Blog | Spanish farmhouse near Seville | B&B Aracena | Self-catering cottages Andalucia

The blog of Finca Buenvino Bed & Breakfast near Aracena, Seville, Andalucia, Spain in the Sierra de Aracena National Park. Set amongst a chestnut and cork-oak forest we operate as a family B&B and self-catering holiday cottages. We run cookery courses, photography courses, creative writing retreats and fitness retreats. Hiking trails and stunning views.

A rush through 2008

It's unbelievable, but two whole years have gone speeding by since I last touched this blog. We have been so busy with cookery courses, visits to the Rio Tinto Mines, tours of the Sanchez Romero Carvajal Jamon secadero and wine tasting at Gonzalez Byass that I have hardly had time to sit in front of the computer.

This year kicked off to an auspicious start when were given the chance to host a two day seminar workshop for Phyllis Krystal. It was an enormous privilege to see her working and bringing encouragement and advice to some 30 students from all over Spain. Phyllis is life-affirming, encouraging, mentally sharp and full of energy, even in her mid 90's. Workshops were held up at the pool house, and Ernestine Lüdeke of the Fundación Monte Mediterraneo translated simultaneously from English into Spanish.

Jim Lyman helped us coordinate everything, and was instrumental in bringing this group to Finca Buenvino. He also runs our Reiki healing weeks and flute master classes for professional musicians, using play and neuro-linguistic programming techniques to overcome perceived obstacles to perfect interpretation. This year we held the classes in May, and we had a dozen musicians attending from all over Spain.

Liz Walker came out to visit us in March; rather earlier than her usual summer visit so we had a quick burst of fashion gossip to make us feel less like country cousins. As usual, there was plenty to do on the farm and in the greenhouse, and the sun shone, perhaps a little too relentlessly until spring rains, after which we were able to plant out the vegetables which we are now harvesting.

Melanie Denny who's new funky boutique hotel, La Casa Noble, in Aracena was too full to accommodate her own mother, sent her to us for a few days for R&R. The peace was shattered when the whole group walked over (8Kms) for lunch and a swim, arriving about 2 hours late as they simply had to stop and talk to every Iberian pig or donkey and photograph every wildflower on the way. This was entirely the fault of the irresistibly enthusiastic Peter Ott, who was leading the group.

We had a quick visit to London in July when we caught up with Vanessa de Lisle and enjoyed a Mediterranean lunch in her garden in Balham, where we met fellow food-blogger Renée Finch, from Rome. We then tore down to Eastbourne for Christo Pyemont's surprise 60th b'day weekend; two days of sea-air, walking on Beachy Head, and delicious food, including organic vegetables from Pinkie's allotment garden. We toured St. Bede's Prep School where he was headmaster for many years and now teaches maths.

A summer visit from Johnny Grey and his family allowed me to catch up on 30 years! He designed my insane Gothick kitchen (quirky, rustic and made from cherry wood, plane, beech and oak) back in the mid 70's in London, but now has an entirely different spin on Kitchen design, delving profoundly into ergonomics and neuro science.....don't ask me, ask him; I'm only a cook. Johnny is currently working on Dexter's kitchen in Gramercy Park New York City

Sarah Gellately-Smith, our public relations guru was married last week to Rob Barclay her mother and God/stepfather threw a great party in Oxfordshire last week-end at the bride's parents' house in North Moreton, so we have been recovering gently over a glass or two of fino and working up to the Los Marines fiesta which starts tonight! It's the last village party of the season and marks the beginning of the autumn weather.....Indian summer is on the way; perfect for walking and mushroom hunting.