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The Art of Derek Dohren

painting, writing, photography



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Granada a Cartagena: The Importance of Language Learning

Posted on June 21, 2016 at 3:20 AM


la importancia del aprendizaje de idiomas


desplazarse a español



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Time to recharge - Tiempo de recarga

Posted on June 19, 2016 at 12:45 PM

desplazarse a español

It's been a while. I see my last blog entry goes back a few years. It's time to blow away the cobwebs and get writing again. It feels like it may be fun again for me. For you, I couldn't possibly say, but you're very welcome to read and comment if you like.

So much has happened to me in recent years. I don't really know where to begin in attempting to re...

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Robots are Rubbish, and other stuff.

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 10:45 AM

As the ice caps melt, sea levels rise, and much of the planet's flaura and fauna hurtle towards extinction it seems only the relentless progress of science can save us now. Science, the very thing that got our environment into such a mess in the first place, is still the best bet to finding us a solution, some kind of technological trick to offset a runaway greenhouse gas disaster such as the one that befell the planet Venus.


We certain...

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1,114 and counting

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Tonight, in a bar in La Zubia, I shall impart my 1,114th English class. That means that in little under two and a half years I have given, on average, 455.72 classes a year, 37.97 classes a month, 8.86 classes a week, and 1.27 classes each day, every day, Monday to Friday, January 1st to December 31st, including Easter and Christmas. I have even managed three classes on that rarest of dates, February 29th.


Anyway, whatever. It's amazing ...

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Posted on April 4, 2012 at 8:05 AM

an extract from my forthcoming book, 'The Cats of the River Darro'

Dead? Dead at fifty? I can't believe it. It's not fair!

Why's it not fair then? Fifty's a good innings. It's more than I give most people.

Yes, but, I was just getting into my stride. I've got an exhibition next week too. Well, I had one.

It'll go ahead without you. They'll do one of those sop...

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Time Machine

Posted on December 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM

If you could have a shot in a time machine, what year would you travel to and where would you go? It's a question I sometimes ask my English students and it's always sure to provide an interesting array of answers. Instinctively most people think of a time in their past, perhaps that moment when they made a monumentally bad decision or did something really stupid and regretful. How we would all like to rectify those mishaps!

For som...

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The Girl Who Is Isabel

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 12:05 PM

I used to teach a girl named Isabel. One day, shortly after we'd finished our series of classes, she got onto my bus but it turned out the girl wasn't Isabel at all. Oddly, over the next few days, I kept seeing other girls that weren't Isabel. I don't know why this happened. Isabel wasn't a particularly striking girl and I didn't think she had made the sort of impression on me that would mean I'd keep thinking I'd seen her when I hadn't.

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Reel Around the Fountain

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 6:50 PM


One of my pivotal reference points of the 1980s is The Smiths' song Reel Around the Fountain. That's what was playing in the car when we crashed on the M62 near Burtonwood services. We were on our way home from the 1984 League Cup Final replay at Maine Road, Manchester. Even now, I can't have a car crash without thinking about that song.

We'd beaten Everton 1:0. Graeme Souness scored. We were stranded on the mot...

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The Cats of the River Darro

Posted on August 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The cats of the River Darro see

From ancient banks that lie

The passing of humanity

Alhambra’s glassy eye

Politicos in corrupted deals

Above that meal of bones

The English teacher dares that she’ll

Upon those cobblestones

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The Year of the Rabbit

Posted on August 9, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Ok, so this is my idea, right. You know the way everyone’s getting really fat?

Are they?

Yes you know, in general, people are getting bigger aren’t they?

Hmm, I suppose.

Well, it’s a story about how the whole world’s getting fatter all the time, you know, loads of people are overeating and putting...

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Waiting for the Spring

Posted on July 23, 2011 at 5:26 PM

July’s a horrible month in Granada. The sun beats down mercilessly from dawn til dusk and if you happen to allow yourself to get caught outside mid-afternoon then it’s damned unpleasant.

But the weather’s not the worst of it.

Granada’s a university city with a fluid population and July happens to be the time when the bulk of the students studying here leave, returning to homes in all corn...

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Happy New Half Year

Posted on July 1, 2011 at 7:52 PM

The wheel of change has spun once more for me here in Granada and as usual I’m left trying to make some sense of passing events. It’s not so much that things change (and they do, whether we like it or not), but more the way these changes manifest themselves that has me holding up my hands in surrender at life’s vagaries.

My recent financial meltdown has meant I’ve been unable to make trips bac...

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The Executive's Speech

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM

I recently watched the Oscar winning The King’s Speech. For a story with such a thin plot, little or no action, and grating upper class English accents, it was an utterly absorbing and strangely compelling film. I loved every minute of it and would happily sit through the whole thing again.

I assume the intention of the filmmakers was to firmly align the sympathies of the viewers with Lionel Logue, the kingR...

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Wonderful Life

Posted on June 2, 2011 at 7:42 AM

Have you ever seen the classic Jimmy Stewart movie It’s a Wonderful Life?

No, you haven’t?

Oh, ok then.

Well, anyway, Stewart plays a character called George Bailey. When his father dies George takes over the family building society business and continues to provide financial assist...

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Driving Golf Balls Over Lemon Trees

Posted on May 31, 2011 at 4:34 AM

The moment she saw the tiny plot of land Persephone loved it and I knew immediately we had found our new home. We flew back to England and quit our jobs, put the house on the market, and began to draw up our plans. I had never lived abroad before and didn’t really know what it entailed but I was determined to find out. However, it was much more complicated than I had imagined.

When we returned to the Lecrin Val...

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Where the streets are paved with gold

Posted on May 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM

It’s odd. I now have more luggage carrying capacity than I have actual luggage. My meagre worldly possessions consist of, amongst other things, a couple of suitcases, a rucksack, a laptop bag and a roll of plastic bin bags capable of taking the bulk of my tired and washed out clothes. When I move out of this apartment next month I’ll be able to shove the whole Dohren estate into the back of a family sized saloon. All I need to prove it is a family sized saloon. I do...

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50 Not Out

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 5:58 PM

On the face of it things are pretty grim. I’ve turned 50, am divorced, homeless, jobless and bankrupt and find myself living in a foreign country where the natives speak with forked tongue. I smell of cats and could do with a visit to the dentist.

Yeah, I guess I’m quite a catch. Girls, please form an orderly queue, and hey, no pushing at the back.

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La Cukaracha

Posted on May 17, 2011 at 7:46 AM

Cockroaches can live for ages after their heads have been cut off. They only die because they eventually starve. They can also survive high doses of nuclear radiation. All well and good, but frankly, no one likes a smart arse insect, and although running around without a head and basking in some post-apocalyptic hell-hole might sound cool I have it on good authority they don’t like it one bit if you pour boiling water on them, then twat them with a size 8 walking boot. It...

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Azerbaijan 1 Europe 0

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM

I plugged the telly in and watched the Eurovision Song Contest last Saturday night. It’s only occurred to me in the days since to wonder why on earth I tune in every year. I mean, I know it’s a load of phoney baloney, but finally I think I understand.

I love the voting.

And it’s not in any sort of ironic, ‘love to hate’ kind ...

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Slaying Dragons

Posted on May 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM

‘Teenagers’; a word to strike fear into the heart of most EFL teachers, most certainly this one. Now, I admit, there’s a huge difference between the ages of 13 and 19, and between girls and boys. All life is there, somewhere, so let’s be more specific – I’m talking about young teenagers here, and usually boys. You know the kind. In between bouts of being mute, deaf and comatose, they are at best monosyllabic, unless of course they’re sn...

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