June 11, 2016
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.
“This is a bit daunting,” admitted David, a journalist and author long based in the Axarquía (the eastern corner of Málaga province), when he heard that Sunny Side Up Up — The 21st century hits a Spanish village had been selected as a set book for Fifth Grade students at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Motril, Granada 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.
January 30, 2016
Lonely Planet, the leading guide book on Spain, has heaped praise on the Maroma Press publication Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras.
It comments: “A few communists and republicans continued their struggle after the Civil War in small guerrilla units in Andalucia’s mountains. David Baird’s book Between Two Fires fascinatingly documents the struggle between the guerrillas and the Guardia Civil around the village of Frigiliana in the 1940s and ’50s.”.
The fruit of years of investigation, Between Two Fires is the only book in English that relates what happened AFTER Spain’s Civil War, when rural communities were torn apart as rebels fought to undermine the Franco dictatorship.
To research what happened in those years when tight censorship sealed off Spain from the rest of the world author Baird interviewed former guerrillas, Civil Guards, villagers and their families.
He checked official files all over Spain and as far apart as London and Washington to find out just what happened in a war that went virtually unreported.
In the process he uncovered details about a brutal crime that was covered up for more than 50 years and about the clandestine training of Spanish guerrillas by members of the American secret service.
Between Two Fires is on sale at English bookshops in Spain and from Amazon and other online outlets.
October 31, 2015
ANY DAY NOW the first snows will blanket the summit of one of southern Spain’s highest mountains — just a short distance from the Mediterranean beaches where (hardier) folk swim all year around.
La Maroma, soaring 2,068 metres, is the highest peak in Málaga province — and probably the closest thing to a holy mountain in these parts.
In the days before refrigeration the neveros (literally, “snowmen”) would trek to the top of Maroma to seek snow and ice. This they would pack hard in straw and load it in esparto baskets on the backs of mules. Transported to the coast, the ice was used to cool drinks or make ice-cream. Read the rest of this entry »
June 23, 2015
Picking the right title can make all the difference when your book goes on sale. But how do you find it? The possibilities are endless, as David Baird discovered.
What do these phrases have in common?
Sunstruck, Fiesta fever, Follow that mule!, Whitewash and olives, The vintage years, Is there a Spaniard in the pueblo?, Everything under the sun, The blossoms of spring, The sunshine life, The donkey that roared…
Answer: they are all suggested titles for a new book. Read the rest of this entry »
May 6, 2015
“The cliffs and mountains soaked up the sunsets like red sponges and the distant ragged edge of the sierras shone blue as a blunted saw.” Thus English writer Laurie Lee described the coast of southern Spain when he travelled along it in the 1930s.
Much has changed since then but the region retains a magical quality. With around 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, the Málaga and Granada coasts have attracted visitors and settlers from colder climes.
Surprisingly, however, until recently there was no English-language guidebook giving in-depth information about the Axarquía region and Granada’s Costa Tropical. Then “East of Malaga” was published, filling the gap. Read the rest of this entry »
February 14, 2015
WE’RE ALL ESCAPISTS AT HEART, dreaming of another life in another place without the nagging worries that go with our daily routine.
However, if you take the big step and launch yourself into a new life, a “simple life” in a totally different environment, it can turn out rather more complicated than you expected.
In the case of one not-so-innocent Britisher, his escapist dream turn turns into a dramatic adventure with sinister surprises lying in wait.
Don’t Miss The Fiesta!, a thriller set in a Spanish village, takes the lid off the surprises that could await a stranger in an outwardly tranquil Andalusian pueblo. Read the rest of this entry »
January 22, 2015
For more than 50 years residents of Spain’s Granada province have known where to go for the finest fresh trout. They have flocked to the restaurants of Riofrío, a hamlet on the main highway between Granada and Málaga, to eat trout nurtured by a fish farm.
Trade is still brisk, but — unbeknown to most visitors — just a few metres away from the trout tanks a whole new industry has been created. While not abandoning the trout, the Piscifactoría de Sierra Nevada has invested in a big way in producing top-quality caviar. Read the rest of this entry »