Last week my body was in the Caribbean on a writing break. But my mind was in Spain.

I’ve spent many, many happy times in Spain and I’m so glad to be featuring it in my new story True Blue. Spain was the first ‘abroad’ place I ever went to – on package holidays to the Balearic Islands with my family. I adored those holidays, and I can still remember the unique smell of arriving at Ibiza airport when I was five. It smelt of pine trees, hot earth and geraniums, with an undernote of citrus cologne. And there were lizards in the flower beds!

In my twenties I experienced two very different types of Spain: the first was visiting my friends Alex and Kev who had moved to Madrid to work. There I met ‘real’ Spain; I visited galleries, walked through El Buen Retiro and went out to dinner at 10.30 – I fell in love with the culture and food.

I also went to Mathew’s parents Villa on the Costa del Sol, where a group of friends, drank Estrella, floated in the pool and partied into the early hours in the busy town of Torrevieja.

In my early thirties I visited northern Spain for the first time, on a wonderful road trip with my friend Sarah I discovered San Sebastian – a city of so many foody delights it’s impossible to describe adequately – and I’ve visited regularly for some years.

In my late thirties and early forties I got reacquainted with Mallorca when my friend Sheelagh decided to move there. We house-hunted all over the island until she settled on a place called Port d’Andratx where she lived (and I visited) for many years.

And then in my fifties I got to spend quality time in Asturias, the greenest, most unspoilt part of Spain, with its authentic cuisine and views of the Picos de Europa – even some walking (a tiny part) of the Camino del Santiago happened.

I LOVE Spain and so this month it’s been such a pleasure to go back there if only in my imagination for a while.

Charlie and Ali are in Mallorca at the moment. They will be moving on soon – I just need to write a couple more chapters.

I’m having so much fun writing about these two very different women, and their enduring friendship. I have realised True Blue is a love story to friendship (as well as that other happily-ever-after love story). Greece next!


PS. The picture is of me in Asturias not Mallorca.

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