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Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools: Tuck Into a Slice of Andaluc an Life Paperback – October 3, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 549 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Old Fools Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A charming, and often funny, expat tale. Looking at the picturesque village scene before her, Twead wishes she was a "talented artist and could capture that moment in time on canvas for ever." Happily for her, she does.

--Telegraph

'Victoria Twead is a natural storyteller with a knack for charm and wit.'
--Robin Bayley, author of 'The Mango Orchard'

'laugh-out-loud funny...especially the Spanish women heckling over eggs from "The English"...hilarious...engaging...the interspersion of recipes is charming' 
--HarperCollins

Weeks later, after finishing the book, you will be standing at your kitchen window doing the dishes and then recall some fleeting scene with chickens or mules or two old fools and laugh out loud all over again.
--The Catalunya Chronicle

From the Author

Moving to Spain was undeniably a culture shock, but such an adventure... Who would have thought Joe and I would keep chickens and sell eggs to the village ladies? Every new day produced events either hilarious or heart-warming. Food suddenly tasted better, human behaviour was more fascinating, animals funnier, local events more interesting. It was like seeing in colour for the first time, and the book began bubbling in my head.

As I wrote, the book made me both laugh and cry. I love Spain, I love the Spanish people and I love Spanish food. I hope all this shines through in my writing, and if I have one wish, it's that the reader enjoys reading 'Chickens' as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: New Generation Publishing (October 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906558353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906558352
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (549 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking to experience sunny Spain, and maybe even life in a tiny village tucked in the Alpujarra Mountains, and without leaving home, then CHICKENS, MULES AND TWO OLD FOOLS is the book for you.

Approaching retirement, Vicky and her husband, Joe, one day decide to pack up their bags and leave their comfortable Sussex, England home and settle in the village El Hoya, Spain. It is not long before they come to learn village life is full of surprises and quirky mishaps, and with hilarious culture clashes at every turn. When Vicky and Joe unintentionally find themselves chicken farmers, Vicky says:

"Oh, Please! Our Spanish neighbours already thought we were insane, sitting on the yellow sofa gazing at our flock, letting them hop onto our laps, talking to them."

Whether saved by a mule or sitting at a party table in the middle of the road celebrating a neighbour's birthday (and blocking traffic), CHICKENS ... not only paints a warm, humorous and colourful picture of rural Spain, but also tells of how two zany Brits came to fit right in. Light-hearted and full of sunshine. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a breath of fresh air! If you have a sense of humor, and wonder what life in a tiny mountain village in Spain might be like, then this book is for you. What I particularly liked were the larger than life characters and the animals, all of which had me laughing aloud. It was nice to see the photographs of the people and places and I will certainly try the Spanish recipes sprinkled throughout the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been thrilled to have found the perfect Christmas gift for family and friends. This book is one I will be gifting to all for a long time to come. The risk of moving to another country and starting up a new life is admirable. But to keep your sense of humor in spite of all that confronts you is very brave. You won't be able to put this book down.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can you say about CHICKENS, MULES AND TWO OLD FOOLS except that it is extremely well-written, humorous, enlightening, and fun to read. The wonderful Spanish recipes Ms Twead sprinkles generously throughout the pages of her book only increases the reading experience. I read each recipe as I went along and I could visualize Ms Twead cooking them up in her makeshift kitchen. Savory writing and savory food! An unbeatable combination.

You really get a flavor for the impish nature of the author as you survey the characters, both human and animal, and the names she bestowed on them. I often had the feeling that if she really let her hair down and gave in to her bawdy impulses, we'd be rolling in the aisles. Nonetheless, an excellent read by a skillful writer. Even the English slang was funny and educational.

Put this book on your reading list!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I want another one just like it. The book
reminds me of the writings of Betty McDonald. She wrote
about her life is the 1920's to the 1950's in the Seattle area.
She wrote a very humorous account of her life. The style of
writing is one of my most favorite writing styles. I would definitely
read any book Victoria Twead should care to write.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a little story about a retired teacher/substitute and her career-military husband who, in their early 50s, decide to retire and move from England to Spain. It might have been a really charming tale that shed light on both cultures and told some deeper story about what binds (and separates) us all. Instead, it was written at the level of "what I did on my summer vacation" without much insightful commentary. That said, the author is a good story teller, and when she's writing about her chickens, it's like sitting with a good friend over a cup of coffee/tea, laughing and enjoying all the vibrant details. The stories that she tells about the 'colorful' people of the small village to which they moved are not very interesting ('you had to be there'), and she doesn't begin to tap their souls or figure out what makes them tick. In fact, the longer you read, the more you're hoping that they decide to go back to England when there '5 year experiment' is over, b/c their village life is beginning to sound a little stale, like a relative visiting over the holidays that decides to stay an extra week. It's skim-able, but there aren't enough insights or content to bother with every word. Worth 99 cents? Claro!
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Format: Paperback
Victoria Twead's, autobiographical novel is a literary delight! I loved the entire thought that the reader is let into Vicky's ideas and thoughts about moving to Andalucia, Spain from England. The tale is light hearted and amusing, despite the obvious obstacles of language and an entirely new environment and new people. The story is well written, filled with a delightful view into Victoria and her husband's new world and the added bonus of the recipes were a plus
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Format: Paperback
Subtitled Tuck into a slice of Andalucían Life, Chickens, Mules & Two Old Fools is a personal memoir written by (former) UK resident Victoria Twead.

Tired of the dreary British climate as she and her husband Joe neared retirement, they decided to sell in Britain and move to sunny Spain. The book begins with (Victoria's) discontent with England, the process of their decision to make the move, and their search for the ideal piece of Spanish real estate ("The House"). Finding a reliable real estate agent was aided greatly by their serendipitous meeting with another ex-pat who had lived in Spain for some time.

The Tweads found a run-down terrace house with rudimentary bathroom facilities and less-than-that kitchen amenities, in a small village tucked into the mountains. They set about making (extensive) renovations and moving their worldly possessions. They made friends with their neighbours and became acquainted with the villagers and village life, all the while receiving what seems a steady stream of visitors from England.

With a fresh perspective and laugh-out-loud humour, Victoria shares all of this with us.

I tremendously enjoyed reading Chickens & Mules because

* Victoria's voice is down-to-earth. She finds the humour in village life and is not afraid to laugh at herself too. There are also no judgements as to superiorities of one culture over another. I believe this is a key reason the Tweads were successful and happy in their move.

* It was well-written and edited. There are no bumpy repetitions, badly constructed sentences, or annoying typos.

* There are photos! On my Kindle, they are in black and white.
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