May 12, 2013
CITY FOLK ARE A FUNNY LOT. When they take a trip to the countryside, they tend to adopt a superior attitude towards the rustic bumpkins while betraying their general ignorance regarding all about them.
They smile with pleasure at the sight of the lambs gambolling about the fields, conveniently forgetting that soon those cute animals will be slaughtered to satisfy their appetites. Their delicate urban nostrils sniff with disgust at such basic farming odours as manure spread over the fields.
That does not fit their idea of the simple life, i.e. a deodorized dream of bucolic paradise. Sadly that paradise never existed. And as for the “simple life”, that can be just a little complicated.
As the “hero” of David Baird’s latest book, Don’t Miss The Fiesta!, a thriller with macabre touches set in a Spanish village, discovers to his cost. Read the rest of this entry »
April 27, 2013
Sunny Side Up is David Baird’s ironic look at rural life, reflecting the dramatic changes in southern Spain since he went to live there more than 30 years ago. And now it’s part of a school curriculum — making it required reading in Spanish schools.
Sunny Side Up Up — The 21st century hits a Spanish village has for the second year running been selected as a set book for Fifth Grade students at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Motril, Granada province. In addition, high school pupils in Nerja on the Costa del Sol are using the book in their English studies.
“This is a bit daunting,” admits David, a journalist and author long based in the Axarquía (the eastern corner of Málaga province). “I have to give presentations to the students and I’m used to asking questions rather than answering them.
“Fielding questions from a bunch of critical students is a different game — especially for somebody who until recently had never made a public speech in his life!”
Hilarious, nostalgic and moving, his book inspired the Sunday Times to comment: “Recommended reading for anybody who ever wondered what happened to the ‘real Spain’.”
After working around the world as a journalist, David has been based for some years in Spain, reporting for international publications on everything from earthquakes to wine festivals.
Sunny Side Up is published by Maroma Press (www.maromapress.wordpress.com) and is available from English-language bookshops in Spain or from Amazon.
February 22, 2013
HIS EXPLOITS have entertained millions. And they willingly suspend belief as they enjoy the crazy escapades of Indiana Jones in the various films in which he is portrayed by Harrison Ford.
But hold on! Could Indiana Jones have ever existed in real life? Not with that name maybe. But somebody remarkably like Indiana Jones did play a dramatic role in the war against the Nazis.
His name: Carleton S. Coon and when you read of his exploits it seems quite likely that the film character was based on him. Colourful background information, lending substance to this, is detailed in David Baird’s book Between Two Fires – Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras. Read the rest of this entry »
January 1, 2013
“This superbly written book could not be more timely.”
So says Paul Preston, one of the most respected authors concentrating on recent Spanish history.
He is referring to Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras, a poignant account of how a Spanish village was trapped in a brutal conflict — one which went virtually unreported due to strict censorship.
A new edition of this in-depth investigation written by longtime resident of Spain David Baird is just out. Praise has come from across the world. Read the rest of this entry »
November 6, 2012
TRAVEL the back roads of Spain and you will pass many a whitewashed village. Slumbering in the sun, forgotten by the world, far from the rat race…places where nothing ever happens.
Dream on. Behind those white walls you will find more drama and passion than you could ever imagine. All human life is here, in all its varieties.
British journalist David Baird and his Dutch wife found that out fast enough when — after travelling the world — they settled in an Andalusian village, seeking “the simple life”. Read the rest of this entry »
August 8, 2012
One night was enough for me (writes David Baird). Friends invited my wife and myself to stay the weekend at their new-found shangri-la, a remote cortijo in the countryside of southern Spain.
The idea was to enjoy the rural tranquillity. Tranquillity? Madre mía! Throughout the night it seemed we were under siege as a pack of wild dogs stormed around the isolated farmhouse, baying like the hound of the Baskervilles multiplied a hundredfold.
At breakfast our friends joked about neighbours dropping in at all hours, moody, taciturn types who would sit at the kitchen table gazing at them in a strange fashion. Read the rest of this entry »