marina in marbella funded by Qatar, do you know whether its still going ahead?

Craig Briggs:  As far as I know, the sheik involved seems to be dragging his feet or perhaps his wallet is just too heavy to move.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  I have just found one at Morrisons – Tierras de Verrin Godello – is that worth a try do you think?

Fay Kearney:  Ha, perhaps for the best – I feel it would change Marbella too much .

Craig Briggs:  Definitely Anne – the white wines from Monterrei are delicious – when you get a minute, check this out http://www.journeytoadream.co.uk/…/camino-secrets-part…

–Perhaps you’re right Fay although the existing marina would benefit from a facelift.

Fay Kearney:  And I suppose the businesses could do with the extra income! Have you ever had a meal at Skandies behind the lighthouse in Marbella? I recommend the garlic surprise steak.

Craig Briggs:  Never been Fay but thanks for the recommendation.

Fay Kearney: Are you fluent in Spanish Craig? I would love to learn but having the time is a problem at the moment

Craig Briggs:  Fluent no – but I should be.

— English is hardly spoken in Galicia so a certain level of competence is essential Fay – If you want to learn you should come for a holiday.

Woofie Wotsit: Craig, how do expat folks cope with language when moving to Spain or France or wherever? I am wondering about this because Aussies generally hopelessly mono-language.. due to other languages not being offered at schools etc and due to be isolated from the rest of the world.

–Generally are, dammit!

Craig Briggs:  It’s easy in Galicia – you simply don’t have a choice – Speak Spanish or starve – Give the choice, you’d be surprised how quickly you’re able to communicate.

Woofie Wotsit:  We need this in Orstralia, Craig! Folks would become multi-lingual in no time

Craig Briggs:  I read somewhere that Australia is eight times the size of of every EU member state combined wiht a population equivalent to Spain – We’re lucky to have the opportunity to have so many languages to learn, right on our doorstep – so don’t be too hard on yourself Woofie.

Fay Kearney:  We can’t travel at the moment Craig, 98 year old mother needs our care. I do hope to be able to travel to lots of other regions in Spain in the future. We did spend time between Cadiz, Jerez and Seville and loved the vitality of the region . I always try to converse and I think it is appreciated! Saying that I have lived in North Wales for over 30 years and still not attempted to learn welsh! It’s not a language to be picked up easily!

Micki Stokoe:  Hello, Craig! I live in York. Do you ever miss Yorkshire?

Craig Briggs:  I can appreciate your problem with Welsh Fay – here in Galicia most peoples first language is Galego – a romance language that looks like Spanish but sounds nothing like it.

–Hi Micki – hope you’re managing to stay dry. – It’s over 5 years since we were last in England so I guess the answer is no. – I wouldn’t mind catching the odd Huddersfield Town game though.

Micki Stokoe:  Blue skies & sun here today, thank goodness! For once the south & west have borne the brunt of the weather, which has been horrendous! It looks as though football is missed by quite a few ex pats!

Craig Briggs:  Strange really – When I worked I never had time to go, now that I have more free time I miss going – figure that one.

Mary Griffith Chalupsky:  How long did it take you to write, “Journey to a Dream?” Where and why did you get the idea?…

Micki Stokoe:  Probably just cos you’ve got the free time now! I’ve just had a look at your website & enjoyed reading your camino blog & seeing the photos. Do you own an ‘ordinary’ car or a camper type?

Craig Briggs:  Hi Mary – From start to finish took about 6 years but with huge gaps in between. It based on a series of newsletters I sent to family and friends to keep them up to date with our new life in Galicia, Spain. – I suppose the idea to write a book came from my mentor Peter Hinchliffe.

–An ageing Renault Megane – but she’s definitely not ordinary.

Micki Stokoe:  Somehow I thought she might not be – I think all cars develop distinct personalities! Has yours any particular quirks?

Craig Briggs:  Don’t get me started on that Micki – The French make magnificent diesel engines but their build quality leaves a lot to be desired.

Micki Stokoe:  Ah. Ours is due its MOT next week & I’m keepin fingers & toes crossed! I was most impressed to read that you made a living selling insurance. I was in tele-sales for a double glazing company for a couple of months & that was enough.

Craig Briggs:  It’s a great lifestyle but a tough way to make a living Micki.

Micki Stokoe:  I can imagine. I enjoyed the experience & talking to people, but refused to stick to the script I was given, tell lies or hassle people who’d said no. Surprisingly when I left I was told I could come back any time I wanted to. I never worked that one out!

Craig Briggs:  You must have been good at your job Micki

Micki Stokoe:  I got a number of referrals! Apart from meeting your wife in London, what did you do there & did you enjoy living there?

Craig Briggs:  After qualifying as an assistant retail manager, after a two week training course, they asked everyone where they would like to work – I chose London (Streets paved with gold etc). Life in London wasn’t for me – very impersonal and unfriendly. I worked for a couple of retail companies, the best known being Finefare. Whilst living there one of my flatmates committed suicide which was a very difficult time. I met Melanie in Huddersfield after returning from London – lucky me.

Micki Stokoe:  What a horrible experience for you. London’s streets are definitely not ‘paved with gold’ and despite the crowds it can be a very lonely place. I went to college in Harrow & was lucky to meet my husband there.

–Have you ever traveled to other parts of the world?

Craig Briggs:  Apologies for the delay Micki the internet connection here is a bit temperamental. Excluding the two polar ice caps, I’ve been lucky enough to see a little of all the other continents.

Micki Stokoe:  Wow! Is there anywhere you would like to revisit, or would consider living?

Craig Briggs:  I’d love to fly out to Australia again, buy a car and drive for at least a year.

Terry Bryan:  Good morning, Craig…I just looked at your pictures on the blog…that house renovation would have killed me…maybe a worker or two also…did y’all ever entertain the idea of giving up?

Craig Briggs:  It’s not in my nature although I sometimes wish it was Terry.

Terry Bryan:  Good for you…it’s lovely now. Have you been to the states?

–Just read back up…saw the answer to Micki

Craig Briggs:   I spent my fourteenth birthday there – six weeks in all – what an experience for a fourteen year old. My sister was born in Galveston.

Micki Stokoe:  Sorry – need to put my phone on charge & get on with some chores, though I’d infinitely prefer to chat! Thank you for answering my questions, Craig. I’ve enjoyed it & hope to pop in later!

Craig Briggs:  Thank you Micki – speak later.

Susan Joyce:  Good afternoon from Uruguay! I’ve enjoyed reading the above threads about your life—following your dream and building a dream casa in Spain. Congratulations! When I lived in Europe, I visited Spain often and really loved being there. The heat in the summer did bother me. Is it uncomfortable for you and your family?

Craig Briggs:  Galician summers are just about as perfect as I can imagine – warm enough for an alfresco lifestyle without the need for air conditioning inside.

–And good afternoon Susan.

Susan Joyce:  That’s quite comfortable. Sounds perfect temps. How did you pick your perfect retirement spot?

Craig Briggs:  Galicia picked us as much as we chose Galcia. It was the starting point of a life changing move and we loved it so much that we decided to stay.

Susan Joyce:  Do you speak Galician?

Craig Briggs:  Not really – the odd word. I can piece together a spoken sentence but Spanish is difficult enough for me.

Susan Joyce:  I understand. I’m learning Spanish now and the Spanish here in Uruguay is nothing like the Spanish I was taught in school. Have you always enjoyed writing? Have you written other books?

Susan Jackson:  So do some of the people in the community you live in speak English?

–It must be difficult if you need help and can’t speak the language, especially medical help?

Craig Briggs:  I only started writing when we moved to Spain in 2002 and started taking it a bit more seriously in 2004 Susan. Journey To A Dream is my first book.

Susan Joyce:  Nice title! I look forward to reading it one day.

Craig Briggs:  Only the English Susan. and there aren’t that many of them – hurrah! –

–Best thing is to stay fit – but seriously there’s always someone prepared to help if needed. As for medical help, I can’t think of a better palce to be hospitalised than Galicia – the NHS puts the rest of the world to shame.

Craig Briggs:  When it comes to titles Susan, other authors seem far more creative.

Susan Joyce:  Sounds like you are just getting started and on a roll as a writer. From the reviews I’ve read of your book, it’s fun and quality writing.

Susan Joyce:  Are you working on a book now? If so, what’s it about?

Susan Jackson:  Nothing wrong with the title–it would make me pick it up. I actually have it and started reading it and can’t wait to finish the entire story!!

Craig Briggs:  Competence is the most difficult factor to judge Susan it’s not until your writing is independently reviewed that you can begin to know – thankfully even my worst reviews don’t criticize my writing – not yet at least.

–I have a couple of irons in the fire but my blog series on the secrets of the camino has taken up a lot of my time Susan.

Susan Joyce:  That sounds very intriguing.

Craig Briggs:  Thanks Susan – I hope you enjoy it and it makes you want to discover more about Galicia.

–My biggest problem is focus Susan.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  LOL Craig I am not surprised with all that wine and beautiful scenery to enjoy.

Susan Jackson:  I just checked the book in my kindle and I did actually finish it a few months ago. So you are lucky Melanie picked up the language–how wonderful to be able to chat with the neighbors–you also said watch for the next installment–I guess you aren’t writing that yet?

Craig Briggs:  Not long to wait now Anne and we can finally get stuck in.

–I’ve made a start Susan but the first one took six years so don’t hold your breath – having said that I’m far more determined to knuckle down this time, but there’s always one distraction or another.

Susan Joyce:  Sometimes distractions lead us where we need to go.

Susan Jackson:  I can’t wait to visit. I have read so many memoirs on Spain but my only worry about moving to a country that doesn’t speak English is the medical. No I do. To have med problems but I do continue use to age.

Craig Briggs:  Susan there really is no reason to worry – two of my friends have both suffered heart attacks here (at different times) the best of the Spanish speakers struggles with, ‘hola’ and they have nothing but praise for their experience in hospital.

Susan Joyce:  Susan Jackson, I have found excellent medical care in every country I have lived in. Here in Uruguay, a doctor is on board every ambulance. Yes, because university education is free, there are lots of doctors. And, our monthly medical plan rates are super cheap.

Craig Briggs:  Unfortunately Susan, my distractions tend to lead me where I want to go which is not necessarily where I need to go.

–It’s FREE here Susan.

Susan Joyce:  A writer friend of mine coined a wonderful phrase, Life Happens. Live it!

Susan Jackson:  Thanks Susan Joyce and Craig Briggs for the info

Sue Clamp:  Hi Craig! Isn’t Gallego somewhere between Castellano and Portuguese? We have travelled extensively through Spain but never to Galicia. It never called to us strongly enough. It’s funny that.

Craig Briggs:  That’s not funny Sue – it’s a travesty. You’re right about the language although Gallego is Castellano Galego is Galician.

Sue Clamp:  Susan, the health system in Spain is apparently excellent! You would have no worry there. If you didn’t speak the language and felt uncomfortable about that, you could move somewhere with a high percentage of expats. I think there are a large number of doctors in Spain whose level of English is rather good!

–Ah, but I speak Castellano

Craig Briggs:  You’re right about the doctors Sue – but like many people, they too are a bit shy when it comes to speaking English.

Sue Clamp:  I know what you mean, Craig, but those who choose to work in expat-heavy areas wouldn’t do so unless they accepted that their language skills would be called upon rather regularly.

Susan Jackson:  My Dr. In Germany whenI had an emergency actually trained at the hospital I use in Tampa

Craig Briggs:  It’s a small world Susan.

Susan Joyce:  Craig, What writers or books have greatly influenced your writing style?

Craig Briggs:  My biggest writing influence was journalist Peter Hinchliffe. Having seen my newsletters he asked me if I’d write a regular column for his online magazine – a so began my apprenticeship.

Susan Joyce:  Very cool!

Craig Briggs:  It was a great opportunity to begin to learn a new skill.

Susan Joyce:  Definitely!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  If its not too nosey – why are you in Malaga now?

Craig Briggs:  It’s wet and cold in Galcia.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Just on holiday then?

Craig Briggs:  More a winter break than a holiday Anne – I was hoping to get some writing done.

Susan Joyce:  In addition to writing, what other activities do you enjoy? Spain is great for gardening, hiking, etc.

Craig Briggs:  Wine making, photography, cycling, swimming – note what came first Susan.

Susan Jackson:  What town do you live in? Isn’t Galcia a region?

Craig Briggs:  The nearest town to us Susan is Monforte de Lemos but we live in the village of Canabal about 8km away.

Susan Joyce:  Wine making? Do you have a vineyard? We recently purchased a small farm and are thinking of growing grapes for wine. Some excellent wines come from this region also.

Craig Briggs:  We have one of our own and one we’ve temporarily adopted – last year we harvested about 1000 kilos of grapes.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Sounds like my kind of heaven.

Susan Jackson:  When I lived in Turkey we had a huge grape vine at our house__they we’re good! we ate them!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Do you sell your wine to the local Bodega?

Craig Briggs You know where we are Anne – get that camper packed and wagons roll!

Susan Jackson:  So you live inland a ways from the ocean ?

Craig Briggs:  Sell it Anne! don’t be silly we drink it!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Maybe next year Craig x

Sue Clamp:  I’d be tempted to keep it all to myself too, Craig!

Craig Briggs:  Quite a way Susan.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  LOL – how much wine does 1000 kilos make?

Craig Briggs:  I look forward to it Anne.

–We do share it out Sue and everyone is welcome.

Sue Clamp:  850 bottles?

Craig Briggs:  About 700 litres Anne or just over 900 bottles – Yeah!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  H E A V E N.

Sue Clamp:  That wasn’t a bad guess. Only 50 bottles out

–Er, Craig, does Henry Butterfield know about your wine cellar?

Susan Jackson:  He does now!!

Craig Briggs:  I think I’m only a novice compared to Henry, Sue.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Do you have any pets – and if we visit would we be able to bring our dog

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Craig Briggs:  We rescued Slawit in 2011 – 10 days after Jazz died. Sure you can bring your dog Anne – what’s his/her name?

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Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  She is called Poppy – 6 years old and very sociable. Slawit looks gorgeous

Craig Briggs:  She a little love – sometimes.

Susan Joyce:  Love seeing photos of Poppy and Slawitt. Cute kids!

Craig Briggs:  Podenco’s are a bit of a handful but she’s coming along nicely and has always been the most affectionate dog I have ever known.

Susan Joyce:  Anne, bet you’re glad I questioned Craig’s other activities. You will have a grand time in those vineyards.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Susan – I already knew about the wine – we have been friends on facebook for ages – ever since I read Journey to a dream and reviewed it

Susan Joyce:  Nice!

Craig Briggs:  It was a great review as well Anne – thanks a million.

Susan Joyce:  Craig, time to head to the beach with an anxious dog. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better and look forward to reading your book one day soon.

Craig Briggs:  Thanks for taking part Susan and it was a pleasure to answer your questions.

Susan Joyce:  Good luck with your future projects!

Craig Briggs:  Thank Susan – whatever they may be.

Linda Kovic-Skow:  Just read through the interview Craig Briggs. I really enjoyed learning about your life in Galicia, Spain. Lucky you! Looking forward to reading about it too!

Craig Briggs:  The first twelve months were certainly a roller coaster of emotions but well worth the heartache Linda.

Micki Stokoe:  Hello again! I’m looking forward to reading your book! I can imagine putting down roots in a different country must be a steep learning curve. I love the sound of the festivals in Spain. Is there a favourite one in your area?

Craig Briggs:  I love magosto in November – it’s the chestnut festival and I love chestnuts. Also the Sober wine fiesta on Palm Sunday – just up the road and no driving home. There’s so many Micki, during the summer we could go to a fiesta every day of the week if we could stand the pace.

Micki Stokoe:  I’ve never hear of those two! They sound intriguing! Do you have a siesta in the afternoon to help you cope with the late nights/early mornings?

Craig Briggs:  It depends on how much I have to drink at lunchtime. Just kidding but if I’ve been working hard in the vineyard I do sometimes have a snooze after lunch – particularly when it’s hot.

Micki Stokoe:  With the number of vines you must have it must be hard work. Are the grapes good to eat as well as making good wine?

Craig Briggs:  I eat them Micki, they’re lovely and sweet when they’re ripe but they do have seeds in them which is not to everyones taste.

Micki Stokoe:  Just realised you’ve been answering questions for the best part of 12 hours! Think I’d better say goodbye for now! Thanks again for the chat – it’s been fun!

Craig Briggs:  Doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself? – Thanks Micki for keep things ticking over – speak again soon.

Sue Clamp:  Thanks for today, Craig! It’s been really interesting! Good luck with all future writing ventures!

Fay Kearney:  Really enjoyable Craig. Good luck in all you do and I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Marbella – jealous!!

Craig Briggs:  Thanks Sue.

–We will Fay and thank you.

Julie Haigh:  Blimey-are you still at it! What a long stint. Great Sunday spotlight Craig thanks.

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Thanks for today Craig – has been great – hurry back to your writing I am waiting for the sequel.

Craig Briggs:  Hi Julie – how are you? To be honest I thought it might be a little more hectic. Everyone seems to have been really gentle with me.

–Thanks for looking in Anne the day seems to have gone really quickly.

Karen Knight:  Have just read through your interesting interview. I have read your book and found it very uplifting and light hearted. Looking forward to your next book whenever it is written.

Craig Briggs:  Thanks Karen – writing it is the easy part – making it readable is a whole different ball game.

Karen Knight:  Well you definitely made it readable. I couldn’t put it down x

Craig Briggs:  Thanks Karen – I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Terry Bryan:  Wow…I enjoyed reading this thread…we went to a pet expo today so just finished reading it. Interesting, and I had looked at your pictures this morning, enjoyed them very much.. Thanks, Craig. Keep writing!

Victoria Twead:  Many, many thanks for the fantastic interview, Craig! A very entertaining Fred. Please choose 2 winners for your book!

Craig Briggs:  A big thank you to everyone who took part in my day in the spotlight but I can only choose two of you as book winners, so here goes – Congratulation Jo Stadelwieser and Micki Stokoe, you both asked great questions and kept the day moving along – Thank you once again to one and all.

Karen Knight:   Well done Micki and Jo xx

Susan Joyce:  Congratulations Micki and Jo!

Sue Clamp:  Well done Jo and Micki!

Anne Wine O’clock Durrant:  Well done ladies.

Micki Stokoe:  Thank you! I really enjoyed the chat!

Craig Briggs:  You’re welcome Micki.

Jo Stadelwieser:  Thank you Craig I enjoyed talking to you. You certainly had a busy day

Craig Briggs: You’re very welcome Jo.

Victoria Twead:  Well done Jo Stadelwieser and Micki Stokoe! Will send your prizes now.

Jo Stadelwieser:  Thank you!

Terry Bryan:  Micki and Jo!

Fay Kearney: Congratulations Jo and Micki!

 

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