Edinburgh’s best bookshops

Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Edinburgh. There’s something about the city that just radiates nostalgic indulgence. The pub that had just the right music. The view that was hit by just the right light. The kebab that hit just the right spot. You know the story. But even for a city as old as Edinburgh, the streets are […]

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Why Brexit matters in Almeria 

FOR British expatriates living in Almeria, Brexit is the elephant in the room. Everyone will have different ties back to the UK, but most will have some financial connection whether by property, pensions or family.  In the last two weeks, Theresa May’s pricey £1bn deal to forge a pact with the DUP represents the most […]

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Who’s who in Almeria 

In Almeria, like politics everywhere, it can be a little difficult to know who the key players are, and that’s what we’re looking at this week.  Susana Diaz has been President of Andalusia since 2013. She’s also a leading national figure in PSOE, having contested the leadership of the national party in 2017, losing to […]

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Why you should visit Albox

A very dear friend once wrote to me that Andalusia is an untapped marvel in tourism. I’d add that Albox is a rural delight unmatched in its authentic Spanish charm.  Not as well-known as say, Ronda, it’s just as traditional whilst a good distance away from the overwhelming affectations of modernity.  Located in the middle of […]

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The Alhambra, populism and the dangers of an ignorant population

‘Western civilisation is more connected than ever, yet the ability of populations to discern fact from fiction and to decide which is an outright lie has declined. In the case of Trump, what is curious, is the presumption that politicians and leaders will lie seems to have reached a satirical impasse. There’s the cliche that politicians or someone in public life will lie but surely they can’t lie that much. There is an implicit presumption and trust that they could never go that far and it has allowed, with the absence of historical knowledge, deception, and hyperbole to become commonplace.’

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Why a returning flight is the least relaxing journey in the world

These thoughts, of course, all congeal together to make the return flight a tedious slow motion haze of recognisable cliché. No, I don’t want a menu. No, I don’t want anything to eat. No, I don’t want a lottery ticket, duty-free items, charity donation forms or anything else from the tat rags they pedal at 30,000 feet. There’s also a special place in hell for anyone that keeps repeatedly bumping your shoulder as they march past you down the aisle.

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Gibraltar might be living history, but it needs to change

That’s not even the weird part. Cross over from Spain and your next obstacle is to walk across North Front Airfield. To divine an understanding as to why someone thought this design was a good idea is to divine the meaning of life at the same time. For all that Gibraltar looks British it’s probably the last hold out against health and safety as 747s are taking off from a runway which intersects Winston Churchill Avenue, the main north-south street, which requires movable barricades to close when aircraft land and depart. The History Channel programme Most Extreme Airports ranked the airport the fifth most extreme airport in the world and it’s no wonder.

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We cannot rely on niceties alone to defend UK citizens abroad

My country: What does it mean to me when I’m abroad?

This question forms a remarkably regular part of your thoughts when you’re sitting a thousand miles from home and 347 miles from the nearest British embassy in Madrid. For some the answer begins and ends with a British passport or the inconvenience of customs or the ridiculously high phone tariffs that signal being abroad. For others, the question never even occurs, but for those of a more pontificating or alarmist disposition, the question becomes whether or not the UK can protect its citizens if they get into real trouble abroad.

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Cattle class with Ryanair

Ryanair has all the charm of an old whore who charges too much. I don’t despise flying. It’s the whole system. As soon as you arrive at the airport you’re treated as a commercial puppy; either too stupid to see that the markup is so through the roof as to break a Zimbabwean bank or you’re condescended to in such a way as to make you question your own faculties at 4am.

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‘We in Spain’: Thoughts on the Scottish referendum

I left the UK on the 1st of Spain and I’d registered to have a postal vote. I was streaming the UK news daily. What I didn’t quite anticipate for was – despite the posturing of the Spanish prime minister – that the issue was as lively a news topic as it was at home. For days before everyone knew what Scotland might do and what the issues were. Few people in this southerly resort could name the campaign leaders, but they could certainly talk about the economic and social pros and cons with aplomb.

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Homage to El Ejido

Living abroad for ten months, with a ten-day visit home at Christmas, dulls the senses a bit. It’s July now and after so long away and either by necessity or circumstance home becomes an intangible lucid dream in the back of your head: it’s so familiar that when you invoke it you’re there with every detail. When you return to Her Majesty’s shores the same thing can be said of El Ejido, where I work or Almerimar where I live. Sandy beaches, beautiful vistas and a deep love for my job teaching English: you get the gist.

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