Perhaps if Joe and Vicky had known what relocating to a tiny village, tucked in the Alpujarra mountains, would really be like, they might have hesitated They have no idea of the culture shock in store No idea they will become reluctant chicken farmers and own the most dangerous cockerel in Spain No idea they will be befriended by anyear old spliffsmoking sexkitten or rescued by a mule Life is never dull as they embark on their Five Year Plan At the end of five years they must decide Will they stay, or return to the relative sanity of England? Vicky and Joe's story is packed with irreverent humour, animals, eccentric characters and sunshine 'Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools' was awarded the HarperCollins Authonomy 'Gold Star' in November'laughoutloud funnyally the Spanish women heckling over eggs from the The Englishhilariousengaginge interspersion of recipes is charming' HarperCollins 'This is wonderful I have tears in my eyese humour, the warmth, the joyI love this booke two of you sitting on the sofa in that dusty street listening to Spanish tunes on the crackly radio What a sight you must have been' Aleck Loker, author ofbooks including 'Ancient Explorers of America' 'I love the relaxed writing style and easy humour of this Great stuff!' Denny Gillan, author of 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' 'Victoria Twead is a natural storyteller with a knack for charm and wit' Robin Bayley, author of 'The Mango Orchard'

10 thoughts on “Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools (Old Fools, #1)

  1. Margitte Margitte says:

    This is truly a memoir that inspires a trouble-less joie de vivre in the reader.

    Most British expats in Spain have a story to tell of cultural clashes, dodgy estate agents, derelict, over-priced houses and a spirit of the conqueror to get themselves acclimatized in a new country with the British culture thriving and intact. After all, they did not leave their culture behind, only their weather.

    This book does not differ from any others in this genre in that regard. But Vicky and Joe integrate in El Hoyo by learning Spanish as soon as possible and becoming part of the wallpaper of a life of sunshine, Spanish cooking and chickens as main characters in the book with often laugh-out-loud moments. Making wine, with their neighbors up in the mountains, meeting eccentric characters(for them), selling eggs to their neighbors from their new chicken family, getting to know a vivacious mule and dogs and cats everywhere, the tale is heartwarming and enchanting. Simple, but delicious recipes are thrown in for good measure and soon the reader wants to cook Spanish. It is just that alluring.

    It is a superb New York bestselling expat memoir with a few sequels thrown in.

    For the reader it is just a great escape from one reality with another reality turned colorful in another part of the world.


  2. Maria Maria says:

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book. It's non-fiction, the true tale of a couple who decide to leave England to retire to Spain. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, and generally the book made me smile. The author made a decision to leave the UK one rainy day. Joe, the author's husband, was not sure about the move, so they compromised, agreeing a 5-year plan. They would move to the remote village of El Hoyo in Andalucía for 5 years and if it didn't work out they would return to the UK. Victoria Twead has a gift for describing people, places and actions so that the reader feels they are actually there. She is a fabulous storyteller. 'Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools' is a wonderfully entertaining book. I feel as though I know all of the eccentric characters described in the book, and would recognise them all immediately if I took a trip to the village. I would recommend 'Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools' to everyone, it's a real tonic. Reading the book I almost felt as if I was on holiday, right there in El Hoyo watching these strange and wonderful characters (and animals!). I didn't want the book to end, and in a way it hasn't because interspersed throughout are traditional Spanish recipes, all of which sound delicious and which I will be trying out!

  3. Paul E. Morph Paul E. Morph says:

    Part memoir, part recipe book, this was an easy read; perfect for on the beach or beside the pool. It was, perhaps, a little twee in places for my tastes but I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy it. I'm sure I'll be reading the rest of the series.

  4. Lilo Lilo says:

    Highly enjoyable read. Review to follow when I have a bit more time.

    I, definitely, want to read the sequel(s)--also when I have a bit more time.

  5. G.J. G.J. says:

    This book would get 3.5 stars if there was a half star system ! Anyway, a light easy read, a bit repetitive for me though, the mention of her husband scratching his nethers must score very highly here, if she wrote it once she wrote it tens of times!
    I enjoyed the escapades with the chickens and Judith was a hoot, however I feel the author tried too hard for laughs and it just didn't quite work for me.

  6. Brett Williams Brett Williams says:

    Highly recommended
    I can understand totally why this book got an award. The hilarious characters and the scrapes that Vicky and Joe got themselves into just had me laughing right to the final chapters. If you liked the James Herriot series, you'll like Victoria Twead's take on Spanish life in an Andalucian village. Highly recommended, 5 stars!

  7. Pamela Allegretto Pamela Allegretto says:

    Victoria Twead’s delightful sense of humor engages the reader from page one. Her story telling is top-notch. Along with her captivating narrative, she introduces a creative amalgam of endearing characters. In addition, she has added recipes of her favorite dishes. Yum!

  8. Dvora Dvora says:

    My original review must have been lost when I had Goodreads technical problems. I thought this was a very charming memoir of the life of a British expat living in Spain. I am an American expat doing the same (although in a different part of Spain) so I could relate to many of the things Twead was saying. And those things she said she said well and with humor. The inclusion of several recipes enhanced the book even more. I have recommended it to others, especially my expat friends here (a couple of whom have read and enjoyed it a lot).

  9. Carole Carole says:

    Adventures Galore
    Sent to 24.04.10

    ‘Chickens, Mules and two old fools’ is the apt title of Victoria Twead’s, autobiographical novel about her and her husband Joe’s retirement in Andalucia, Spain. When Vicky first proposed it, Joe was not so sure. The bargain, wrung from a few anxious moments, was they would return to the colder climes of England in five year’s time if it didn’t work out.

    I loved the light hearted, amusing atmosphere, the sense of adventure and of beating adversity as the couple moved from their safe, familiar home in Sussex to a broken down house in a village in southern Spain. They set about learning the language and getting to know the remarkable characters that now filled their lives. They populated the orchard with chicken, known as ‘the girls,’ as well as by their more unconventional names. The girls’ antics provided no end of amusement. I wondered what the villagers did for their eggs before The English came along.

    Well written, the story flowed smoothly through house renovations and fiestas, beach days and jellyfish, processions and puddings. Peppered in among the text, the stamp sized illustrations added another interest. For those who like recipes with everything, you won’t be disappointed. Neatly ruled off from the main text are a host of Spanish recipes for you to try. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

    I give the book 5 stars for its entertainment value.


  10. Tejas Janet Tejas Janet says:

    My Rating: Solid 3.5 Stars

    While I enjoyed this book, I thought it fell victim to the malaise that often strikes memoirs of the cookbook variety. The narrative, while light and quite readable, felt overly skimpy and repetitive by book's end. The recipes were presented in a separate section in an effort to not disrupt the narrative. However, the result was that the recipes felt almost like an after thought, just tacked on at the end rather than truly integrated into the telling of events. Such is the nature of the author’s dilemma in this genre.

    Twead’s good-natured book left me wanting both more and less at the same time - more details about the preparation of the specific recipes for example and less repetition and ancillary info. The book initially started out well with the narrative and recipes solidly linked, such as in the telling about making tripe for the pudding contest in El Hoya’s big romp of an annual festival, but it all too quickly diverged into two disjointed parts. The end effect is like a separated Hollandaise sauce that, while still tasty, falls short of its fully realized glory, all the more disappointing since you know the basic ingredients are all there, just not quite properly combined.