Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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The Red Knickers Report 2015

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Around this time last year, I posted my musings about following the Spanish custom of wearing red knickers for luck on New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja), after a pretty horrible year in 2013. It was so well received I decided to do a follow up for 2015, and look back over the year. I’m calling it the Red Knickers Report, because I rather like the sound of it. If you want to catch up on the original post before proceeding with this one, it’s here.

2015 didn’t have quite so many new things happening, but the projects started in 2014 continued to prosper. The blog is doing well, as is the website, and my writing earnings were my best ever. In fact, a couple of months ago I had to seriously curtail my writing, because I was working 14 – 16 hours a day, and while the extra cash is always handy, there was a real danger that I would get fed up of writing – something I could never have imagined back in 2014.

My first book hasn’t made much more progress, but I have been working on e-books for an American publisher, which have been well received. Luckily these are ghostwritten, because I wouldn’t want my friends and family knowing exactly how much I know about witchcraft, tantric sex and sex toys! Yes, that’s what the Americans lap up apparently – I must try and get over there during 2015. Wonder if I could call it a research trip? Anyway, the book with my name on it will be finished this year.

My online presence as a writer has consolidated in 2015, and I’ve had quite a few pieces published in newspapers and magazines too. I’m pleased about that, because lots of people still don’t really consider you as a writer until your byline is actually in print, and it’s great when somebody stops you in the market to tell you how much they enjoyed reading your column in the local expat magazine. Maybe 2016 will be the year I have to dodge the paparazzi!

I met lots of writer friends during the year, too, and every one of them was a pleasure to be with. I’ve even had two writers move close to me – Russ Pearce has relocated to Guardamar with his wife Trish after 10 years of working around the world, and the lovely Jane Walters has moved a couple of hundred yards up the road from me. She’s still settling in with her dog Buddy, but it will be Look Out Algorfa when we get out on the town. Check out their blogs by clicking on their names – these are two very different but seriously talented writers.

I also met the inimitable Dave Bull, and was interviewed on his Breakfast Show several times during the year. When he wasn’t taking the mickey out of me for being short – he’s 6′ 3″ and his son Mitch is 6’7″ – he was persuading me to write for his magazine and help with the publicity for his Kayak Challenge to raise funds for cancer research. We met some more really lovely people as a result of that.

Another charity project I was involved in through Writers On Spain was Tails of the Alpujarras, an anthology of animal stories to raise money for the Valle Verde Animal Rescue Centre. The story of how Paddy made it from the canal side at La Marina to our home at La Finca is featured in the book, together with some great stories from many of my friends. It makes for a moving, and often very funny read, so why not treat yourself and/or your favourite animal lover to a copy?

On the Algorfa front, I’ve met lots of new people – and written about most of them. And I attended my first Patronal Festival. I should have been in England at the time, as we usually are in July, but strained inter costal muscles resulting from a nasty fall meant I couldn’t make the drive until the end of July. Having been to one fiesta,I’ll be going again – a whole week of fun and friendliness, most of it free. What’s not to love? I’m now working on a new, Algorfa-based website, which will hopefully launch before we head to Portugal in March.

Ah Portugal – let’s hope we finally make it,after 4 tries in the past 3 years. We were Portugal bound when my daughter had her stroke in 2013, so we booked up again for 2014, then realised we’d have to do it with a very young Paddy. So it was put off again. When we realised how much he loved the motor home, we tried to re book but couldn’t get a cabin on the ferry. Then the Motorcaravanners’ Club announced it was running a holiday rally to Portugal in 2016, but when we tried to book, all the pitches had been sold. Luckily, the site realised it was on to a Good Thing, and released more pitches. However, after having the plans scuppered 4 times already, I’ll believe it when we’re finally parked up for the month!

2015 was the year we made a conscious effort to use the motor home, rather than leaving it sat on the road twiddling its thumbs in the sun. Or at least, it would have been, if it had thumbs to twiddle! So, we went to the Western Motor Home Show at Malvern while we were in the UK, then attended our first rally with the Spanish branch of the Motorcaravanners’ Club in Pilar de la Horradada. They were a great bunch of people, and we had a lovely time, so there’s going to be a lot more of that in 2016.

Paddy continues to be a joy, and the hooligan in him is finally being tamed to manageable proportions. He’s an intelligent boy, and he soon gets the hang of what you want him to do – although when he gets excited all his training leaves the building, and he bounds around as if he were on elastic. He had his first ferry trip this year, and although I agonised over him being in a kennel for almost 24 hours, he took it all in his stride. He’s a confident boy these days, because he knows he is loved, and that he has a forever home with us.

So, that’s the Red Knickers Report for 2015 – all in all a pretty good year I think. Here’s to an even better 2016, and I hope your New Year is everything you want it to be. Thanks for your support through 2015 – without it, I’d be talking to myself!