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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

Metamorphosis: Annus Horribilis to Annus Mirabilis – Part II
Monday, January 3, 2022 @ 7:06 AM

In a speech to the nation in 1992 Queen Elizabeth II described that year as her annus horribilis. After all, three royal marriages had collapsed, the Royal Family was riding low in the opinion polls over their tax-free status and the fire at Windsor Castle had destroyed 100 rooms.

In Part I of this duology Pablo de Ronda looked back on the first part of 2021 as their own annus horribilis.  In Part II he describes how the year metamorphosed into their annus mirabilis.


Part II - Annus Mirabilis

Monday 26 April          My wife flies into Málaga. I collect her and her wheelchair and we go for breakfast to a beach near the airport. It is glorious. She is still frail and has lost a lot of weight, but she is glad to be home at last. She has been away for two and a half months!

For the first few weeks we take it easy while Rita gradually begins to build up her strength, through acupuncture by Dra. Luz Calderón, massage by professional masseuse Pippa Brooks and private exercises shown to her by physiotherapist niece Dana Ofer.

Wednesday 28 April     We reluctantly decide to let our gorgeous German pointer Berti go. He is too much for us to handle. José our builder and friend has offered to take him, so we’ll still get to see him on a regular basis.

Monday 6 May              I am headhunted by an estate agency, Andalucía Country Houses, to work with them by finding houses for sale in the Montejaque area. I also help them to find premises to open a “shop window” in the village. We soon have a healthy portfolio of properties.

Monday 27 May           My wife and I go to Frigiliana for five days for a break and to celebrate my 71st birthday. We stay in the same “ice cream parlour” as Berti and I did earlier in the year.

Friday 28 May                I lose the services of Jorge, my main builder. But work progresses on Casa Real with José “El Suave”, with me acting as his peón. Other occasional helpers include Stewart “El Alto”, José’s daughters Miriam, “La Constructora” and Leti, “La controladora” and, later on, my trusty wife, “The Meter Maid”.

Friday 4 June                Live theatre starts up again. We see the musical “Cabaret” in Ronda.

Thursday 17 June          Our dog Berti is run over and killed. Today is not a good day.

Monday 28 June            The engine compartment of my wife’s car catches fire and explodes. Nobody is hurt, but her beloved Peugeot 206 CC is a write-off. Another bad day.

Friday 2 July                  Our first ever booking at our villa. A French family stays for two weeks.                

Tuesday 6 July               My wife’s sister Birgid visits for three weeks. We stay in Montejaque, where my wife has installed a hot tub/Jacuzzi on the downstairs patio of her house there.

Monday 26 July              Our second booking – another French family, of 6 people, stay for a week.

Monday 2 August            Booking number 3 – French again. This time 7 people.

Wednesday 11 August     This booking is by English people who normally live in Benidorm.

Monday 23 August           Our final booking is a Spanish mother and son until the end of the month.

Tuesday 1 September      Dana, my wife’s niece, arrives for a 10-day holiday with us, as a thank-you for all she has done for her/us. Dana has visited us here in Andalucía several times in the past, but we still find fun things to do.

Sunday 19 September     Our first-ever guests at Casa Real. We just manage to get the house ready in time for their 10-day stay. Regular visitors, Hovis and Jacqui Brown, give us very positive feedback about this “reformed” casa de pueblo.


Whilst my wife has made a full physical recovery from her Covid-19 ordeal, I am struggling with the effects of long-Covid; namely shortness of breath, impaired balance and lack of energy.

Friday 1 October          I am diagnosed as a diabetic. This means a major change of lifestyle: regular exercise, new diet, no alcohol and medication. It’s a bit of a shock!


We begin a hectic period of well-deserved relaxation and travel.

Sunday 3 October       We go on a five-night Parador tour to Extremadura, staying in ancient monuments such as old castles and monasteries. Extremadura , especially the northern part, is stunningly beautiful.

Saturday 18 October   We go on a short visit to Madrid and Toledo. We actually go to buy a replacement car for my wife, so travel up to the capital on the train, take in the sights of the stunning city that is Madrid, buy the car, a Peugeot 207 CC, and drive back home spending a night in beautiful Toledo on the way.

Saturday 23 October   My daughter Amy, son-in-law Carlo and grandsons Felix and Jude visit us for a short break. I’ve only seen Jude in the flesh once, shortly after his birth a month or so before Covid-19 hit the world with such force. We pack a load in and have a great time. A highlight was a visit to Secret Paradise near Montejaque.

Thursday 28 October   My wife and I head off to Germany for our postponed Familientreffen, our biennial family get-together. This has been postponed twice because of the pandemic, but this time we manage it. This is my wife’s first visit to Germany since she was there earlier in the year for post-Covid care. The circumstances are totally different and we enjoy our time spent with her extended family.


Monday 8 November   Back home in Spain we get to enjoy a series of cultural events during November and December. These include three different flamenco espectáculos, two new plays and a night of Hollywood film music played and sung live. The last outing was an evening of live medieval music played on medieval instruments in the beautiful surroundings of the Palacio de Mondragón in Ronda.

I win two tickets for the Christmas Lottery (El Gordo) in a raffle at a local bar. Both tickets win me 20€ in the Lotería de Navidad draw on 22 December, so 40€ in all.

Friday 24 December   We enjoy our German Christmas. According to tradition, in Germany Christmas Eve is when the main meal is eaten and the presents are opened.

Saturday 25 December            We have our Christmas lunch at Restaurante La Cascada with our friends, hosts Ian and Elaine Love. Unusually the meal is paella and hog roast, delicious, with music by the fantastic Marcus Myers.

Sunday 26 December               Boxing Day. I prepare a typical English Christmas Turkey Roast with all the trimmings.

Sunday 27 December               Our friends Mike and Chris complete on a house purchase today, ie they go to the notary, hand over the cash and get the keys. We invite them and their daughter Helena, who is visiting her mum and dad, around for a meal to celebrate.

Friday 31 December                 New Year’s party at Cortijo Perla Blanca, just over our back fence. Julian and Jody Marshall and their children, Ben and Ellie, host this event for family and friends in order to round off 2021, one of the strangest years any of us can ever remember.


In our case the year metamorphosed from our Annus Horribilis into our Annus Mirabilis. Let’s hope things get even better for everybody in 2022!



Below are links to other articles which may be of interest to readers:


Diary of a homecoming (

Birthday outing … Frigiliana (

RIP Berti (

Journey to the hard extreme - visiting the paradores of Extremadura – Part 2 (

Buying a car in Spain (  

The “Crazy Guy” gets his house finished just in time (


Like 0


Bonnie13 said:
Saturday, January 8, 2022 @ 8:29 AM

Thankyou for your Covid blog, my husband and I are just coming out the end of Covid and 3 weeks isolation, your story resonated with me.
I'm so glad Rita is on the mend, I really appreciate your honesty, this is a horrible illness.
Thankyou for writing such an interesting article.
Take Care, All the very best of good health for 2022. 🙏🙏

PablodeRonda said:
Sunday, January 9, 2022 @ 5:23 AM

Thank you, Bonnie13, for your kind comments and your good wishes. I hope you and your husband are on the mend too.
Rita and I have been left with post-Covid issues, but we are coming to terms with them.
Having had such a close brush with death we are so happy to be still around. We're 71 and 70 respectively, so we are determined to pack as much in to whatever time we have left.
As you read we travelled a fair bit in the last half of 2021: Frigiliana (Málaga), Extremadura, Madrid, Toledo, Germany. This year we want to finally get to Galicia, postponed in 2020 because of the pandemic, Córdoba and the South of France.
The Basque Country, my spiritual home, also summons.
Plus family visits to the UK and Germany.
All subject to Covid-19, of course.
Best wishes to you both.

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