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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 .

OLIVERs all over the place
Saturday, February 3, 2024 @ 6:29 PM

Did you know that in 2023, Oliver was the most common given name in the United Kingdom? That being the case, I’m surprised I only know two Olivers, and neither was born in the UK!

Oliver F, 19, was born in Ronda of English and Hungarian parents, and is a student.

Oliver D, German, is a joiner, who lives in south Germany, in Montejaque’s Twin Town, Knittlingen.


Famous Olivers

I also know “Oliver!”, the musical (1960) and film (1968) based on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” (1838), written by the late Lionel Bart.

I also knew of and admired the late actor and rabble-rouser Oliver Reed (1938-1999). He was in some memorable films, including the afore-mentioned Oliver!, as  well as Curse of the Werewolf, The Triple Echo, with Glenda Jackson(d), Women in Love, The Devils, and the musical film Tommy! His last film role was in Gladiator in 2000 (it was released a year after his death in 1999.


Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) was an English statesman, politician and soldier, widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of the British Isles. He came to prominence during the 1639 to 1653 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, initially as a senior commander in the Parliamentarian army and latterly as a politician. A leading advocate of the execution of Charles I in January 1649, which led to the establishment of The Protectorate, he ruled as Lord Protector from December 1653 until his death in September 1658. Cromwell remains a controversial figure due to his use of the army to acquire political power, and the brutality of his 1649 campaign in Ireland.




In Germany, arguably the greatest ever football goalkeeper for the national team was Oliver Kahn. He is now a big cheese at Bayern Munich and a TV pundit.

He was loathed by English fans, because he was so arrogant, and so bloody good!




Staying in the land of my wife, Rita, there is a fashion brand in Germany called s.Oliver, but it’s out of my price range.










Oliver Hardy (1892-1957), the tubby American half of the comic duo Laurel and Hardy, starred in umpteen Hollywood films of dubious quality.









Oliver Stone, US film director (b. 1946). Stone started his film career writing the screenplays for Midnight Express (1978), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted ScreenplayConan the Barbarian (1982), and Scarface (1983). He then rose to prominence as writer and director of the Vietnam war film drama Platoon (1986), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989) for which he received Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture for the former and Best Director for the latter. He also directed Salvador (1986), Wall Street (1987) and its sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), The Doors (1991), JFK (1991), Heaven & Earth (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), Nixon (1995), Any Given Sunday (1999), W. (2008), and Snowden (2016).




Jamie Oliver, the TV chef, I got to know briefly when he filmed in Ronda, Benaojan and the Serranía for one of his TV cooking shows.

One event was especially fun. He learned how to cook a massive paella in Benaojan. Read about it here.

There's a film on YouTube about Jamie's visit to the Serrania de Ronda. Click here.



Oliver is also used for place names. In Spain there is a barrio of Zaragoza that bears the name. In the USA, Oliver is the name of towns in Georgia and Pennsylvania.


“My” Olivers

Oliver D lives in Knittlingen, the German twin-town of Montejaque and Benaojan (Malaga). One day in 2020 I got a phone call out of the blue:

“Hallo! Mein Name ist Oliver. Ich bin ein Freund und Kollege von deinem Stiefsohn Johannes.”

Oliver told me he was a friend and colleague of my German stepson Johannes. They are both cabinet makers/joiners, ie top quality carpenters.

Oliver told me he was planning to come to southern Spain for an extended trip with his young second family: wife Lily, three daughters and a baby son.

He wondered if I could help him out with accommodation, perhaps in exchange for his labours.

Long story short, they stayed in my house in Montejaque rent-free in exchange for work on our three houses. He also picked up a few other paid jobs with local friends and neighbours.

The three girls attended the local colegio and mum Lily enrolled on a local Spanish class.

We struck up a great friendship.

A year later we visited them in Knittlingen during a trip to Rita’s family in Germany, and enjoyed a great lunch with them.

For more on this, click here.


Oliver F is the elder son of friends Nick and Julia, English and Hungarian respectively.

Ollie was born in Ronda and has lived here all his life. He attended local schools until the age of 13 then went off to the alma mater of his father in Somerset, where he sat his A-levels in 2023 gaining a great set of results. He has a place at Exeter University starting in September 2024.

With three schoolfriends Ollie is off to the Far East for four months. In fact, they have just left. In order to finance the trip, they all had to earn a tidy sum.

Ollie has been industrious and hard-working. He has worked on a vineyard in France, in a local hotel, in a couple of local restaurants, and has been a gardener and general dogsbody for his dad, Nick, and for me.

I’m very pleased with what Ollie has done at my place, ranging from strimming, to lawnmowing, from cleaning the pool, to constructing a log store and generally tidying up.

You can read about Ollie’s work for me here.


© Pablo de Ronda


Note: On a similar theme Eye on Spain blogger Only Joe King recently wrote about all the "Lola's" he has known. Click here.


Further reading:

HOW TO ..... build a LOG STORE? (

“Quick! Hire a teenager while they still know everything!” (

Ollie and Lily (






Joe King


Pablo de Ronda

Tapas Magazine




Academy Award, Any Given Sunday, Bayern Munich, Benaojan, Best Adapted ScreenplayBest Director, Best Picture, Born on the Fourth of July, cabinet maker, Charles Dickens, cleaning the pool, Conan the Barbarian, Curse of the Werewolf, Exeter University, Gladiator, Glenda Jackson, Heaven & Earth, Jamie Oliver, JFK, joiner, Julia, Knittlingen, Laurel and Hardy, lawnmowing, Lionel Bart, logstore, Lord Protector, Midnight Express, Montejaque, Natural Born Killers, Nick, Nixon,  “Oliver”, Oliver Cromwell, Oliver Hardy, Oliver Kahn, Oliver Reed, Oliver Stone, Oliver Twist, Ollie, Pablo de Ronda, Platoon, Ronda, SalvadorScarface, Serranía, Snowden, Stan Laurel, strimming, The Devils, The Doors, The Triple Echo, tidying up, Tommy!, vineyard, W, Wall StreetWall Street: Money Never Sleeps,  Women in Love,


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