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Lives and Times

Writing on the world around us.

Guest Blogger on www.sherry.wines

This blog is a guest contributor to the Consejo Regulador website, the official website of all things sherry: cocktail ideas, recipes, tourism, and sherry news from around the world. You can read all my articles under the ‘Sherry Series‘ tab in the menu.

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Exploring Carmen’s Seville: Cigars, Conquest, and Colonialism at the Royal Tobacco Factory of Seville

Sevilla, “so affectionate, so brunette, gypsy and so beautiful”, as the song says. Sevilla, forever the heart of the south and for so long the crossroads of the Old and New worlds. Sevilla I visit to learn about the symbol of this cultural meeting point, the Royal Tobacco Factory, the same tobacco factory from which poured out Sevilla’s most beautiful cigarreras in Bizet’s opera Carmen, pursued by their admirers Continue reading “Exploring Carmen’s Seville: Cigars, Conquest, and Colonialism at the Royal Tobacco Factory of Seville”

Dancing Sevillanas Face-to-Face: The Southern Sound

Dance, a wise man once said, is a terribly inefficient way of getting from A to B. Around and about we go, not aiming for any particular point in the room we sway; in dance, we play. Once this is properly appreciated, you will more fully enjoy the dance, and life, itself. In Spain’s south, they have a wonderfully inefficient way of striding around in circles, a dance they call the sevillanas. Continue reading “Dancing Sevillanas Face-to-Face: The Southern Sound”

Horsing About at the Feria del Caballo, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)

La Feria del Caballo. La Feria. Feria is a dream, a kaleidoscope of colours and faces all flying by and blurring with the other, every day and night a dream within a dream, each a layer deeper than the other; you forget when one begins, when another ends, lose track of the chain of events which led you to be lost in this world where above you is a multi-coloured milky-way of fairy lights and below you a whirlpool wind of dust flying around your feet. Continue reading “Horsing About at the Feria del Caballo, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)”

Exploring the Mountains and Valleys of Cádiz, Andalucía (Photo Gallery)

In Spain’s south, Cádiz province offers the nature lover all that s/he could wish for. Dunes to the south, wetlands to the west, and in the interior hills, mountains, and valleys to wander, conquer, and descend. It has two national parks to explore; the Sierras de Grazalema to the east, and the Alcornocales National Park toward the south. The photos that follow are taken from some of my trips through these hills.

Continue reading “Exploring the Mountains and Valleys of Cádiz, Andalucía (Photo Gallery)”

Shakespeare in Love (with Sherry)

Jerez de la Frontera is a city for romantics, its drink a drop for lovers of the vine. And the greatest lover of them all – Shakespeare – was madly in love with Sherry. Continue reading “Shakespeare in Love (with Sherry)”

Sensing Semana Santa: Holy Week in Southern Spain, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)

“In the south, we need to touch” – this is how the Spanish tradition of Semana Santa was explained to me by Manuel, council representative of Defensión brotherhood, a religious association which for over fifty years has participated in the Holy Week processions of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Commemorating the final days of Christ, the Semana Santa is an assault on your eyes and ears, and a jig-saw puzzle for your head. Continue reading “Sensing Semana Santa: Holy Week in Southern Spain, Jerez de la Frontera (Photo Feature)”

Coasting through Cádiz, Spain: The Vía Verde de la Sierra (Photo Story)

Thirty-six kilometres of dirt track winding around and up and down the hills of the Sierra de Grazalema, this is the Vía Verde de la Sierra, Cádiz. Continue reading “Coasting through Cádiz, Spain: The Vía Verde de la Sierra (Photo Story)”

A Fowl Society: On Human Behaviour in Chickens (and Vice-Versa)

The Venus of Willendorf. Shoes. Omar Khayyam. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Sewage. The feats and fames of humankind are many and diverse – but we remain, as ever, animals; and as animals we forever behave. Continue reading “A Fowl Society: On Human Behaviour in Chickens (and Vice-Versa)”

The Grape, the Olive, and the Orange: Zahara de la Sierra, Andalusia (Photo Story)

The Holy Trinity of Andalusian cuisine and culture – the grape, the olive, and the orange – has long had a home at Zahara de la Sierra, Cadiz, perched up on the northern borderline of what is probably the province’s single most important natural asset: the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. I went there to Zahara to take a walk around and up and down. Continue reading “The Grape, the Olive, and the Orange: Zahara de la Sierra, Andalusia (Photo Story)”

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