Do you know what this is?

Plastic greenhouses in Almeria. For more shocking environmental comparison pics, check out this piece from

It feels like Madrid is under an enormous greenhouse at the moment – up to 36º today according to a bus stop thermometer… I think I’m getting obsessed with the weather…

The joys of being a translator…

A warning to anyone considering translation as a career. There will be sunny Saturday mornings when you are stuck inside translating sentences like this:

Es un método en el que el avance de la excavación se ajusta con gran versatilidad a las condiciones del terreno y en el que se utiliza entibación cuajada con tablones de madera como sostenimiento provisional, dejando en las sucesivas fases de la excavación de la sección de avance una porción muy limitada de la misma, cuya amplitud se ajusta a las condiciones existentes, sin entibación hasta que se coloca ésta.

Aaahhh! Help!!!


This man certainly has something to say about the European constitution.. though I’m still not sure quite what he was implying… He was wandering around the book fair in the Retiro park. It seems he’s not the only one to have been unsettled by the recent results from Holland and France. Italy’s Labour Minister wants to ditch the Euro and return to the Lira!

Meanwhile, it really was a pretty nice evening for a walk…

…and later, we somehow ended up at the terraza around the corner where I also ate yesterday, though it was a lot quiter this evening. I have a feeling we will be spending quite a bit of time there this summer.

A quiet drink on a terraza

Well, it was a quiet drink until a Romanian lady with a portable amp. came along and started singing. There was no food in the house so I went and sat at a table at a bar around the corner for a cool bottle of mahou and some pan tomaca. It’s Hotting up now, 28 degrees at 22.30…

I feel like I should have intelligent things to say about the French and the Dutch saying ‘no’ to the European constitution, but I don’t, so I’m going to point you to these comments on Adam Curry’s weblog instead.

Podcast No. 4 ! Where to live and work in Spain

It’s another Notes from Spain podcast! First part of a series on living in Spain.

Where to Live and work in Spain – show notes:

  • San Sebastian and the North Coast
  • Madrid – a word of warning!
  • Valencia – Las Fallas!
  • Barcelona
  • Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Malaga
  • Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz
  • Seville
  • Cordoba
  • Granada and the Alpujarras – the best of Spain?
  • Where not to live in Spain…

Click here to listen (30 mins, 13 mb).

Quiero moto

23:55 – 22 ºC – rain, refreshing

I passed my motrbike test the other day. A horrible business in Spain – driving around a series of cones before negotiating a 5 m long, 6inch wide raised iron bar. I saw several people fail on this part of the exam, including one poor girl who was moved to tears, before finally managing to pass the test myself. Incredible… I was sure I was bound to fail. So now I am in the market for a medium sized motorbike. Luckily I have my friends at to help… this is the power of the net, where everyone is an expert in something and happy to help anyone with questions. Great.

So, should it be a honda cbf 500, or a suzuki? It’s all academic really as I haven’t got a penny to spare! Still, por ahora tengo la Vespa, asi que… paciencia…

What is a podcast anyway?

A podcast is a radio show that is downloaded straight to the computer from the internet and then listened to either on the computer itself or on any mp3 music player (it doesnt have to be an Apple ipod player.) A podcast might be a talk show, an audio travelogue, a ‘sound seeing tour‘, a dj ruminating on life whilst playing favourite songs, a weekly showcase of new comedy or unknown bands, or a combination of all of the above.

The point is that a podcast can consist of any format already found in traditional radio. Its secret, and often the key to its success, is the ability to focus on specific audience profiles – this is why it is often described as niche radio. For example the ‘Costa del Podcast’ might be a programme aimed specifically towards the expat community on the Costa del Sol.

For more info on podcasting check out the following links: – podcasts, forums, interviews and more – a comprehensive directory of podcasts – the ‘podfather’, including daily show and blogs on podcasting – the podcast creator, geeky stuff on blogging, the web and more, but great if you like that sort of thing

Joder que temperature rise…

Saturday afternoon, 7 p.m., 34 degrees in the flat. This country is crazy.

One minute it’s a nice kind of spring, (almost literally a minute, spring is usually as short-lived as it is pleasant – i.e. very), and the next thing you know, bang! mid-thirties all day and all night long. It plays tricks on the brain, the siesta becomes a total necessity, not just some funny Spanish stereotype. Worst of all is what my wife has just informed me is known as a ‘Bochorno’ – heavy weather, formation of cloud, very hot – but there’s no way it’s going to give in and clear the air with a nice burst of rain.

Damn it’s hot. And this is only the beginning, from here on up into the 40’s – yipee!

An revelation about the internet…

Much as I love it, the internet used to worry me, I thought it may have the power to turn us all into recluses, shut up at home ‘surfing’, or blogging away to ourselves… But quite the opposite is occuring. Forums, blogosheres, yahoo groups – they are bringing people together in person, not just in cyberspace as I had once feared. For example, local motorcyclists are meeting other motorbike enthusiasts through forums, and organising weekly bike rides around Madrid; last week I heard a podcast with Clark Boyd, a BBC podcaster from the states who was interested in meeting podcast listeners whilst on a trip to Spain, and indeed we are set to meet up in a couple of weeks. How the hell did people ever meet other like-minded people in the past? Well, I suppose it justy took a little longer…

So, it’s no longer just lovers and conferencing bloggers that are getting together via the net – there’s a big shared interests thing taking off here and I think it’s going to be big. Thank God – I thought for a minute that the net, despite all its wonders, might become a hinderance to a large part of (social) life as we know it….