I spent much of October over in Spain researching and writing my forthcoming book As I Walked Out through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee. The book will be published in the spring of 2014 as part of the celebrations linked to Lee’s Centenary in June 2014. I have to thank Callum Christie who runs a great little Tour Operator “Frontier Holidays” that specialises in walking and cultural holidays in Spain. Callum lent me his home near Ronda as a writing base. Whilst there I met another entrepreneur, Manni Coe, who runs another great little Tour Operation called TomaTours that also does walking, gourmet and cultural short breaks in Andalusia. Manni is a great fan of Laurie Lee too and we had a great evening discussing his books and travels. He tipped me off about a relatively unknown scenic rail route through the Pueblos Blancos region between Algeciras (Next to Gibraltar) and Ronda.
He also told me about meeting Michael Portillo and persuading him to travel the route as part of the opening programme of a new series of Great Continental Rail Journeys that was broadcast last month on BBC2- you can catch it on BBC I-Player though. Michael Portillo does a great job of introducing the delights of Andalusia.
Manni invited me to visit the region and take a ride on the railway. I didn’t need asking twice and spent a great day travelling on Mr Henderson’s Railway and writing about it for Toma Tours. You can read the article here Walking Out In Spain in Search of Laurie Lee
I guess on this occasion I was also keeping a look out for Mr Portillo. I didn’t find him but I did meet him last night at a function in London at the LSE and we did have a quick chat about the programme. He was disappointed that the wonderful meal he had at Caserio ananda adjacent to the Gaucin station platform had to be cut from the programme due to time constraints.
My day spent travelling the railway was a moving one for me and brought back poignant memories.