Portsmouth Hispanic Society

Don Quixote, here of Spanish culture

2021/22 News Archive

Posted: 5th March 2022

Finding Your Ground - a personal Odyssey in Las Alpujarras.

The society's March meeting was held on 3rd March at the Fratton Community Centre.

The keynote speaker was Ken Scott of Touching The Light but before Ken took the floor there was the usual light tapas buffet and a topical Hispanic news item presented by Mike English.

This month Mike reviewed an internal power struggle currently being played out in one of Spain's main political parties, the Popular Party.

His presentation, Guerra Interna en el Partido Popular, was given in Spanish with English translation. Mike delivered an intriguing overview of the political party, the protagonists, and their Machiavellian machinations to win power over their rival.

Guerra Interna en el Partido Popular (in Spanish) is available to read as a PDF by clicking here. A new tab will display the presentation.

Ken then enraptured the audience with a heartfelt presentation about Las Alpujarras, an area of Spain a few kilometers south east of Granada.

Ken, a photographer, adventurer, speaker and coach, has a long association with this special area of the Spanish Peninsular. A UNESCO Heritage Site, Las Alpujarras is bounded to the north by the Sierra Nevada mountains and buffered from the tourist honeypots of the south Mediterranean coast, between Malaga and Almeria, by a range of coastal hills.

Ken explained his discovery of Las Alpujarras over twenty years ago during a difficult period in his life and how he has come to find great peace and wellbeing from his association with the area. His presentation took us on an audio-visual tour of a beautifully tranquil and largely unspoilt area of Southern Spain.

From the town of Ógiva, the area's gateway with its twin steepled cathedral, Ken led us from the Poqueira Gorge, through villages and towns such as Lanjarón, Las Barreras, Los Tablones, Cañar, Capiliera, and Pampaneira. His images and videos captured many aspects of the region's community, inhabitants, architecture, and fiestas.

An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, Ken's images were exquisite in colour, texture, light, and composition. His presentation was truly audio-visual with photographs, videos, and music expertly interwoven to entrance the audience.

An inspiring presentation that made many in the audience ache with desire to visit such a beautiful area of Spain.

Ken is a really interesting character with much energy and many facets to his life. Visit his website touchingthelight.co.uk to find out more about his activities and to view his extensive portfolio of images. Please note that the society is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Posted: 13th April 2022

¡Español de paseo!

Un nuevo grupo de conversación - ¡pero con una diferencia!

The society's next Español de paseo will take place on Thursday 28th April at 2pm.

This event will start from the Emmanuel Emmanuel Memorial Drinking Fountain, a Grade II listed monument located at the southern end of Canoe Lake Gardens. Canoe Lake Gardens are a few hundred metres east from

  • South Parade Pier, South Parade, Southsea, Portsmouth PO4 0SW.

The route for April's walk will visit the following places of local historical interest:

  • Lumps Fort, a Victorian fortification where the ROSE GARDEN is located today.
  • The Yomper, a magnificent statue dedicated to the heroes of the Falklands.
  • Cumberland House Museum.

The aims of the society's Spanish Walks are to reveal aspects of local history, recent and ancient, and help students of Spanish conversation learn vital elements of grammar and language use in a light hearted and congenial atmosphere.

For further information contact the event organiser by email at judithworley@aol.com.

Posted: 16th February 2022

The sounds of Galicia - an Introduction to Galician folk music.

The society's February meeting was held on 3rd February at the Fratton Community Centre. The main speaker was Xan, a native of Galicia with a passion for his culture and traditional Galician folk music.

The evening's entertainment started with a light tapas finger buffet. Whilst the audience tucked into their tapas Mike presented a topical news item from the Iberian Peninsula.

Mike's news item was titled “Carles Puigdemont, ¿Héroe, mártir o villano?.”

Puigdemont served as the 130th President of Catalonia from 2016 to 2017 when he was removed from office by the Spanish Government following the unilateral Catalan declaration of independence.

Mike outlined the history behind the politician, trying to determine which description was most appropriate - Hero, Martyr, or Villain.

The decision, of course, rested within each attendee's perspective and conscience!

Next to take the stage was Xan, our keynote speaker. Xan's presentation delivered a wide ranging introduction to Galicia, the countryside, architecture, food, people, and culture. The first few nuggets of information included the fact that Galicians could draw on a vocabulary of sixty words referring to rain, that Galicia's coastline measures 1500 kilometers, and that area of Spain is home to Europe's largest wolf reserve.

Xan's presentation built a detailed picture of Galicia, delving into the history of the area, its people, and culture, including an extensive range of supporting photographs and images.

One example depicts how the Galician's adopted and adapted incoming cultures to reflect their own cultural heritage - religious iconography depicting a statue of the Virgin Mary with a very noticeable baby bump!

The latter half of Xan's lecture was dedicated to the Galician bagpipes. He outlined the history of the instrument, its development, and the various styles of music used in traditional folk music.

I am certain that a significant number of people in the audience were unaware that many musical genres that form the backbone of today's musical heritage were originally developed by Celtic musicians using the bagpipes, for example the Polka.

We were exceptionally fortunate that David and Josefina were able to support Xan with demonstrations of the different styles of folk music played on a set of traditional Galician bagpipes.

David and Josefina had travelled from London to play for the society. Attired in traditional Galician costume David brought the beauty of the instrument and music to life.

Sadly the evening came to an end much too soon. David and Josefina had to catch their train back to London

The audience was in agreement that the keynote presentation had been extremely interesting. Xan's presentation was a detailed overview of Galician history, culture, and music. There was a wealth of information, photographs and videos. Xan has provided a PDF version of the presentation for you to view online, or download if you prefer.

Click here to see Xan's full presentation, which will open in a new tab.
Please note that the presentation includes links to YouTube content and other external resources. The society is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Posted: 9th March 2022

¡Español de paseo!

Un nuevo grupo de conversación - ¡pero con una diferencia!

Walking whilst talking Spanish - an innovative idea conceived and established by Portsmouth Hispanic Society member Judith Worley.

Since beginning Spanish Walks in October 2021 Judith's excursions have explored Southsea Castle, Old Portsmouth and The Point, the Portsmouth Museum, Portsmouth Guildhall Square and Victoria Park, and the war memorials of Southsea Seafront.

Judith selects an area of interest around Portsmouth's environs, undertakes historical research, then builds and circulates the relevant vocabulary in advance.

The atmosphere is light hearted and congenial with no requirement for any level of language competency. Each walk will reveal aspects of British history, recent and ancient, of which many attendees may be unaware, and help students of Spanish conversation learn vital elements of grammar and language use.

The walk usually ends with refreshments and a chance to discuss the afternoon.

The next ¡Español de paseo! will be held on 24th March 2022 at 2pm.

Meet at the Victorian Fountain/Statue in front of Canoe Lake, a few hundred metres east of

South Parade Pier,
Eastney Esplanade,
Portsmouth PO4 0SW.

Contact Judith on judithworley@aol.com for more information.

Posted: February 2022

Return Journey - Art of the Americas in Spain

Take a virtual tour of an exhibition hosted by the Prado Museum, Madrid, which recounts the little known phenomenon that following the conquest of Latin America and until its independence, more works of art arrived in Spain from that continent than from Flanders or Italy and that the movement of works was not one-directional, from Spain to Latin America, as is generally suggested.

The virtual tour costs € 2.50 and once activated is valid for a day or two.

Click here to visit the museum's website.
Please note that the society is not responsible for the content of external websites.

The virtual tour is available until 13th February.

Posted: December 2021

Fiesta de Navidad

The Society's annual Fiesta de Navidad was held on Thursday 6th December at the Fratton Community Centre. This year members and visitors were entertained by guitar and vocal duo Mike and Hazzell plus a salsa session arranged by Lucy and readings by society members. As always there was a tapas finger buffet with dishes prepared by society members.

Once the buffet had opened and guests had filled their plates the entertainment kicked off with a set of traditional and contemporary songs delivered by Mike and Hazzell. We enjoyed tracks such as La Bamba, Despacito, and Besame Mucho. Next up was the opportunity for members to take the spotlight. Mike and Judith made us laugh with the excruciating Spanglish of The Visit of St. Nick before Roy Downing sang, in English, One For My Baby (And One More For the Road) and, in Spanish, the Mexican song Por un Amor.

Lucy managed to get most of us up for a salsa session before the raffle was drawn, rewarding a lucky few of those who had bought tickets.

The evening closed off with a singalong set from Mike and Hazzell. Lyric sheets had been provided so we could join in with well known classics such as Tamborilero, Noche de Paz, Feliz Navidad, and Campana Sobre Campanana.


Posted: Nov 2021

Andean Medical Mission

The Andean Medical Mission is well known to the Society having delivered a presentation about its work. Dave Smith, the charity's General Manager has sent an update for our membership.

Milestone reaching and online teaching

I trust you are well and keeping safe in these most extraordinary times. As one of our valued team of volunteers and supporters of our work in Bolivia, I want to update you on our plans for 2021.

Following an amazing 2019 where Andean Medical Mission passed the milestone of successfully operating on our 1,000th blind patient, like much of the world we found ourselves on pause during 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the year progressed it became obvious that whilst our online teaching of management of eye emergencies could continue very successfully, our eye surgery trips would be on hold for some time. We needed to consider our next moves carefully.

Supporting the vaccine roll out

After much thought we have arrived at the conclusion that the best use of our resources in 2021 is to help in the roll out of the Covid19 vaccines to rural villages in El Beni where we have built relationships. Bolivia has purchased several million vials of vaccine and will need help to distribute it outside of the main cities due to the shortage of medical professionals available in these remote locations.

The successful delivery of the vaccine will achieve two things. Firstly, we can save lives by making sure that as many isolated families are vaccinated as possible. Secondly, once sufficient vaccine coverage has been achieved, we can resume our eye care services safely and in the knowledge that we are not bringing differing strains of the virus from outside of Bolivia to these populations.

Whilst we are primarily an eye care organisation, this is the right thing to do at this time.

Spread the word

Now more than ever we need your help to ensure we receive vital funds. As a regular supporter or someone who has seen what we do first-hand and made significant contribution to providing eye care in this forgotten part of the world, you are in a great place to tell others about AMM and help us to grow our network of supporters.

Regular donations change lives

Please share this link https://www.justgiving.com/andeanmedicalmission  with friends, family, or anyone who you think might be willing to support our work.

The most impactful way anyone can contribute is with a regular monthly donation. A regular gift allows us to forecast for the future and ensure that we are able to direct our help where it is needed most.

There is no doubt that your support has changed lives. With your continued support we can pursue our aim of eliminating avoidable blindness in Bolivia.

Thank you so much.
Warm regards

Dave Goldsmith,
General Manager.
Andean Medical Mission
WhatsApp: +591 67358221

Posted: October 2021

Arquitecto de tu Casa

Attendees at October's meeting were introduced to Margarita Molina, author of the book "Arquitecto de tu Casa". Written during the pandemic, and published in Spanish, the book aims to help people and families facing isolation during the Covid crisis.

In "Architect of your house" you will find some steps to make your home a happy home and start a new healthy lifestyle that allows you to look and feel good about yourself. My purpose is to provide you with some tools to combat the isolation caused by the pandemic and motivate you to improve and prevent diseases.

She has contacted our Hispanic Society to make us aware of the book's publication and would like to organise a reading club to discuss, in Spanish, the issues it deals with.

Copies of the book can be ordered from Margarita or, if you prefer an E-book format, via Amazon.

Click here to contact Margarita by email or call her on 07884 368409.

Posted: October 2021

My Colombia by Lucy Sanchez

On 7 October 2021 we welcomed Lucy Sanchez to present an illustrated talk about her native country Colombia.

Her presentation covered many aspects of Colombia including geography, history, and politics. Lucy's talk captured the colour and vibrancy of life and culture in Colombia but also introduced attendees to some of the more difficult aspects of modern day living. Overall the presentation was uplifting and fascinating as Lucy conveyed her enthusiasm for her native country and culture. Indeed, Lucy provided insights that we would not have found in any guide book.

Attired in traditional dress Lucy and her son, Mahde, treated us to a demonstration of traditional Colombian folk dance.

Additionally, Lucy provided an extensive array of home cooked traditional dishes including empanadas and a refreshing drink made from fermented pineapple skin and jaggery. Hopefully the menu and recipes will be made available in the near future so keep an eye on the website.

Thanks to Lucy and Mahde for an enjoyable and memorable evening.

Posted: October 2021

¡Español de paseo!

Un nuevo grupo de conversación - ¡pero con una diferencia!

We will walk while we speak Spanish. There are many sites in Portsmouth and Southsea that are worth visiting and talking about. We will start with Henry the 8th's Castle, where there is much to see; there is a whole museum to explore. You can also have coffee! If you are interested, it is better to contact me by email or phone and we can arrange a meeting time. For me there is a preference: I am available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Contact Judith Worley: paseo@spanishportsmouth.org.uk or Tel: 02392 483217

Posted: September 2021

New Spanish Curriculum for 2021/22

Our Spanish teacher Natalia Corcuera is organising lessons for the new season. We are planning to start new sessions at various levels at a variety of different times during the week and at affordable prices. The Society runs lessons at all levels of Spanish from complete beginner to advanced and some may have spaces available. Currently all lessons are taught via Zoom with a maximum of 5 students per session. If you are interested in learning Spanish from scratch or in improving your Spanish.

Click here for more information and to express an interest.