Dear friends of Casa Mosaica,
I do hope you are all keeping well in these difficult times. I’m writing to you from beautifully sunny Somerset, where we have been since returning from Gaucín on the 1st of July. It’s the land of apples and green, green grass. We live next to the Mongomery dairy where they make some of the best Cheddar in England, which we love and the weather is so good (16/09) that I can’t really complain, except we do miss Casa Mosaica, Gaucín, our friends, and particularly Kevin & Geoffrey. I gather from friends who stayed throughout the summer that it has been a very hot one and that they are all longing for a bit of rain now.
We managed to complete the re-painting of the garden side of the house before leaving, bringing the new terracotta colour from the pool Courtyard into the Moorish arches in the garden. Quite pleased with the new effect, slightly more Moroccan.
It seems the rules are still pretty strict in the village, face mask wearing and social distancing are still obligatory. In early August there was a case of covid 19 after a family reunion. It was very impressive hearing, by regular emails from the Town Hall how they managed to keep everyone up to the minute informed and thankfully it did not spread and everyone has recovered. It’s been a difficult year for us all, but I was pleased to see how many good reviews came from the new restaurant in town La Raíz, which has opened beside the fountain (where El Lateral used to be) and next to Bar Pacco Pepe. Some of you will have eaten at Chparro at the top of the village, La Raiz is the Chparro owners new restaurant where they specialise in Mediterranean food and grilled meat…
Very sadly the owners of Azulete, who you probably also remember, Eliza and her son Javier, the chef, have also closed after this complicated year, they did provide some most delicious take-away meals during the lock down as you can see below and we had a special meal to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day with bunting framing our lovely view. Made more poignant for me as my son’s grandfather, John Hemingway is the last remaining Battle of Britain pilot left alive and 101 years old! I will keep you informed, but we are very much hoping that there will be new owners at Azulete for 2021 as it is such a great location for dining in Gaucín above the square.
In July Casa Mosaica was lucky enough to get a great mention in an article in the Online Telegraph, “A postcard from Spain’s most picture perfect town”
by Alexander Fiske-Harrison. Read the full article in the link above, which was wonderful publicity for Gaucín in general. The Spanish press flew with it and articles appeared all over the place including a spot on Spanish TV Canal Plus. A little bit name droppy for my liking but as they say all publicity is good publicity...
I’ve just picked this up from the internet: Alexander Fiske-Harrison is a British author, journalist, conservationist, bull-runner and former bull-fighter. He grew up in England before moving to Spain. He studied large mammal biology and animal behaviour at the University of Oxford. He also trained as a bullfighter in Andalusia with matadors including Juan José Padilla and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez, which he writes about in his book on bullfighting “The Arena” and “Fiesta” a second book about Pamplona. I have other wild stories about him but don’t dare say them here. Remind me when you’re next over and we have a glass of sherry in our hands!!
Our “Picture Perfect Town”
Talking of good books on Spanish subjects, my Gaucín friend Karen Considine has just published the most interesting and enjoyable new title “Penelope’s Route”, An Andalusian Horseback Journey, which I am half way through and throughly enjoying.
Karen, sets out to re-trace an adventure into the remote backland of Jaén Province near Granada, made by Penelope Chetwode (Sir John Betjeman’s wife) on a mare borrowed from the Duke of Wellington in 1961, and Penelope’s subsequent book “Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia”. Over the 59 years since Penelope wrote her book the landscape has changed dramatically; where there were large but very poor agricultural communities, there are now just olive trees growing and many abandoned rural properties, much smaller communities and no Posadas with stables as there are no longer any working mules or horses.
What particularly struck me reading both books is how lucky we are in Gaucín to have a beautiful thriving Andaluse village where there is a good amount of work enabling lots of the young to stay and make a living, thanks partly to the tourist industry and your visits to Gaucín. I guess being much nearer the coast helps a lot and there are still plenty of Andalusian horses and mules around (still working particularly in the Cork forest).
Both these books would make an excellent Christmas present for horse lovers, adventurers and anyone with an interest in Spanish culture and history. Here is a link to Karen’s website, where you can buy “Penelope’s Route
” and “Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia” by Penelope Chetwode is available at Eland books. Happy reading.
I think that’s it from me this time, we are longing to get back to Spain for the month of November, when will be finally getting our Residence Cards just before the UK leaves the EU, ahhh don’t get me started on that subject!
What with Brexit and Covid it’s not been a good year. Fingers and toes crossed for a BRILLIANT 2021 and that we do see you again
one day. I leave you with these funny pictures of Geoffrey finding new cozy places to sleep in my apartment last spring!
Best wishes and stay safe.