A Kiss Behind the Castanets, accompanying photos

Photos that accompany my first book, A kiss Behind the Castanets, buying a house in Spain.


A Kiss Behind the Castanets sounds as if it might be a romance. If there is romance involved it is a passion for a country, a way of life, and for the people of that country.

The title is a nod to my mum, who is no longer with us, and a song she used to love singing. It gives me a warm feeling to be able to do this for her so, for you mum, this is what your family are up to these days.

Apart from a few photos taken by our fabulously talented photographer friend, Nick Moore, these are just snapshots that we have taken ourselves so please don’t expect perfection. My hope is that they bring to life people, places, and experiences that I have written about and help you to enjoy the book just that little bit more.

A kiss Behind the Castanets, where it all started.
Where the wanderlust started.

I grew up listening to tales of the magical and mystical Far East.

My Dad in Malaya before the fall of Singapore.





Below: As we stepped over the threshold of the small house on the left the ceiling landed at our feet!
Buying a house and living in Spain. Make sure the roof is not on the floor! Buying a house and living in Spain with a built in laundry?

All mod cons. Many, including the one we eventually bought, had their own built in laundry.

Below :  My dream had come true of buying a house in Spain.

The Tardis

            “Small innit?”
The Spanish town house property we bought in El Nacarino. The Tardis Spain Style!

But on the inside…….

The kitchen before renovation and the only bathroom which would eventually become a swish en-suite for the new downstairs bedroom.

Living the dream in Spain? Living the dream all mod cons?
Living the dream, it just gets better!Our not so beautiful patio.

‘A work in progress’

A work in progress. Still a work in progress. The pitfalls of buying a house in Spain!

and continued to be for almost two years!

“Tony has left it perfect for you”

El Nacarino indoor building site.A safe place for children-NOT!

El Nacarino.

Goats in El Nacarino. Goat in El Nacarino. Goat herder and his herd or tribe in El Nacarino .

If there was a traffic jam in El Nacarino you could guarantee that these would be the cause.


At the Donkey Sanctuary.
A break from the mess of building work. Suzanne at the donkey sanctuary.
Mickey and Minnie.

From the rooftop the angel wings on the church bells looked like big ears and were nicknamed by us ‘Mickey and Minnie.’ As the bells rang the ‘whoosh’ they made could be felt through the house.

Spanish Alter boy.

Silver thuribles with incense wafting the prayers of the faithful heavenwards.

The virgin at El Nacarino.

Crowds cram into the narrowest of streets as the Virgin is carried through the town.

The virgin Mary.

At the end of her journey and
turned to watch the fireworks.

Fireworks in the centre of El Nacarino.

When the smoke cleared people were leaning over
balconies over where the fireworks had been ignited.

More fireworks in El Nacarino.

And poof she was gone in a shower of sparkles.


My darling neighbour Concha.

When I left El Nacarino I left a part of my heart right just there.


Buying a property in Spain. Kim working hard.

Kim taking a break from ripping up cardboard to put the rubbish out.
Shortly after this she upped sticks and moved to the Isle of Man.



More processions in El Nacarino. Always a party somewhere living in Spain.

There’s a party going on somewhere.
Flowerpot men in El Nacarino.

Is he Bill or is he Ben?


Penitents – not the Klan.

Penitents - not the Klan.

An eerie but splendid sight.

Penitents, not the Klan.

Many, like the man above, drag chains behind them.

Buying a property in Spain, the second house.


Our first night in Acerico.

Our first night in Acerico.

Surrounded by boxes and not looking forward to the task ahead.

Acerico pool.

Adrian’s priority – because he could.

Furniture could wait for another day.

Grandad and Grandson having fun. Grandad and Grandson.

Pool races. Findley narrowly winning by an inflatable.


Rafa y Dolores. The kindest people on the planet.
Rafa y Dolores.

​Rafa y Dolores. Las personas más amables del planeta.

Rafa's palm tree.

The palm tree tenderly nursed by Rafa flowering for the first time ever.

The pool, split from top to bottom at either end.

Our pool was about to break it’s back and needed urgent repair. When it was empty we discovered it had been previously repaired with window putty and covered over
with house paint! The pitfalls of buying a property in Spain!

Pool crack! The pitfalls of buying a property in Spain. Pool repair. Ready for pool Staples.

Ginormous staples were needed to hold it together.

Getting ready for pool steps. Hot work. Bricks for pool steps.

While we were at it we decided to take away the ladder and have steps in their place.

Brick delivery.

Brick delivery. brick delivery 2

Piled high with bricks and swinging precariously the dodgy fork lift transferred material from lorry to ground.

Pool paint job.

Swanky new steps and a paint job.


An unexpected arrival and an empty pool.

where is the water? Who needs water.

Who needs a pool full of water?



Grandchildren in our Acerico swimming pool. Eva and friend.
Kids are just gonna have fun!
Dog days.
Acerico dogs.

Our neighbour’s dogs. In the early days the white one terrified me.

Acerico cats.

Florence and Carmen sunning themselves on the window ledge.

Cato and Carmen

“I’m afraid of no dog.” Carmen – braver than me on the other side of the fence with Cato.

Florence and Jean.

Florence. With cat-like stealth she crept into our hearts and our lives with ease.

​The chicken from hell!

Demon chicken with her brood.

Demon chicken with her brood.

Adrian tempting the chickens back home.

Adrian tempting the chickens back home.

Chickens from hell!
Finally success and then the neighbours returned and threw them back over the fence.
Grandpa chillin in Acerico.Safe again Grandpa.

The Coop

The Coop before.

From this…….


The Coop after.

……..to this.


Coop tiling.

We worked

Coop WC area.

and worked

Adrian not a happy bunny.

and worked! How much does Grandad love you Christian?

Grandad loves his Grandchildren.

He loves you this much.

Christian and Georgia.
But it was worth it. Christian and Georgia relaxing in the pool.
Testicle Trees.
Testicle Trees

The biggest and greenest pair of cojones you ever did see.


Tapas in Acerico Spain. Tapas in Acerico.

A night out with Christian and Georgia and the tapas kept on coming.

Tapas in Acerico half eaten!
The kitchen wasn’t open but the bartender cooked especially for us. Adrian started on this before I had a chance to take a pic!.
Jamon on display in our local supermercado. Jamon on display in our local supermercado.

Jamon on display in our local supermercado.



The paella meister at work.
Paella production. Paella serving time.

And a delicious result.

And of course wine.

Wine and more wine!Suzanne ordered a glass of wine and got a bottle! No problem there then.


The Flamenco festival in Ecija.

The Flamenco festival. Flamenco festival. Young Flamenco dancer. 


The Flamenco festival in Ecija.
All these young girls danced until midnight.
Lovely señoritas. Lovely señoritas in Ecija.

Lovely señoritas



Rock and Roll Spanish style!
Our serenader.
Several euros later, he finally agreed Adrian was not a famous Rock star and moved on.
delicious churros.
After the feria – delicious churros.

Hunting season

The wasp proof princess.

The wasp proof princess.

Afternoon hunt. Dead wasps in Acerico.

This was a particularly bad summer and we were plagued with wasps. This was just one afternoon’s haul from around the pool.




The ‘marvellous’ Elaine. Beautiful inside and out.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed A kiss Behind the Castanets.