Wednesday, October 21, 2020


This post is a little late, as wifi was variable during the final days of our trip - a week stolen on impulse, changing our booking and extending our travel eastwards: VĂ©lez-Rubio, for an overnight Aire stop in this little riverside town between two sierras with a restaurant playing Wham, then on to Vilajoyosa where I'd stayed with Jill Miller, feminist writer and Frome's inspirational charity innovator, who made this lovely beach resort her home for several years before her death last October.

Time for more crags and castles then as we moved slowly westwards: Jalance, with a hermitage and superb historic mosaic fountains -Albarracin, where our cliff-top Aire gave stunning views across the double-walled hill, - Medinaceli with its massive Roman arch.

By now we're moving consciously towards Santander, via the Rioja region: a mellow Sunday night in Labastida and then Lierganes our final stop before Santander and the ferry home. 
And after two and a half thousand miles of driving, stopping in quiet places with amazing buildings & fascinating histories, what's really seared on my mind is the space: the vast vivid sky, endlessly blue on most days - the massive sierras, the near-endless forests and rocks of our driving landscape - their subtle colour shifts through every tonal range: coppery-gold to russet, lime-green to forest, pale sapphire to cerulean...  England still feels strange: grey, and crowded. I guess I'll get used to it. 

Even now we're back there won't be any Frome-related live reports till the requisite 14 days is up, but it's good to see 'the arts' are holding their own... Frome's talented visual animator Patrick Dunn has created a short video for Steve Pottinger's poem inspired by that crass advert urging creatives to de-skill from their years of training, inspiration & commitment, and sit over a keyboard instead. - you can see this animated version of Fatima here. Sadly, I missed Liv Torc's 'Rainbow Fish Speakeasy' zoom event with Elvis Mcgonagall, one of the excellent promotions from Wordplay, but it's good to know creatives are finding routes within the confines: live music & meetings, and online readings & workshops. Also lightening the final days of official summer for me: an enthusiastic review of The Price of Bread from the editor of Plays International which included the suggestion that this 'fast-moving story that has balanced narration and history, the private and the public, with sensitivity. Reading it non-stop I became convinced that it is a potential Booker Prize candidate.'  

So there's always something nice about coming home, even when your fridge has died and everything's now in a puddle of water.  

No comments: