Fiona Flores Watson (scribblerinseville.com) was brought up in a small village in Essex, a much-maligned county in the east of England. She studied Classics and serious partying at the University of Bristol, aquiring an insatiable thirst for vodka and a large collection of 12-inch singles. She then worked in London for 10 years, writing in and editing customer magazines for the likes of Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Orange. Her duties included supervising foreign photo shoots, going on press trips on super-posh cruise ships and trains (today’s travel blogger heaven), attending parties at luxury hotels, and interviewing top chefs and businessmen. Ay, ‘twas a hard life. But London wore her down with its stinky, packed tubes, grey skies and greyer faces, and after ten years she chucked it all in (job, house, boyfriend) and ran away to South America. After adventures in Chile, Bolivia and Peru, she taught English and did voluntary work in Ecuador for a year, and then came to Seville where she works as a journalist, blogger, translator, social media consultant and occasional English teacher. She still stays in five-star hotels whenever humanly possible, ideally without her two small children, but with her Spanish husband.
1. How did you end up living in Sevilla?
South America was too far away, and this city is known for its sunshine and partying – two essential ingredients for life. Proximity to an international airport and beaches also helped.
2. What’s the thing you like the most of Sevilla?
Tapas! Such a great variety – always interesting combinations of flavours to try. New places keep opening up even now.
3. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about Sevilla?
The dog shit on the pavements – bag it, folks.
4. How do you cope with homesickness?
Skype and Radio 4.
5. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
No, but my children often climb in for cuddles.
6. Any children’s Book and/or film you consider essential?
So many… The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Gruffalo are both favourites with my kids – first for being read, now for learning to read themselves.
7. What still-airing kid’s TV show character do you love?
It would have to be Daddy Pig from Peppa Pig, my daughter’s favourite programme: he’s fat, eats too many cookies, thinks he’s great at everything but isn’t, and knows how to laugh at himself. The ultimate lovable buffoon.
8. Do you remember any embarrassing mistake you’ve made while learning Spanish?
Loads – grifo/grifa (can I have a glass of), folleto/something similar but far less socially acceptable (do you have any?).
9. Any suggestion (or magic potion) to learn English effortlessly?
Listen to BBC Radio (most stations are available online; I favour 2, 4, 6 music and World Service) and watch TV in English, especially films whose story you already know, and the news when you know the main stories.
10. Can we know what your plans for the future are?
To continue writing about Seville and its glories, the well-known and less so, both for visitors and residents. And to find more projects in social media, copywriting and translation – so much English in every medium here in Spain is shockingly shoddy; why not pay for an expert native to check it rather than risk looking ridiculous?