Welcome to El Brigadoono

… In the middle of nowhere. (I imagine the inhabitants of the beautiful village of Relleu in the Alicante mountains might disagree.)

Miles up a remote, winding road, scary steep drops at either side. Impossible to get out without a car (which I don’t have). I rely on the kindness of strangers (in a Southern drawl).

Mates gone. No Moira, no family. Very little internet, dodgy signal. All on my wee ownio. Which is why this song. Written for my Maddy Shannon novel, Potter’s Field, it’s about my distant, wonderful Glasgow, and it’s healing to hear Moira’s lovely singing voice….

But don’t send help.

If only Liam and his camera were here. I can’t capture the breathtaking beauty of this place.

Christopher and Marisa’s flat, across from their home, is perfect to write in. And they are lovely people, with shared interests. Here are a few foties of my working environment….

Where I’m spending up to 10 hours a day
The telly is for videos only. But I’m far too busy working.
Reading Cela, Machado, Heaney and Burns at night

And here’s a local street, and a hill I’ve now climbed…

La Divina, 1100 metres high.
Been there, done that.

A week here already. Another week to go, then I meet Daniel, my son, and Michael, my nephew, in Malaga for 5 days. They’ve kindly agreed to help me walk the last tranche of Laurie Lee’s route in 1935.

Then back here for another week, before Moira comes out. Yay. Though I’ll keep on writing for another three weeks after that.

Blog after this…. Less personal stuff. I’ve been talking to locals, and researching Historical Memory archives here. The Civil War and its aftermath still very much a live topic. What to do with Franco’s remains. How to recognize the soldiers who bravely defended the Republic – and their international comrades in the 15th Brigade. Franco hated the Alicante region – the last to fall. They fought the Rebels to the bitter end. And suffered terrible damage, often at the hands of Mussolini’s troops. Rellleu has its own dramatic story too tell.

Plus some images and sounds Eddie, Liam and I couldn’t get in to previous blogs.

Stay with me and keep me company?!

8 thoughts on “Welcome to El Brigadoono

  1. That’s the neatest writer’s desk I ever set eyes on! Are you sure it wasn’t staged?! Looking forward to reading more and enjoy the rest of your journey, Chris.


  2. Thanks, Danny. Yip. Getting there and really missing my cycling mates and the dusty roads of La Mancha. ¡Adelante compañero¡ That song is so beautiful. Moira’s voice gets me every time.


  3. Really enjoying the blog, Chris, and just love that song…and Moira’s voice. (Yours is no bad either….)


  4. Hi Chris,
    Anna & I met Eddie last night & he is in typically good form. Getting on with different stuff. I mentioned to Eddie that we had posted a response to one of the blogs but it didn`t appear. It was when you were in Segovia. Anna & I were there when I was working in Madrid about 5 years ago. I was very impressed with the aquaduct and the stones all dressed and interleaving perfectly. I brilliant piece of engineering & not like a “dry stane dyke” at all. We had them on my parents farm and we were always repairing them. I did have the local delicacy & I haven`t been able to look a piglet in the eye ever since.We were amazed that you guys met a descendant of Don Roberto. It seems that he has been airbrushed out of history. He was a truly extraordinary character as was his wife. I guess the ILP/LP disowned him when he pursued a scottish nationalist agenda. Hope things are OK & you are getting on with your book etc.
    Catch up when you get back
    See you,
    Neil & Anna


  5. 10 hours a day! I thought the words just fell out of your head…
    Be careful though, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy😱


  6. Beautiful singing from both . Really enjoyed your blog – first time Ive ever followed anyone !!
    All good wishes for the next part . Aileen & Jonathan


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