A Poco a poco

March 2015 When I first moved to London, I met a girl from Salamanca at a language exchange. She had had a miserable time of London. She had moved for an Irish boy who promptly dumped her; she was working in a café but qualified as a pharmacist; she didn’t know anyone and was still…

Lakes in Winter

November 2014 During the Brexit debate, boundaries blurred between Europe, Schengen, the Eurozone, and the EU (more than once, I was told that if we voted Remain, we would have to adopt the Euro). The referendum was a vote to leave the EU but it was also a statement about how the British people see…

Home, Sweet Home

June 2016 I thought my patriotism was long buried beneath a dark sense of humour and benign self-loathing. I thought (I liked to think) that was the extent of my Englishness. I was in Spain when the EU referendum result came in. I saw them laughing. I saw their pity for me, for being English….

Wednesday Sessions

July 2014 Before the referendum – before it was even promised – I was enjoying my EU-ensured freedom of movement to live and work in Spain. On Wednesdays, I taught at a school in one of the pueblos outside town and caught a taxi back with two of my colleagues: one Irish, one American. The…

A Forgotten Promise

January 2013 When David Cameron pledged to hold a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU, I was living in the south of Spain. After graduating the previous summer, I had stayed on in Bristol to teach English. I ended up spending a lot of time with the Spanish teachers who had brought…