Photograph courtesy of Kim. June 14

Scheming & Dreaming. The Latest From Your Iberian Correspondent.

Your Iberian Correspondent has been somewhat remiss on keeping up with her Rioja Diaries. Four months has lapsed since the last entry; enough time that were I a hamster, I’d have produced five litters of babies by now and girding my loins for a sixth. But, as it so happens, I am not a hamster; […]

photo February 08

Bloody Sunday

Mercifully, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times in my life that I’ve been so embarrassed or ashamed that I’ve wanted the ground to swallow me up, right there, right then. Being a fairly confident, laid back type of person, it takes a lot to make me blush or drop my […]

dresser-and-hats November 06

Queremos, Podemos, Tenemos – One Year In Andalucia

It was a scorchio day in early August. Walking back down through the village after putting our rubbish in to the bin, I spotted Carlos coming out of his house. He was noticeably hot and sweaty and his vast belly, fine testament to a lifetime of greasy Andalucían fare, had burst through all the buttons […]

Mr and Mrs Staffordshire August 19

My Epic Mother Of The Bride Fail

As I troughed down the last of the roast potatoes, polished off the remnants of pudding, and then sank an entire packet of Jelly Belly’s, I vowed, not just to myself, but also to the fine assembled company round me that,that by August 22nd 2014 I would look like a stick insect. Everyone chuckled, they […]

Sunflowers August 12

Snail Mail And A Postcard From Malta

Our Internet has been playing up, again. Nothing unusual but it is frustrating as we are dependant on it for work and keeping in touch with life on the other side of the mountain. I have a feeling that part of the problem is that we are on the most basic tariff, the one where […]

Robin's nest found in olive tree at harvest time July 30

A Wing And A Prayer – A Swallow’s Tale.

You may recall a couple of month’s back, my mentioning a visit from Mr and Mrs Swallow? Well, I’m sorry to say but there have been a series of unfortunate events that have occurred over the past weeks and it is my duty, as author of The Rioja Diaries, to report these somewhat tragic happenings […]

Spode bowl with lemons July 28

Concrete Jam And Ipads

Judging from the amount of homemade jam, pickles and chutneys that I now have stored in the larder, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I was some sort of Domestic Goddess like Nigella Lawson (I wish) or Martha Stewart. In the past few weeks we’ve been inundated with gifts of cherries, plums and apricots. Not […]

IMG_1337 July 16

Life In The Slow Lane

Temperatures have now hit the 40’s and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. On the plus side, washing dries in about 3 minutes flat – the downside is that in this sort of heat, I feel like a fat, idle slug. I have to muster all my energy and resolve to get any […]

handsome-donkey July 12

Donkey Xote

An interesting feature of our sitting room and also something of a talking point, are the 6-inch long wooden penises that protrude suggestively from the back wall. These phallic oddities may seem incongruous surrounded by the paraphernalia of Casa Nevin but they, along with the remnants of a swallow’s nest are a reminder that until […]

pete-&-lottie-nevin--taberna June 02

The Axe Man Cometh

If it hadn’t been for Colin Snout, I’m not sure that we would have discovered Fort Bravo. I first went there by accident last November. It was the day that I’d arranged to collect Colin from the dog rescue charity. Rather than driving the 600 kilometres up to Alicante, it was agreed that we would […]

las-pilas-de-fuente-soto--palm-trees May 29

Un Paseo Con Colin

I’m writing this post in bed. Hidden from view underneath the duvet is my companion, Colin Snout. He’s snoring loudly and I am watching the covers as they rise and fall to the rhythm of his breathing and the odd wriggle as he dreams his doggy dreams. I can’t help but smile; Irishman would be […]

assembling-ingredients May 28

Fairies & Cherries

The wait is over. Blossom has turned to fruit and the cherry harvest has begun. The trees are so laden with their scarlet bounty that the boughs are sagging under the weight. The ladies in the village have been making all sorts of cherry treats, cakes, desserts, jams, and pastries. They’ve even held a competition […]

garden-pots May 17

Swallows And Artichokes

Soon the cloudless Andalucían sky was teeming with swallows. Their fork tailed silhouettes swooping and darting across the brilliant azure. Beneath their flight path, Primavera had been busy spreading her verdant cloak across the landscape; valleys and hills now shimmered in a haze of sap. Winter’s jaded tones replaced by the fresh, youthful complexion of […]

dream-home-complete May 05

Fatty’s First Spanish Winter

Winter caught us with our pants down. Not only were we ill prepared, we hadn’t realized just how freezing it can get here. One minute we’d been enjoying the warm October sunshine; the next there was snow and temperatures dropping to minus 7 at night. The old windows shock and rattled, rain poured through our […]

still-life April 28

Twelve Grapes

The novelty of pooing in a bucket wore off sooner than I had imagined . I’d rather hoped that the entertainment factor would see me through at least a few weeks but in fact it was less short lived than that, a matter of hours and already I was fed up having to use a […]

Doc-Martins April 27

Extra Virgin

No sooner had the frenzy of chorizo and sausage making finally ground to a halt and the last rings of La Matanza’s prized morcilla been hung out to dry, than it was time for the start of olive harvest. It was now early December and the pace of our sleepy village suddenly moved up a […]

pig-and-hook February 17

La Matanza – Rural living in Andalucia

For days afterwards, the smell of onions permeated everything; it was in my hair, on my hands, impregnated in my clothes. My hands were cut to shreds and fingers stained dark brown from the onion peelings. Despite everything, I was glad that I was able to have been of some help in the preparation for […]

the-onion-peelers--muma February 16

Know Your Spanish Onions

I think I must have downed at least four sherries whilst sat in the bar with Antonia, pondering on what to do with the mysterious icons. I weaved my way back to the house, went upstairs and gathered them up from the table where I’d left them after Anna and Antonio’s visit. Fortunately Miguel was […]

snow-in-olive-groves---las-pilas February 14

Mysterious Happenings At Bleak House

The novelty of camping in our new home ended the moment the builders arrived. Up until that point we’d been coping well; it was basic living, but we were managing. Within days of their starting work, the whole house looked like a building site and nowhere was spared the thick covering of dust, rubble and […]

colin-et-moi-uno January 30

Introducing Colin Snout. Rescue Me!

The chocolate brown eyes looked lovingly up at me from inside Manolo’s coat. ‘Oh you little darling’ I said, lifting the puppy from Manolo’s arms and taking the furry bundle into my own. ‘He is a gift for you and Pedro, a house warming present’. I looked at Manolo and smiled. It was very kind […]

hare January 27

My Cup Runneth Over

Within a week or so, quotes starting arriving for the various building works that we urgently needed to do. So far we’d been lucky with the weather. Although it had become cold at night, each morning the sun would burst through the cracks in our bedroom shutters, heralding the start of another warm, sunny day. […]

the-artist January 26

Which Juan? That Juan? Or This Juan? Or The Other Juan?

Looking on the bright side, having a car with a mind of its own did mean that we got to meet most of the villagers on our first day. Perhaps not the most orthodox social introduction to the people whose lives and work revolve around the olive trees and groves but it was a good […]

village1 January 24

The Joy Ride

Paco seemed most amused at being the bearer of bad news. He watched the shock on our faces as our eyes scanned the empty parking spot where the car had previously stood. He started laughing, a raucous, great belly laugh. ‘Oh dear’ he said, wiping the tears from his eyes ‘You’d better follow me’. Out […]

ensconced January 22

Buckets Of Fun

It must have been around 1.30am when I woke up needing a pee. I rolled over to get out of bed but some force of gravity pushed me back down into the centre of the mattress. I could not remember there being an enormous sag in the bed that Antonio had gifted us, but then, […]

evening-light January 08

Our Baptism Of Fire

< Irishman squeezed my hand lovingly. This was it, our baptism of fire. Our initiation into Spanish village life was about to begin. We parted the beaded curtain and walked into the dimly lit bar. There were some men sat playing cards but they were too engrossed in their game to notice us. Not so […]

house-keys---four-inches-long January 06

The Road From Bilbao

The first roundabout we encountered outside the Port of Bilbao proved something of a challenge. Just for the record, we went around it 10 times. ‘The road map, Lottie, where’s the bloody road map?’ ‘ I don’t know! I thought you’d put it in the car?’ ‘NO! You said, that you were putting it into […]

ferry January 04

The Bucket List

The last of the bags, bedding, and essentials, had been crammed into the back of the car. All that remained for me to do the moment that Irishman’s back was turned, was to smuggle in two plastic buckets. The minute I thought he wasn’t looking, I whisked them out of their hiding place and wedged […]

knife October 15

Eid al-Adha Jakarta 2013 : The Feast Of Sacrifice

I must warn you that this post contains graphic images of animals being slaughtered. If you are vegan, vegetarian or in any way squeamish, then please do not read it. If on the other hand you are interested in learning about this special day in the Muslim calendar, you are in luck; your South-east Asian […]

rude-goat October 09

Glue, Codeine & Beer – The Perks Of Packing

God only knows what goes into the glue here but it’s good! I’ve been up since 5am packing and my back is now knackered. A fistful of 30mg codeine, a few cans of beer and I’m now feeling stoned. The shippers arrive tomorrow to whisk our worldly goods away to Spain but I’m feeling so […]

Photo taken from Google Images. September 29

Mi aerodeslizador está lleno de anguilas – Lottie’s answer to learning Spanish

I know Irishman meant well and was only trying to offer encouragement by telling me that Thomas Jefferson  taught himself Spanish in nineteen days, but did I really need to hear it? I’m pretty sure that the 3rd President of The United States Of America did not have the advantage that I do of a […]

Yes, we’ve arrived in Jakarta! (Looking Back At My First Post)

Originally posted on Lottie Nevin – The Rioja Diaries:
The Prelude In the past week we have travelled over 17,442 miles. We’ve both laughed and we’ve cried. There has been a divorce and a marriage proposal, all in the same morning.  We’ve drunk ‘probably the most expensive lager in the world’ in the middle of…

I think I need to read this book. September 17

Lottie’s Survival Tips For Big Girls In Jakarta #2

I rarely wear knickers so buying skimpies in Jakarta hasn’t as yet posed a problem. Unfortunately, though I may get away with going commando, I cannot for health and safety reasons abandon my büstenhalter. Since living here, my bosoms have grown from a trim DD to a whopping 36 F and still my cups spilleth […]

eat-my-buns--pete-and-lottie-nevin-wedding-day September 14

Memory Lane – Two Years Down The Line

Two years ago today, I received an anxious phone call from our removal company. ‘Mrs. Nevin, we have an 18 tonne articulated lorry parked outside your house and 4 packers ready to box your things for shipment, where are you? At first I was a little confused but then the penny bounced. ‘OH FUCK!’ I […]

face September 12

Lottie’s Survival Tips For Living In Jakarta #1

Before I leave Jakarta, I feel honour and duty bound to write at least one post on vittels. This post is therefore dedicated to fellow lushes and curry freaks, especially the ones who find them selves here in Jakarta with a trembling hand and a burning desire for a hot madras. In the great Durian, […]

Lottie on Orgasmo-lav September 05

Plato’s Cave In Jakarta

I’ve not written about my bowels for ages, months in fact. There was a time when almost every post I wrote had some reference to having the shits or being rendered housebound by flatulence or a combination of both. I even wrote about my ineptness at aiming straight over a squat toilet. Remember the story […]

Mount-Agung-bali August 24

Rare Sighting Of Unicorn In Bali

“Visitors flocked to the Kintamani area of Bali yesterday after hearing reports that a unicorn had been sighted earlier in the day” “We are told that the unicorn caused quite a stir. Babies screamed, and children ran crying into their mother’s arms. The normally unshakeable bullish women hawkers threw down their baskets of tacky, overpriced […]

nelsons-column August 22

Taking A Left Turn Or, How The Other Half Live

After arriving at an ungodly hour of the morning at Soekarno-Hatta airport, I checked in for my Emirates flight back to London via Dubai and then went to find a cup of coffee. As the noisy tannoy spluttered and gurgled the announcement for my flight, I made my way to the boarding gate. Handing over […]

L-shaped-room August 18

Holding My Nerve And, A Near Miss With A Rabbit Hutch.

Before I venture any further with this story, it might be helpful to first explain why in the end we decided to focus on Spain rather than Portugal as a place to re-locate to. Having previously waxed lyrical about the Eastern Algarve and living close to the sea, we soon realized that we were about […]

lemons-andalucia August 17

Lottie’s Project – House Hunting In Andalucia

Two weeks ago, I was flying off on a mission. Armed with a motley assortment of Irishman’s maxed out credit cards, airplane tickets, vouchers for hotel and car hire in Malaga and whatever clothes I could stuff into a cabin bag not much larger than a pencil case, my brief was to find and buy […]

jakarta-pancoran-sunrise July 12

Just A Bit Of Fun – F/2.8

A spectacular sunrise greeted me the other morning as I stumbled bleary-eyed from my bed. Keen to capture this rare treat for posterity (there is normally too much smog) I grabbed my camera and went out onto the balcony to record the event. In my doziness I never checked the settings and so just snapped […]

IMG_4385 July 11

Fancy A Walk?

I’m taking you on a walk today. You’ll need to be nimble, have 20/20 vision, good hearing and a sense of humour. Kick off your kitten heels and put on your flatties, I can assure you that you’re going to need them. The roadside thermometer reads 36c and 75% humidity outside but don’t think about […]

MrandMrsNevin July 09

Some Marmalade, Madam?

Since Tavira is only 18 miles from the Spanish border, it would have been rude of us not to have paid a visit to Spain during our short stay in the Algarve. How fortunate then that Seville, Andalusia’s magnificent capital seemingly built by the hand of virgins, cherubs, and angels, is just an hour and […]

boat July 05

Sardines, Madam?

Enough of the glums, they are banished! And creative constipation can go hang because I’m determined to get this post out today – there’s a lot of catching up to do. Spike Milligan (one of my all time favourite people) famously said ‘We haven’t got a plan so nothing can go wrong!’ and I have […]

the-wave-jakarta June 01

The Other Side Of The Coin

This photographic challenge that I’ve set myself is proving an interesting exercise. As with most of my creative endeavours, I start with an idea but never quite know how it will end up. So far it’s not going the way that I had hoped. That’s not to say that it is a failure, it’s more […]

butterfly-bali-images May 30

Arachnids & Kids

Having been spoilt rotten and spent the past 8 weeks in Bali, it’s a bit of a rude shock now being back in Jakarta. The two places are as different as chalk and cheese. Each have their good and bad points as anywhere, but they may as well be two different planets from a living […]

hair-wash-bali-river May 27

Inspirational Women

Down by the river the ladies of the kampung bathe themselves and wash their clothes. They were very sweet-natured and kindly allowed me to take these photos. It was an intimate moment as the young woman with the towel around her had been stark-naked just moments before. I asked them how long it takes to […]

cock-fighting-bali-rural-life May 26

Two Men And Their Cocks

I met two men yesterday. Within 5 minutes of being introduced to me they’d got out their cocks and were proudly showing them off . Anywhere else in the world this might seem rather forward but this is Bali and on Bali things are done a little differently. I was delighted to see their cocks […]

jalanjalan-bali-padi-fields May 23

Lost In Bali

Yesterdays trip back to the kampung turned into something of a family outing. Wayan’s 83 year old mother, Wayan and her 17 year old son, wanted to join us on the outing. And why not? The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. I hired a larger car to accomodate us all and made […]

gravatar2 August 28

My Pelvic Floor And Our Move To The 12th Floor

I’m meant to be packing up our apartment in Dengue Villas today. It’s hardly a big deal as we are not actually moving out of the building, merely up 7 floors. To look at the place though you’d think it was. Empty packing boxes are strewn around the sitting room and piles and piles of […]

578966_10151532004771944_494516719_n December 14

Driving The Vicar

About 13 years ago, I moved with my first husband and our five young children to a small, pretty village on the edge of the Dales in North Yorkshire. We had previously lived in a remote farmhouse high up on the windswept moors and I tended and ran a 40-acre Organic smallholding. We kept goats, […]


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