Barrie Mahoney's Posts



Barrie Mahoney's recent posts to


  • Throwing Knives at Mother - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    07/07/2013 Duration: 04min

    No, rest assured, this is not another harrowing tale of domestic violence, but a skilful performance by Dorian Ledda and his family who have been performing in Gran Canaria’s Sioux City for the last 28 years or so... and

  • Flushed with Success - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    27/05/2013 Duration: 04min

    For many days now, there have been anxious faces in overalls, accompanied by anxious faces in suits, peering into a newly dug hole adjacent to the very smart, newly painted building, that houses this precious, but grossly under valued machinery. There has been much shaking of hands, and exasperated gesturing of hands before anyone has so much as picked up a screwdriver. Local residents have been seriously concerned that a trip to the loo was about to mean a drive to an adjacent town, should the village flush fail to function... and

  • The World Cradle of Rum - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    12/08/2012 Duration: 05min

    Visitors to the Canary Islands may remember that at the end of a good meal in a local restaurant, and before the bill arrives, they are presented with a ‘shot’ - a small glass of liqueur to round off a good meal. This ‘shot’ is presented as a ‘on the house’ gesture of gratitude from the restaurant for visiting, with the hope that you will visit again, as well as remembering to leave a tip before you leave. and Canary Islands, Barrie Mahoney, rum, Gran Canaria, Ron Miel, Arehucas, Spain, expat

  • Reclaiming the Flag - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    12/08/2012 Duration: 05min

    Visitors to the Canary Islands and Spain will notice that the flying of flags is a popular pastime. Public and government buildings, as well as many private organisations, usually proudly display three flags in the Canary Islands: the Spanish flag, the Canary Islands’ flag and the flag of the European Union, and we even have another that is specific to the island of Gran Canaria. Yes, despite the usual negativity and cynicism of many Brits, the European Union is still a popular and welcome concept in many European countries. Spain’s recent victory in the European Cup has also seen a flurry of Spanish and Canarian flags adorning the homes, cars and bodies of many islanders, and has been a delight to see. and

  • Bankers go bananas - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    08/07/2012 Duration: 05min

    Bankers Go Bananas I thought that I recognised the voice over the underground station’s speaker system; it sounded familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. The doors slid silently to a close as I sat in the immaculate carriage and sped my way to Canary Wharf. Many years had passed since I last made the journey to this centre of the UK’s banking industry and I was curious to see how it had developed. It was a strange day to visit, as the Barclays interest rate scandal had just been announced, and it was clear that heads would soon roll... and

  • Live and Let Live - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    24/06/2012 Duration: 04min

    Live and Let Live One of the many things that I love about our island in the sun is the ‘live and let live’ attitude of most of its people. No, I don’t mean the thousands of tourists, but the true Canarian people, those who were born here and have stayed in this little corner of Paradise. As long as it is broadly legal and does not interfere with anyone else, in the main, anything goes. For many of its present day expat population, with its heady mix of faith, culture, colour and sexuality, it takes time to get used to not being judged. Maybe this stems from the time, it is said, when Spain’s General Franco, intolerant of gay men in the military, would ship them off to Gran Canaria, which became a kind of penal colony for homosexuals. .. and

  • The European Family - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    22/02/2012 Duration: 04min

    I admit to being a proud European. Although English born and bred, and I still love the United Kingdom, including Scotland if it remains part of the Union, I do not regard myself as being particularly English or British, but European. I know it is not a particularly popular concept at the present time, but I am proud to be European... and

  • No doors or windows - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    22/02/2012 Duration: 04min

    The World recession has claimed the hopes and dreams of many expats, as well as local people. Many expats who finally achieved their dreams of a new life and home in the sun have packed their bags and the few belongings that they have managed to salvage and returned to their home countries. Many cases that I know of have been little short of tragic, although there are some that have left me wondering whether the intending expat should ever have been allowed to leave their home country in the first place! and

  • Expat Television . 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    22/02/2012 Duration: 05min

    A recent announcement by the Chinese Government to axe more than two-thirds of prime time light entertainment shows and replace them with news broadcasts came as a shock to many, and was met with concern about further curbs on the freedom of the Chinese people. This law to curb "excessive entertainment" on television is designed to reduce the number of scheduled entertainment programmes from 126 a week to just 38. However, after looking at Spanish television’s uninspiring offerings for the current week, I began to wonder if this was actually quite an inspired move. and

  • Debit Cards for Expats - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    22/02/2012 Duration: 05min

    Many of us have fallen out with credit cards. Individually, as well as nationally and globally, we can now see that being encouraged to spend beyond our means has been a bad thing. One early catch phrase during the launch of the credit card revolution was that “Access (remember those?) takes the waiting out of wanting,” which now seems rather hollow, as we now realise that our 'wanting' costs considerably more, if left unpaid on the credit card. Many people have also experienced considerable worry and illness due to increasing personal debt, particularly at a time of severe recession and job losses. and

  • Baking Bread - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    22/02/2012 Duration: 04min

    Expats in many countries, and particularly those in Spain, Portugal and France, will quickly discover many wonderful bakeries. Forget the plastic bread on sale in the supermarkets, but that wonderful bread baked in relatively small quantities by people who recognise that it is the taste of real bread that buyers are looking for. I like a simple, freshly baked loaf of bread, preferably white and with a dark and crispy crust. However, I still cannot quite find the taste and texture of a loaf that I was used to in the UK, despite having a wonderful bakery in the village where all types of loaves are baked... and

  • Wear White and Throw Talcum Powder! - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    19/02/2012 Duration: 04min

    As many Canary Islander residents and visitors already know, Carnival is celebrated with a passion in every major town in each of the seven main Canary Islands, with the main celebrations taking place in the capital cities of the islands. These celebrations take place between January and April each year with the actual dates changing according to when Easter is celebrated; this is most annoying for holidaymakers, but take that issue up with the Vatican! The forty days before Easter, known as Lent, have always been marked by the Catholic practice of giving up meat. So the fiesta of Carnival that takes place just before Lent begins on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Carnival means ‘goodbye to flesh’ in Latin and became a time for a wild party, and yes, I do mean wild! and

  • A Mince Pie for Christmas - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    24/12/2011 Duration: 04min

    It is strange how expats suddenly develop a craving for something that reminds them of life in their countries of origin. I guess it is not that surprising really, as Christmas is a time of the year when our memories, particularly as we get older, recall times gone by, both happy and sad. Many of those special times have occurred, of course, over the Christmas and New Year period; many of us will have fond memories of families and friends, of precious times spent together, unique family traditions, gifts and special food that appeared at this time of the year. and

  • An Explosive Island - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    11/12/2011 Duration: 04min

    The Canary Islands have a history that is, quite literally, littered with explosions. Each of the seven main islands was created by hot volcanic lava pushing through the cold Atlantic Ocean in the last million years or so. It therefore does not seem surprising that an occasional ‘belch’ can be heard, and seen, every few hundred years or so. One of our islands has been in a bit of trouble over recent weeks, but first, a little background... and

  • The Euro Game - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    11/12/2011 Duration: 03min

    It was a hot, sunny day and the boys and girls in the village school were enjoying their lunchtime games as usual in the schoolyard. However, today, tempers seemed a little more frayed than usual during this particular ball game. I watched the children closely for some time anticipating that the dinner lady who was supervising would have to step in and bring the game to an abrupt end, intervening with the usual talk about sporting behaviour and “it's not the winning, it's the playing” reminder that teachers and dinner ladies are so good at repeating... and

  • Complaining in Spain - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    05/11/2011 Duration: 04min

    Complaining in Spain One of the worst things that the newly arrived expat quickly faces is the sudden inability to complain if things go wrong. Spain may well be a member of the EU family, but when it comes to complaining, the expat would be wise to remember that it is a very different culture and pace of life. After all, isn't that why we left the UK in the first place? Forget shouting, being abusive and banging your fist on the table, because, at best, you will be completely ignored or possibly sent to the end of the queue to sulk, or, at worst, you may see the inside of a prison cell for a few hours. and

  • Admiral Nelson and the Canary Islands - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    30/10/2011 Duration: 05min

    Admiral Nelson and the Canary Islands You may remember Horatio Nelson from school history lessons as the jolly little man with the big hat and equally inflated ego; his costume goes down a treat at fancy dress parties. In pictures, Nelson is instantly recognisable as the semi-blinded, one-armed naval officer who destroyed the French and Spanish fleets; he also had a fascinating ménage à trois with the rather interesting Lady Hamilton. So what is the real story of the man whose statue dominates London’s Trafalgar Square, and how does it link with the Canary Islands? and

  • Getting into hot water - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    23/10/2011 Duration: 05min

    Listening to the UK Prime Minister and the Energy Minister’s attempts to help consumers with their fuel bills this year brought a mixture of indignation, amusement and cynicism from many UK consumers. Some would say that the issue cannot truly be resolved simply by endlessly switching energy companies and tariffs, together with the odd roll of loft insulation. Many have commented that these regurgitated suggestions are akin to a sticking plaster being offered to a dying patient. Energy experts tell us that the root cause has more to do with the rising cost of oil, greater demand for energy from China and India, diminishing oil supplies, the financial crisis, as well as the excessive profiteering made by greedy energy companies operating within a distorted market. The problem of rising fuel bills will take much more than a one day meeting chaired by the PM, slick press conferences and bright orange publicity posters to drag this particular patient from his death throes... and www.theca

  • A Kitten in the Canaries - 'Twitters from the Atlantic'

    28/08/2011 Duration: 05min

    Regular readers of ‘Twitters’ may recall that an emaciated, flea ridden and sickly kitten burst into my life last year, and a number of readers have been asking about what happened to him. Although I like all animals, maybe with the exception of snakes, I had no intention of allowing a cat to take up residence in our home. I saw myself as, first and foremost, a dog lover; I understood them and always have had at least one dog by my side. I liked cats, but had no understanding of them. Also, I was nervous of having one because, on our island, there appears to be a fondness for poisoning the stray cat population - they are regarded as vermin to be destroyed. In my own village, for example, there used to be many cats and now there are hardly any. Witnessing a child grieving over her poisoned cat in its death throws is not easy to forget...

  • Barrie Mahoney - BBC Radio Solent Interview with Charlie Crocker

    16/07/2011 Duration: 28min

    “Journeys and Jigsaws” is the title of the first of a series of novels by Barrie Mahoney. Although not autobiographical, the book draws upon many of the incidents that Barrie experienced as teacher, headteacher, school inspector and journalist. 'Journeys and Jigsaws' follows the early career of a young headteacher, James Young, and his appointment to a village school in crisis. The novel deals with the many challenges and hard won successes faced in increasing pupil numbers and bringing the school back to financial viability, as well as keeping the villagers happy. Glimpses of easy going village school life in the days before the National Curriculum and school tests, include the chaos caused in the village when James decided to remove the school stage, a near riot when the school swimming pool is closed. However, there is support for James from a surprising source when his own personal life hits crisis point. The novel also deals with entrenched attitudes and misunderstandings relating to HIV/AIDS and

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