A week spent writing my book up a mountainside in the Alpujarras in southern Spain reminds me of how the idea of local media has changed. I always buy the local paper on my hols, usually for amusing stories on sheep thefts and eccentric obits. But this time I picked up The Olive Press a paper for Brits living in Eastern Andalucia. It has everything from exclusives on the Madeleine McCann story to a great tale about a Mayor receiving death threats after last week’s local elections. It is
a curiously old-fashioned looking paper with an untidy website but it is packed full of the character of this part of the world. We stayed in a solar-powered contijo (farmhouse) surrounded by flower-filled meadows with eagles soaring over-head. This is not the Costa Del Sol at all. The Brits here are an odd mix of posh literary types (eg Martin Amis) who are following in the footsteps of Gerald Brennan and Camden-style hippies who like the north African culture, drugs and low cost of living. I leave you to judge which category I fit in to. Suffice to say, this was an utterly charming and peaceful place to say if you like your holiday home and pool au naturel, owner Jose is a terrific chap who will teach you Spanish or sing Bob Dylan songs or just leave you to enjoy the amazing local cured ham and his pool with its view over the valley of the rio Trevelez flowing down from the snow still on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada.