the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Vaughan Town at el Barco de Ávila

on March 1, 2023

It has long been an ambition to visit Ávila, close to Madrid in Spain. I love walled cities such as York and Ávila is equally impressive. ( I love to see the housing inside the walls.) When I realised it was possible to volunteer with Vaughan Town at el Barco de Ávila (a town not too far from Ávila), this killed two birds with one stone.

Vaughan Town is an organisation which recruits native English speaking volunteers to improve the spoken language skills of Spanish business people. Participants experience English emersion with over eighty hours of contact. As volunteers, David and I got to stay in a four-star hotel for six nights with all meals provided (three courses with wine at lunch and dinner plus a sumptuous breakfast). Volunteers came from Canada, England, the USA and Ireland. It was a unique opportunity to meet interesting people and converse with members of this intergenerational group. As well as one-to-ones, there were scripted telephone calls, group activities, presentations and comedy sketches. It was a rewarding experience to be part of the journey that saw participants develop their skills and fluency in using spoken English. I thoroughly recommend volunteering.

I’m here as the narrator in Cinderella (if you can see behind David’s head).

Now I’m back at home again, there’s lots of catching up to do. I’m continuing to work on a new novel set on a tropical island which focuses on the tension between affluent holidaymakers and local communities. The Vaughan Town experience has given me ideas for another story, so you could call it research.

But, the new priority for this week is getting in a practice run in preparation for the Weymouth half marathon on 19 March. Wish me luck!

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