Obituary – Christine ‘Tina’ Davin­Smith

born Llywnypia, Wales 1949, died Arroyo de la Miel, Malaga, Spain 2015

It is with great sadness that we inform everyone about the untimely death of Tina Davin­Smith, a well known, and much loved face around the Manilva­Casares costa. Diagnosed with cancer in January this year, Tina had to give up her job at The Bookshop, Sabinillas, where she had loved working for the last 10 years. Tina lived and breathed books, and like most of us, came with her own fascinating story.


Born Christine Mathias in Llwynypia, Wales in 1949, she grew up one of five brothers and sisters. Her mother, who still lives in Wales, frequently rented rooms to the many visiting actors, orators and political activists who visited the valleys and coal fields during the time. She told once of a time, where as a very young girl, she sat on Paul Robeson’s knee at the family table, eating bread and jam, and being mesmerised by this ‘enchanting, deep voiced, fiery black man’.

It no doubt set Tina out on her discovery of all things to do with theatre, drama, literature and the arts.

The family eventually moved to Cardiff, where her parents ran several pubs ­ something that she would emulate with her husband, John, later on in Spain. It was in Cardiff that her rebellious nature developed, and although she did well at school, and was training to be a teacher at Cyncoed Teacher Training College (fellow students included Gareth Edwards, JJ Williams and Lynn Davies) a brighter life beckoned and as soon as she was able to she ran away to Tenby in West Wales, to join the growing number of ‘hippies’ and young people who were escaping the ‘rat race’ so defined by Derek Tangye’s ‘Minack’. It was the summer of love, and she did exactly that and fell in love.

She married John in 1968, and they had just one son, Justin, a year later. Tenby was a beautiful place to bring up a family, and the next few years were very happy. However, the pull of her family in Cardiff was strong, and increasing tension between her and John, saw her return to Cardiff. With a new sense of freedom she took a job in the Welsh Office, where she met her good friend, the poet Sheenagh Pugh. Encouraged to write herself she joined writing and drama groups, and became involved in left­wing and feminist politics. She also discovered her talent for cartoons, and created very funny (and very rude) cartoons for the local paper.

Eventually, she and John got back together when he took a job as a catering manager in Cardiff. Lessons learned they decided to give it another go and stayed together until John’s death in 2004. With a newfound sense of purpose and empowerment she enrolled at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, and once again set out on becoming a teacher, but this time of Drama. It was not to be. Her first teaching practice placement was a disaster “Get that chair of your head!” “But, I’m a Dalek, miss!” “Get that [deleted expletive] chair off your [deleted expletive] head!” They didn’t invite her back. She instead joined Chapter Arts, and was an active member of the theatre company, Moving Being, as well as being prominent within the local arts scene in Cardiff.

She and John had rekindled their love for each other and had a good life in Cardiff for a great many years. Justin eventually left home and started art school, and they decided to ‘give it a go’ in another part of the world. In 1988 John found a job in Gibraltar, and Tina soon followed him to set up a life in Spain. They are probably best known for opening and running ‘The Penguin’ in Puerto Duquesa. If you remember those times, then you were never really there. The curried meatballs were famous for miles around.

John passed away suddenly after a very short illness in 2004. Tina was bereft. She never fully recovered her loss of her life partner and soulmate. She could have retreated and given up, but she forged herself a new life, and surrounded herself with the things she truly loved, books. She worked with Alma in the bookshop in Sabinillas, until it was bought by Stephen Davies in 2011.

He immediately realised what an asset Tina was for the shop, and kept her on as ‘chief librarian’. She was very happy in this role, and at home she immersed herself in books. She once said that she had three loves in her life ­ books, her son and her daughter­in­law, Sonia ­ not necessarily in that order. She also learned Spanish, was a translator, and volunteered at the Costa del Sol hospital.

It was a terrible shock in January this year to discover that she had lung cancer. She immediately blamed ‘all those smokey, dark jazz clubs in the 70s’. She passed away on 14th August, 2015 in the Cudeca hospice in Arroyo de la Miel, Benalmadena.

The family would like to thank all her friends, colleagues and the community at large for giving her such support and friendship throughout the years.

Her funeral took place in Manilva Crematorium at midday on the 19th August, 2015.

Vuelta España cycle race to pass through Sabinillas again this year

Vuelta in Sabinillas

Once again Estepona will become the focus of the cycling world when the 4th stage of this years Vuelta España departs from Estepona around 12.30 pm on Tuesday 25 August bound for Vejer de la Frontera.

The riders will pass through Sabinillas at around 12.45 pm reaching Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro at around 12.55. Expect serious traffic disruption around the time the peloton and all the support vehicles, police, etc., pass through.

This year’s Vuelta begins in Puerto Banus, Marbella on Saturday 22, with the riders crossing the finishing line in Madrid, 21 stages later on Sunday 13 September.

Some of the world’s top riders will be competing including this year’s Tour de France winner Chriss Froome.

Vuelta route

Vuelta itinerary

Vendimia de Manilva – Grape Festival

Vendimia grape treading

Every year, on the first weekend in September, Manilva celebrates its annual grape harvest. This festival was founded in the early ’60s and has become an important part of the local calendar, drawing in visitors from all across the region.

Friday September 4

Flamenco aficionados can enjoy and evening of music and song with some of the best flamenco singers and musicians with the traditional annual Flamenco Festival kicking off Manilva’s Vendimia celebrations.

The Festival will be held at the Pablo Picasso School from 10 pm and is presented by Manilva’s Flamenco association in collaboration with Manilva Town Hall’s Cultural Department.

Saturday September 5

Activities begin on Saturday morning with the competition at the Manilva Wine Centre to find the best bunch of grapes. At seven in the afternoon there is a Holy Mass after which the Virgin will be borne through the streets accompanied by the Manilva Town Band to the Plaza where she will receive an offering of grapes. After the offering the winners of the best bunch of grapes will receive their prizes.
Finally there will be an evening of live music and dancing with the band ‘Latidos’.

Sunday September 6

Sunday is the big day with the party starting at 1 pm with live music from the bands ‘Latidos’ and ‘Malakai’. During the afternoon there will be plenty of opportunity to sample the local wine.
At 4 pm there will be a performance by the band ‘Mala Manera’.
At 5 pm the local riding club will parade along Calle Mar-
At 7 pm there will be the ceremonial first treading of the grapes, after which the party continues into the early hours of the morning.

Public Holiday

Monday September 7 is a public holiday in Manilva.

You can find some images of a previous Vendimia here: Manilva Vendimia 2013

Manilva’s Vineyards

Along with the Axarquia and the Montes de Malaga areas, Manilva is an important centre for the production of the Moscatel grape which, when dried on the local hillsides, provides the world famous ‘Pasas de Malaga’, the Malaga raisin, as well as a range of wines from dry to the sweet ‘Malaga’ wine.

There have been vineyards in Manilva since the 16th Century but the industry enjoyed its heyday during the 17th and 18th centuries when Manilva was a major producer of wines and brandies.

Unfortunately the local vineyards saw a decline during the 19th century which culminated in the destruction of the vines by the Phylloxera epidemic which decimated vineyards throughout Europe in the 1860s.

It wasn’t until after the Spanish Civil War that Manilva took up grape growing as an important economic activity centred on the sweet Moscatel grape which is ideally suited to Manilva’s climate, situation and soil type.


Sabi Street Party 2015

This year’s Sabi Street Party will be held on Saturday 22 August and is raising funds for the Kunkajang Nursery School, Knombo North, The Gambia on behalf of The Nyland Charitable Foundation with the support of the Duquesa Charitable Society of St George and the Manilva Foreign Residents Department.

Starting at 6 pm in the Plaza Los Naranjos, Punta Almina, Sabinillas, there will be a packed programme of live entertainment including a performance from members of the local handicapped charity Luisana.

There will be craft stalls, raffle, bouncy castle, face painting, etc., and food and drinks will be available in the bars adjoining the square: Casa Juan, La Barca, Toni’s, O’Callaghans, Cathy’s Clown, and Graingers.

For more information, to donate, or to book a stall please contact on of the event organisers: David Harmston on 603 524 795 or Angela Welch on 693 731 478.

Sabinillas Street Party


Estepona hosts II World Ham Contest

Estepona’s Paseo Maritimo will once again be the centre of the world of ham from 12 to 16 August when the II World ‘Jamon’ Contest returns to the town, giving visitors the opportunity to taste the best Jamon and Iberian pork products.

Thousand visitors daily are expected to visit the 69 businesses exhibiting over the five-day event, up from last year’s 55, and which also provides an opportunity for local shops, bars, and restaurants to obtain some of the best products at wholesale prices.

The event also gives the public a chance to sample the best products from across the country at just 5 euros a plate which is organised by the Town Hall in collaboration with professional ham cutter José María Téllez ‘Popi’.

The event will be located on the town’s promenade between Avenida Juan Carlos I and the Port and will be open from 8 pm to 2 am each day.

Jamon certamen Estepona

Casares Espileta Sound Festival 2015

Flaming DollsFlaming Dolls

This year’s Casares Espileta Sound Festival celebrates its third edition with the final selection of bands fighting it out on the Friday and Saturday, 14 and 15 August.

Along with guest performers, the final ten bands which have been selected from the hundreds of demos submitted are:

Friday, 14 August
10.30 pm – Rockids
11 pm – Skill Leaders
Midnight – Celda
1 am – Canteca de Macao
3 am – La Ganga Calé
4 am – Error 6

Saturday, 15 August
11 pm – Musselman
Midnight – Flaming Dolls
1 am – Papawanda
2 am – Jambalayaband
3 am – Noiah
4 am – Futu Matano

They will each perform a set after which the winner will be announced.

Casares Espileta Sound Festival 2015