As the Autumn International Rugby games are nearing, Frank is getting progressively twitchy about having some way of listening to them, if not actually watching them…

He’s been hankering after a radio to make sure he doesn’t miss them entirely, but it’s not easy to find a radio that runs on 12 Volt and has short and long wave.

Although we’ve come across a few fans on our journey (Ruben the shopkeeper in Lalin, Nacho the policeman in Grado), Rugby isn’t exactly big in Spain. It’s not easy to find an Irish bar, and if you do, chances are they show the Irish game instead of the Welsh.


On our way to the Tango club, we spotted a radio shop. Ruth didn’t think they would have what we were looking for but nevertheless called in the next day to find that the owner seemed to know a lot about radios and was determined to find the right thing for us. So yesterday we called in together and after looking at various ways of powering a radio from Emma’s cigarette lighter he asked us to follow us into his inner sanctum. There were two comfy chairs facing a large screen and the most extraordinary array of amps and speakers. They ranged from tinny little 6 inch speakers to what looked like a miniature organ bristling with pipes. Yago informed us that they were definitely not for sale. He ushered us to the comfy chairs and proceeded to give us a full demonstration, starting with Orff’s Carmina Burana. The sound was incredible, even compared to the best speakers currently on the market, which were standing alongside: it was as if we were sat in the middle of a full orchestra. It turns out that they had been designed and made by his father who had also created this very room as the first dedicated sound chamber in Spain. Yago’s whole family was involved in sound: there was a kind of tape recorder too, using very fine wire, which his uncle had invented. The whole experience was like being in a mini museum dedicated to sound.


We felt privileged to have been invited in and were quite surprised when he told us that he regularly invited teenagers in to show them what they were missing by just listening to poor quality sound from their I-phones etc.

It was at this point that Ruth asked if he had any Tango music. When he put on his mother’s favourite track, Yira Yira, we gave him a quick turn on his carpet. When we finished, he held out his wrist to show us the goose bumps. He was truly moved and it was a lovely way of giving him something, in return for sharing his passion for sound.

All the more incredible was that he gave us his full attention for a good half hour, whilst shooing away his shop assistants and potential clients, in the knowledge that he wouldn’t be able to sell us anything.

When we finally left the shop he said he would do his best to come up with something after the weekend. We are looking forward to meeting him again to see if he’s found anything.

For photos for this chapter, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the album.

To read up about Yago and the history of his family of inventors, go to his website: http://www.portelas.es/historia/

(if you don’t read spanish, try googletranslate)

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360 Asturias

Finally we have managed to upload the video clip we took of the Camino Real de la Mesa, so here it is!


We miss the sun… We’ve had several weeks of rain now, with many thunderstorms…

Off to the sea today and then southwards tomorrow.

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