LIFE, DEATH AND HUMOUR IN A SPANISH VILLAGE

December 28, 2018

EVER MEET A WOMAN cured of disease by visions of the Virgin, a blind beggar who rides a motor-bike, a phantom who terrorises a whole community? You’ll find them all and much more in Sunny Side Up, David Baird’s nostalgic — often humorous, always moving — book about life in rural Spain.

It may read like fiction, but it’s all fact. It’s the Spain that Hemingway never saw and never wrote about.

“Baird’s ironic glance back over the past 30 years is recommended reading for anybody who has ever wondered what happened to ‘the real Spain’,” according to the Sunday Times.

When you travel the back roads of Spain, it’s easy to imagine that nothing ever happens in those whitewashed villages you pass, slumbering in the sun, forgotten by the world, far from the rat race…

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”.

Soon they found that things were not so simple. The sub-title of Baird’s book is The 21st century hits a Spanish village. It’s the tale of  a rural community as its shifts from a medieval way of life into the computer age.

There’s passion and pathos, humour and tragedy. And also an insightful dissection of local ways, as well as a wicked glance at expatriate eccentricities.

Baird’s other books include Between Two Fires, a highly acclaimed account of a largely unreported guerrilla war in Spain in the 1940s, as well as travel books and two works of fiction (Don’t Miss The Fiesta! and Typhoon Season).

Sunny Side Up, distributed by Maroma Press, is on sale through English bookshops in Spain and via Amazon and other Internet sellers. It has been selected by several Spanish schools as a set book for its pupils.

The German edition, Leben im Pueblo, translated by Uwe W. Paulsen, is available from the publisher, Verlag Winfried Jenior, Lassallestr. 15, D-34119 Kassel, Germany. Tel.: 0561-7391621, Fax 0561-774148. E-Mail: Jenior@aol.com. Homepage: http://www.jenior.de

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La guerra olvidada – Spain’s forgotten war

November 25, 2018

SE TRATA DE UNA GUERRA OLVIDADA — la lucha de unos guerrilleros en los años 1940 contra el regimen de Franco.  Una guerra de que el público no fue informada, ni dentro del país ni afuera. Ahora hay una nueva edición en castellano del libro de David Baird, La gente de la sierra — Lucha sin cuartel contra las fuerzas franquistas.

Cada día hay menos gente que vivío en su propia carne aquella lucha. Uno por uno, los testigos se van desapareciendo. Pero el libro La gente de la sierra deja constancia del impacto terrible de aquella guerra desconocida en las sierras de Málaga y Granada.

Recoge el testimonio — apasionante, espeluznante y emocionante — de los campesinos de la Axarquía. Y también de los guerrilleros y de la Guardia Civil. Read the rest of this entry »


ICE, SNOW AND WAR IN THE SIERRAS

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 »


Between Two Fires wins acclaim in US

June 30, 2013

Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras, a poignant account of how a  village was trapped in a brutal conflict for years after the Civil War, has been setting sales records in the United States.

Since it became available in the Lightning Source edition, which can be ordered through Amazon online, it has been selling steadily to American readers keen to know more about this forgotten war — a war which went virtually unreported due to strict censorship.

The book has won critical praise from across the world. “As exciting as any thriller yet deeply moving, it deserves to be read by everyone concerned with the history of contemporary  Spain,”says historian Paul Preston, author of The Spanish Civil War and Franco – A Biography. Read the rest of this entry »


GUERRA OLVIDADA EN LAS SIERRAS

January 22, 2012

HACE MAS DE 60 AÑOS una guerra azotó varias regiones de España. Era una guerra de que el público no fue informado, ni dentro del país ni afuera.

Cada día hay menos gente que vivío en su propria carne la lucha por grupos de guerrilleros contra el regimen de Franco. Uno por uno, los testigos se van desapareciendo.

El libro “Historia de los maquis – Entre dos fuegos deja constancia del impacto terrible de aquella guerra desconocida en las sierras de Málaga y Granada en los años 40. Recoge el testimonio — apasionante, espeluznante y emocionante — de los campesinos de la Axarquía. Y también de los guerrilleros y de la Guardia Civil. Read the rest of this entry »


FINDING THE SIMPLE LIFE IN RURAL SPAIN

December 20, 2011

SOMETIMES, says David Baird, he dreams about garbanzos.

“Yes, chick-peas, those little bullet-like beans which have to be soaked for days and boiled for hours so that finally you can add some flavouring and create a fine stew — fine that is if you like bullet-like beans.”

He claims that’s what he lived on most of the time when he and his wife first settled in a Spanish village. He describes his efforts to live “the simple life” in Sunny Side Up — The 21st century hits a Spanish village.

Hilarious, nostalgic and moving, his book inspired the Sunday Times of London to comment: “Recommended reading for anybody who ever wondered what happened to the ‘real Spain’.”

Anther angle on that ‘real Spain’ is contained in Between Two Fires, Baird’s book about the guerrilla war that raged in the 1940s. Read the rest of this entry »