Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

Rated 4.70/5 based on 28 reviews
*New York Times bestselling author*

If Joe and Vicky had known what relocating to a tiny mountain village in Andalucia would be like, they might have hesitated... 

They have no idea of the culture shock in store. No idea they'll become reluctant chicken farmers and own the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. No idea they'll help capture a vulture or be rescued by a mule. More

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About Victoria Twead

I nagged poor Joe into moving from England to Spain in 2004. We settled into a tiny mountain village in Andalucía, became reluctant chicken farmers and ended up owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Spain.

Our story is told in The Old Fools Trilogy:
1. Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools
2. Two Old Fools ~ Olé!
3. Two Old Fools on a Camel (NYT Bestseller)

"Chickens" became an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller, and remained so for four months.

Videos

Book Trailer: Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools
What is it really like to live in a tiny, Spanish mountain village? Victoria and Joe found out the hard way... Using film and photos from the couple's personal albums, this book trailer confirms why Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools was awarded the HarperCollins Authonomy 'Gold Star'. 'charming' 'funny' --Telegraph ‘hilarious' --HarperCollins

Also in Old Fools

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Reviews

Review by: Lynn Robinson on Nov. 18, 2012 : (no rating)
What a brill book! I already have a copy but wanted it on my iPad. I'm so glad I did, now I can dip in and have a giggle at Victoria and Joes exploits any time I wish!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Betty-Anne Olton on May 12, 2012 :
I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for reading and reviewing it.

The title alone promises that Victoria Twead’s Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools is going to be a hilarious adventure, and that’s what you get and more!

Vicky, the author, decides that retirement for her does not include dreary English weather. Instead she envisions a lovely house in sunny Spain and proceeds to talk her husband Joe into the idea. Ultimately, they do relocate to a strange but fascinating house in a tiny Andalucían village way up a mountain.

As much as the very nature of the book lends itself to humor, it would all probably be quite pointless without the excellent ‘voice’ of Vicky herself. The author has the absolute knack for seeing the humor in every single thing – from the German real estate agent, to the trials of making the odd house livable, to of course, the inevitable chickens. She also has the ability to relay that humor in an engaging, friendly way that makes you feel that you’re sitting down with an old, dear friend.

This book also has a special place in my heart because I grew up in a small, rural Catholic village in the Caribbean and many of the festivals that the author describes take me right back to my childhood. The many pictures in the book also enhance the storytelling, and helps bring many of the incidents to vivid life. Oh, I loved the addition of the Spanish recipes as well, which I’m slowly working my way through trying.

I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a quirky look at life, and writing infused with humor and gentle sarcastic wit that will leave you laughing long after you’ve finished reading.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Betty-Anne Olton on May 12, 2012 :
I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for reading and reviewing it.

The title alone promises that Victoria Twead’s Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools is going to be a hilarious adventure, and that’s what you get and more!

Vicky, the author, decides that retirement for her does not include dreary English weather. Instead she envisions a lovely house in sunny Spain and proceeds to talk her husband Joe into the idea. Ultimately, they do relocate to a strange but fascinating house in a tiny Andalucían village way up a mountain.

As much as the very nature of the book lends itself to humor, it would all probably be quite pointless without the excellent ‘voice’ of Vicky herself. The author has the absolute knack for seeing the humor in every single thing – from the German real estate agent, to the trials of making the odd house livable, to of course, the inevitable chickens. She also has the ability to relay that humor in an engaging, friendly way that makes you feel that you’re sitting down with an old, dear friend.

This book also has a special place in my heart because I grew up in a small, rural Catholic village in the Caribbean and many of the festivals that the author describes take me right back to my childhood. The many pictures in the book also enhance the storytelling, and helps bring many of the incidents to vivid life. Oh, I loved the addition of the Spanish recipes as well, which I’m slowly working my way through trying.

I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a quirky look at life, and writing infused with humor and gentle sarcastic wit that will leave you laughing long after you’ve finished reading.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Debbie Rodgers on April 16, 2012 : (no rating)
Subtitled Tuck into a slice of Andalucían Life, Chickens, Mules & Two Old Fools is a personal memoir written by (former) UK resident Victoria Twead.

Tired of the dreary British climate as she and her husband Joe neared retirement, they decided to sell in Britain and move to sunny Spain. The book begins with (Victoria’s) discontent with England, the process of their decision to make the move, and their search for the ideal piece of Spanish real estate (“The House”). Finding a reliable real estate agent was aided greatly by their serendipitous meeting with another ex-pat who had lived in Spain for some time.

The Tweads found a run-down terrace house with rudimentary bathroom facilities and less-than-that kitchen amenities, in a small village tucked into the mountains. They set about making (extensive) renovations and moving their worldly possessions. They made friends with their neighbours and became acquainted with the villagers and village life, all the while receiving what seems a steady stream of visitors from England.

With a fresh perspective and laugh-out-loud humour, Victoria shares all of this with us.

I tremendously enjoyed reading Chickens & Mules because

• Victoria’s voice is down-to-earth. She finds the humour in village life and is not afraid to laugh at herself too. There are also no judgements as to superiorities of one culture over another. I believe this is a key reason the Tweads were successful and happy in their move.

• It was well-written and edited. There are no bumpy repetitions, badly constructed sentences, or annoying typos.

• There are photos! On my Kindle, they are in black and white. On a Kindle Fire , Nook Color, iPad, or other reading device with color graphics, you’ll see them in their full glory. BUT. Only a few of the books on my Kindle have a desk-top component – I’m not familiar enough with the technology to know why or why not—and Chickens & Mules is one that does. THAT desk-top copy of the book has colour photos. The paperback version of the book also has b&w pictures, but you can also view them (and MANY others) in colour on Victoria’s web-site.

• Victoria includes three dozen yummy-sounding recipes for everything from Spanish Spinach to English Sticky Toffee pudding, with the emphasis on Mediterranean dishes.

I recommend Chickens, Mules & Two Old Fools to anyone who’s ever dreamed of moving someplace sunny (and who hasn’t it?!), anyone contemplating moving to another country and culture, and to arm-chair travellers, no matter how house-bound; in fact, to anyone wno’d like to share a few laughs and a few dreams with a charming couple.

P.S. You can subscribe to a free Village Updates newsletter on Victoria’s web-site.

P.P.S. After spending this time getting to know Victoria and Joe, and having viewed the photo of their renovated guestroom, I’d visit too!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Avo Uvesian on March 15, 2012 :
Travel to a small Spanish village called El Hoyo and stop awhile to visit with Vicky, Joe, and their wonderful neighbors who seem more like characters from an entertaining novel than real people. Even their friends who come to visit are unique and fun-loving. Vicky and Joe are able to laugh at themselves and respectfully laugh with their neighbors who are so culturally different.

Enjoy their frustrations as they remodel a "home" that lacks the amenities enjoyed in their life in England. The author allows the reader to "enjoy" the obstacles they encounter because she and her husband face challenges with a remarkable sense of humor.

My favorite scene in the memoir was of the couple sitting on an abandoned, yellow vinyl sofa in their orchard being entertained by their family of chickens. All, of course, had been given names to suit their personalities and quirky natures. The Tweads took pleasure in the small passing moments that many are too busy to notice or enjoy. The couples' ability to relate chicken cliches to their own brood was delightful.

Photographs add to the reader's images of life in this small, hole-in-the wall village. Hoyo, after all, does mean hole in Spanish. Spanish recipes are an added bonus. If you are in the mood for an escape to a charm-filled village with an upbeat couple, Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools is the place to visit.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: monroe905 on March 06, 2012 :
What a delightful book! I must say I truly admire the couple who sold everything and moved to a run down house in a mountain village in Spain. The book is not a long winded telling of every detail, but rather the truly funny stories of every day life for them in a strange new world. I can't believe all the work they put into making their new home liveable. Now I have to find the next book in the series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Henny Jane Siefkes-Boer on March 06, 2012 : (no rating)
Just wonderful! Much more interesting than A Year in Province. Quirky, yet believable characters and situations. Plus a stash of yum recipes...
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kate Fitzpatrick on March 06, 2012 :
Delightful is not a word I use regularly, but I would certainly use it to describe this book! What a wonderful collection of adventures, mishaps and charming stories as the author her husband give life in rural Spain a try–their Five Year Plan. Stories of this kind can involve too much description, too much “telling” and not enough “showing” but Ms. Twead gets it absolutely right, sharing anecdotes that make you feel you’re simply having a conversation with her, laughing and enjoying her delightful (there's that word again!) tales of the village, her neighbors and friends. And of course the chickens. When I read this book, I felt I was right there in Spain with her. Highly recommended.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Ashley Eisen on March 05, 2012 :
I loved reading about the adventures of Victoria and her husband, Joe, in Spain. The stories were funny, and the people all very likeable. After reading this book I want to move to a small town in Spain too.

The recipes are a great bonus. I haven't tried any yet, but they look really good.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Eloise Homan on March 03, 2012 :
This was a fun read. Would be a perfect book to take on vacation. Makes you want to just pack your bags and go running off!!!! I love seeing the recipes...will even try a couple!! This book reminded me of "Under the Tuscan Sun" Just as enjoyable!! Thanks.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Virginia Hatfield on March 03, 2012 :
A charming story of a brave couple that moves from England to Spain. A quick, easy, humourous, enjoyable read that makes you want to pack your bags and head for unchartered territory of your own. Although I would suggest that you are a fan of chickens as most of this book involves chickens
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Carol Mix on March 02, 2012 :
This is a fun read and the recipes are wonderful. I actually intend on reading it again!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: cathy moore on Feb. 29, 2012 :
What a wonderful and funny book!! I, like others, have found myself literally laughing out loud at the antics of Vickie & Joe as they acclimate to a tiny Spanish village. Talk about culture shock! At times they must have wondered if they were even still on the same planet as England. The villagers are described so well that I can close my eyes and almost see what they truly look like, smell like and (sometimes) what will impossibly happen next. Loved it!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Paul McBride on Feb. 24, 2012 :
This is a delightful book about a British couple moving to Spain. It is professionally written, but not written by a professional, the difference being that it was believable and very entertaining. most everyone who has lived in a Northern location dreams of moving somewhere warm and sunny and this book details how it is a complicated, and confusing but ultimately rewarding decision.
I will definitely be reading the follow-up.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Shannon Walters on Feb. 10, 2012 :
Another reviewer said that she felt as though she were on vacation herself while reading this book, and I have to agree. Its the middle of a dreary winter here in New York and this is just what I needed! There are so many funny and endearing parts, I felt like I wanted to jump on a plane headed for Spain and experience this myself. The description of the people and surroundings was so well done I felt like I was watching a movie in my head. The chickens....well.....you have got to read the story and you will have a new appreciation for chicken owners! I cannot say enough, this is a wonderful story and I highly recommend it to anyone. Also of note, there are mouth-watering recipes included in the book that can help you authenicate your Andalucian experience!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: jonibc on Sep. 17, 2011 :
This book is warm and funny and the story is intriguing. I couldn't put it down!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Bob Thorogood on Aug. 27, 2011 :
This is an excellent account of life for ex pats in Spain, along the lines of 'Driving over lemons'

The only criticism I have is that the recipes at the end of each chapter were distracting (it isn't as if you could put the book down and go off to cook a meal so you have to remember where the recipe was - which is difficult on Kindle)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: cnbs38 on Aug. 16, 2011 :
Immersive!
Read the book and you are there in Spain enjoying the experience meeting the many characters, human and not so human with Vicky and Joe
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Claudia on July 24, 2011 :
I've always dreamed of moving to Spain, and this book lets me do that vicariously.

Victoria Twead has a warm, engaging style that makes me feel like I'm catching up with an old friend, who's telling me about her adventures over a drink or three. We get to hear about the house hunt, the renovations, the chickens -- who knew they had such personalities! -- and, of course, the neighbours. Plus there are more than two dozen recipes, so you can recreate the dishes to get some of the tastes and scents of the tiny village described so lovingly.

It's a lovely read from start to finish. Highly recommended!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: queenofsheba50 on July 05, 2011 :
Woohoo!!! This book is a hoot. Can't wait for next adventure.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Claire Jaffe on June 28, 2011 :
"two old fools"? I don't think so. Lovely book. Victoria must have had fun writing this one as her sense of humour shines through.
Bring on book two.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: ajvosse on May 30, 2011 :
I loved the book... thanks for a great read... you've got me thinking... olé Spain... viva the good life!! Keep writing... I'm looking forward to the sequal. You may just have inspired me to follow in your footsteps... to Spain!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: s austin on May 19, 2011 :
I throughly enjoyed reading this book...and yes you will laugh out loud! The characters were really brought to life and you could picture them in your head. I can't wait to read more.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Irene Davis on May 13, 2011 : (no rating)
This was a really good read and I now feel that if I met some of the characters in the street, I´d know them!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Raine on May 04, 2011 : (no rating)
This was so beautifully written, I loved the authors sense of humour and as she described events I really felt that I was there observing all that was happening! A very worthwhile read so if you enjoy a well written book with a good sense of humour and a lot of love as well, do read this book - it is awesome! Written by Raine, author of "And Rainedrops Fall Down My Cheeks"
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: david ashby on April 07, 2011 :
wow a great read 5 star just like my village cant wait for next book keep going victoria
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jarby on Nov. 15, 2010 :
I utterly adored this book! It made me laugh all the way through and I was only sorry when it finished. The author writes beautifully, and I felt as though we were sitting in the Spanish sunshine together as she was telling me all those hilarious stories. I already own the paperback version and now I have the Ebook version too.

The best thing is, I am now on Victoria's mailing list for her monthly newsletter (hilarious too!) and she is writing the sequel to 'Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools'. Can't wait!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Marie McCarthy on Aug. 07, 2010 :
The story is engaging and beautifully drawn in a very down-to-earth, refreshing style. This is exactly the kind of tale that captivates me and feeds my interest both in travel and cross cultural issues. I read it in one greedy gulp over two days and hated to see it end. The good news is that the author is planning a sequel!

The one thing I found a bit jarring was the insertion of recipes at the end of nearly every chapter. They were always something that had been eaten during the course of the story, but without a lead-in of any kind and my extreme lack of interest in cooking, I felt they unnecessarily interrupted the flow of the story. If the author had provided a bit of a backstory on her interest in cuisine, it would have made a better tie-in. Better still if the recipes were all put at the end of the book.

It would have been nice if there had been a book cover image at the beginning.

I give it 4.5 out of 5.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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