About Me

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Hi, welcome to my blog. I'm a writer of poetry, prose and plays but my best known work is children's fiction. My most popular books are the Selby series and the Emily Eyefinger series. This blog is intended as an entertaining collection of thoughts and pictures from here in Australia and from my travels in other parts of the world. I hope you enjoy it. (For more information have a look at my website.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Very Different Spain

Think of Spain and you think of bullfights and flamenco music but you won't find either of these in the north. A few weeks ago my wife and I were in the beautiful town (they call it a city) of Cangas de Onis in the province of Asturias on the north coast of Spain. There's a heavy celtic influence here where bagpipes are a traditional musical instrument and cider is the local drink. It's mountainous, cool and very rainy not unlike other celtic places: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany.
I spent a (cold, wet, rainy) summer in Asturias as a boy, swimming in the almost-unswimmably cold waters of the Bay of Biscay. And I often wore wooden clogs when I left the house because of the deep mud in the streets. The roads in villages are paved now and farmers wear wellies when they work in their fields but you can still buy clogs at the markets. I wonder if anyone still uses them.

My wife and I just happened to be in Cangas de Onis on the day of the annual Feria de Quesos---the Cheese Festival. This area is known for its wonderful cheeses, especially Cabrales blue cheese. In a big tent in the centre of town a panel of big cheeses were awarding prizes to the best cheeses while we made our way around sampling so many little bits that, by the time we left, we were too full to even think about eating lunch.
It's a pity we couldn't have brought a round or two back to Australia with us but of course quarantine rules forbid it.

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