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We’ve had a bottle of cava ‘chilling’ for months now and we still haven’t popped it to celebrate our book deal. Anyone would think it was a bottle of Krug Clos du Mesnil 1995 Champagne ($750 per bottle) which might go some way to explaining the dithering. But no, this is a bottle of Valle de Juy Cava; €2.30 a bottle at Al Campo.
So why the delay?

Well, to begin with, back in July when we were first offered the deal is probably when we should have opened it but then we thought; “let’s wait until we get the contract just in case anything goes wrong; many a slip twixt cup and all that.” So we waited.

The contract arrived and we thought; “we’ll sign it and send their copy back and when they receive it, that’s when we’ll crack the cava.” So we waited.

For some reason the contract got mislaid in the postal system and it was several weeks before the publisher acknowledged receipt of it, by which time we’d already started drafting the book. So we thought; “OK, we’ll open it when we finish writing the book.” And we waited.

We submitted our first draft at the end of October and waited with bated breath to hear if it would be accepted or if it needed more work. Word came quickly that the book was considered “really excellent” by the publisher. Unfortunately, along with the acceptance was a long list of additional things that we needed to produce; a biography, author photos, testimonials etc. so there wasn’t a clear cut ‘finished’ point.
We dutifully provided everything on the publisher’s list and then said; ”That’s it. The moment this baby gets to print, the cork’s coming out of that cava before it turns to vinegar.” But then the typeset text arrived for proof-reading, and then the cover, and then finally, we were told it was at the printers.

By this time, we’d decided the cava was getting opened on Saturday night and hang the consequences. Unfortunately, we had a ‘difference of opinion’ on the way to watch the match and then, as we only managed a draw, we decided we weren’t really in the mood to drink the stuff.

So, as I sit here writing, four and a half months later, the cava is still in its virgin state in the fridge, chilled enough to burn your fingertips at the touch.

Going Native in Tenerife is now on sale at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and in e book form at Book Shaker.com and as long as nothing untoward happens in the next 5 hours, that damn cava is getting opened tonight.

I don’t know what it is about us that drives us to work so hard and yet prevents us from celebrating our successes, something which we both know from our former lives as executives is absolutely paramount to maintaining morale and recognizing good work.

It’s time to re-learn some of our management wisdom; from here on in corks are going to pop on cava bottles at the least excuse.

Then again, perhaps we should wait until we get our first sale…

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Life here at Casa Monty has been hectic of late.

All summer we’ve been fully occupied producing a new guide to Tenerife, or should I say the new guide to Tenerife, as it knocks the spots off everything hitherto produced. Jam packed with insightful information, witticisms, priceless tips and tried and tested recommendations, ‘Going Native Tenerife’ should be available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com by the year’s end and will provide a shortcut to the accumulated knowledge and experience of ourselves and others over the course of years spent living on the island.

With the early rains came Teides first snow of the winter

With the early rains came Teide's first snow of the winter

Squeezed into small pockets of leisure time in between researching and writing have been island exploring exploits with visiting friends and family, the latest of whom was Mary, Jack’s mum, for whom tan topping was high on her agenda. Unfortunately, Mary’s trip coincided with the early arrival of the November rains and we’ve had to travel the length and breadth of the island to try to find the illusive ‘sol’, largely without a great deal of success.

So amidst all this activity, it’s hardly surprising that I haven’t had time to keep you up to date with all the goings-on in our very own little patch of Tenerife paradise, including the arrival of our new neighbour.
It was at the beginning of September that we first noticed lights on in the little house (we call it the ‘casita’) that borders our path and a few enquiries at the golf club revealed that indeed someone had moved in.

A week or so passed without sightings of the elusive new resident until one night when we were on our way into town with Bryan who was staying with us at the time. As we closed the gate behind us, a voice called “Hola” in the darkness and we went back through the gate to be greeted by Jesús, our new neighbour.
Not much more than a slip of a lad (mid-twenties), Jesús is from the Basque Country and is lately moved here from Thailand where he has been studying and practicing the ancient massage techniques of Sen healing; the loosening of the flow of energy from the body’s natural network of energy lines in order to alleviate muscular and skeletal problems.

Over the course of the ensuing weeks, we’ve gotten to know Jesús very well and he’s now a regular accompaniment on our Friday morning shopping trips and an habitual visitor to Casa Monty where we have ‘cook-ins’. He’s a very good chef and he brings us traditional Basque dishes in exchange for our culture-crossing repertoire of meals. He’s still waiting for us to cook something ‘typically British’ and I guess we’re going to have produce fish and chips at some stage.

Needless to say, having Jesus living at the bottom of our garden has been the source of endless puns and ‘double-entendres’ for our friends and family and the fact that he is a healer by the laying on of hands has naturally added fuel to the quips. But for me, the crowning glory of our juvenile blasphemy came last week when we introduced him to Jack’s mum:

“Jesus, meet Mary”.

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