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We often walk the Ruta de la Mineria. It runs through the hillsides where, until the 1970s, lead and iron were wrested from the rock. It’s a walk of about 10km, simultaneously scenic and chilling. Setting out from the village, you climb up into Serena, a tiny pueblo aptly named, through an almond grove and, from there the track winds through the hills and valleys that gave up their treasure to men crouching in deep dark holes wielding pickaxes and shovels through long hours of dangerous work. Disused mine workings still dot the landscape, brick and stone crumbling back to...

Saturday morning. Yin yoga class at the gimnasio in the village. I walk there from the house where we’re staying. It takes about 7 minutes. I leave my private, early-morning world of gradual consciousness, barely-remembered dreams and scattered thoughts, climb 30 steep steps and cross into the Calle Mar, the narrow road with just enough room for a car and a pedestrian, that runs into the village. And into another world. Past the Ayuntamiento where the mayor, the police and the doctor share a gracious whitewashed building with bands of yellow around the window recesses and Spanish and Andalucian flags fly above the doorway. On...

I’m looking at a piece of olive wood. It’s on the table out here on the terrace and may be put on the fire tonight. The sun is warm here by day, but just after 5pm it slips behind the hill on the far side of the barranca. Suddenly it’s cool, the heater has been switched off, the power cut. When evening temperatures dip to single figures and the cool tiled floors inside the house lose their daytime charm, we light a fire. Most houses here have wood-burning stoves for the winter. The fuel of choice is olive; it’s obvious when...

I make bread, long-hand. That is to say I make it the slow way. Sourdough bread is a craft of patience and magic. Some would say it's an obsession. Flour, water, salt, natural yeasts and time are all that’s needed. And lots of love. The love is the magic. Each year I come to this arid corner of Spain bringing my sourdough starter on the journey. It travels deep in the boot of the car inside a Kilner jar where it bumps along the autoroutes and autopistas. I had fed it its diet of flour and water before we left London...