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"During his six years working for St Helens Council Education Department, Paul was, among other things, our in-house "languages expert", doing the translating, interpreting and liaison with our twin towns in Chalon-Sur-Saône, France, Stuttgart, Germany and El Prat de Llobregat, Spain. His participation has enabled us to maintain strong links with all three towns, particularly in the field of education, where he set up and managed a very successful work experience programme for sixth formers"
Brian Mainwaring, Director of Education, St Helens Council, August 1995

End of an era PDF
Saturday, 26 June 2010 00:00
 

The little old house that my then English girlfriend bought in Ronda in 2004 is to be sold.

El Rincón, meaning “nook”, will transfer into new ownership on Monday morning, calling time on an era of both joy and sadness.

Bought spontaneously during a weekend visit to Ronda in late 2004, the first couple of years were spent busily renovating the tiny townhouse with the big garden, known affectionately as "Rinc".

Visits were frequent.  I was made redundant (see Redundancy) in early 2005, which gave me the opportunity to spend lengthy periods in the town, upgrading the house – kitchen and bathroom mainly – and creating a garden with a patio, four different terraces, a pérgola and planted areas.

A range of fruit trees also graced the space, which enjoys fantastic views of the Casa del Rey Moro and old Ronda beyond.

In May 2006 my girlfriend’s daughter chose to marry her Scottish man in the Palacio de Mondragón in the old town.  That was a highlight, with close friends travelling to the Ciudad Soñada (City of Dreams) and having a holiday on the back of the marital festivities.  El Rincón and the garden were completed just in time for a wedding eve party for local friends and guests from the UK.

A few months later our relationship ended, and, although there were further frequent visits by all concerned, this has petered out in recent times, as different priorities impinge on everybody’s lives.  My ex is in a new relationship, her daughter is expecting her first baby any time now, and I’m due to marry someone else next month.  Life changes and moves on.  Hopefully always for the better.

Significant damage caused by this last winter’s storms and rains finally made the decision to part company with the house a relatively simple one for my ex.  I’ve helped her find a buyer and have co-ordinated the sale process.  I will accompany her to the notary on Monday as official interpreter and then she will take her leave of the town that this most well-travelled of ladies describes as one of the most beautiful she has seen in the world.

Then the new owner, also English, who has lived in the area for a number of years, will put her stamp on the quirky little nook in the quiet street near the town centre that so beguiled us back then.

© Paul Whitelock
 

 

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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