Tell us something about your background, travels, and experiences
I was born in Cornwall but my family came from Liverpool, where my dad worked with BBC Radio Merseyside. I played football for the school team when I was seven and began playing rugby at Newquay Hornets when I was seven. I played for the Cornwall Schools’ rugby and football teams and, at the age of 16, I signed for Plymouth Argyle Football Club.
I had trials with Exeter, Wolves and Hull but started playing semi-professional rugby when I left school for Penzance Newlyn. I played in Ireland for Gary Owen in Limerick and also had a spell as a junior professional with Manly in Australia and Asti in Milan.
Because the family was moving to Spain, I came to Valencia where I played for Les Abelles. I worked at Guru, one of Valencia’s premier nightspots where I managed the bars and I have been teaching English as a foreign language in the city. I also enjoyed working as a DJ around various venues.
What are you doing here at the moment and how do you find it to live?
As a city I love Valencia. It is clean and spacious and vibrant yet safe city. I would prefer to plan my future here but as times are so hard for everyone right now I might go to London to find some work from time to time although I am always open to good offers. I love the social side of life here where people seem to value their friends and family a lot more than they do elsewhere. I have a great social network but a very close friend has recently moved to live in London and I am missing her company.
I play football for St. Patrick’s, my local pub in Cánovas on the Gran Vía Marqués del Turia. It’s a great place to have a drink in and watch all the sporting events with friendly staff. St. Patrick’s has been a great way to meet fellow expats here in Valencia, and seriously a good way to meet the local English and Spanish-speaking professionals in the community. Many good friends have been made in that pub.
Could you tell our new readers about where you would recommend for chilling, partying and dining out in Valencia?
If I was to recommend things to do to newcomers to Valencia, the first is to go to the top of the Miguelete as soon as possible. When I arrived to Valencia, it took me forever to find my bearings and really feel comfortable with the geography of the city. I got lost pretty much everywhere I went. All the streets looked the same!!! Especially at night!!!
The Miguelete is the name of the bell tower for the main Cathedral in Valencia in Plaza de la Reina. Someone told me that you could go to the top and see the whole city 360 degrees round. My friend who knows Valencia very well came up to the top with me and pointed out all the important areas you need to know for going out to eat, drink and dance. These are El Carmen (the old town), Ruzafa (the new El Carmen), Blasco Ibáñez (the student area), down by the Port (dress-to-impress part of town) and Cánovas (expat land). Also you get a good idea about how to use the Turia riverbed as a benchmark of how to find your bearings. After that day I didn’t have any more problems about finding my way around town. It was a godsend.
In Valencia, you’re spoilt for choice of restaurants. A few I like are La Tierruca on C/ Salamanca, 42. It’s a family run restaurant which specializes in Cantabrian dishes. It’s really well-priced and has great staff who serve with a smile (very hard to find in Spain). There is a little gem called La Francesa del Carmen on C/ Sogueros, 5, which is a little bit more difficult to find but well worth the trip. It is a small, intimate place where the chef and waiter are husband and wife, and has tasty food, great atmosphere and brilliant service. This is a bit more expensive but still with not break the bank (less than 30 Euros per head, including wine) and really nice to take your partner for a romantic meal.
Pincho y Corto is a nice cheap restaurant in Ruzafa on C/ Doctor Serrano, 19 and, last but not least, if you’re a meat lover, go to Aquí Teruel in C/ Ruzafa, 7. Not the best atmosphere in the world and it is a bit pricey, but that’s where I go to get my meat fix every few months, it’s SO good!!
A nice place to have a drink in El Carmen is called Los Picapiedra, which translates into Flintstones. They serve the booze in an individual way…if I remember rightly, they sell cider, calimocho (red wine and Coke) and beer in giant jugs designed to drink from so you don’t need to worry about glasses, really good to kick-start a night and all on a nice budget.
Every Thursday, I will be DJing in Club47 in C/ Quart in El Carmen, where I will be playing different types of classic old and new tunes depending on the people there. So if you’re out and about on a Thursday, please pop by and say hello. Maybe we can have a shot together and I can put on one of your top tunes to make you move your dancing feet!
What outdoor pursuits would you recommend for those new to Valencia? (Trekking, etc…)
If you fancy a day out, I would definitely recommend Montanejos. It’s about an hour outside Valencia and has a great, five-hour nature trail you can walk with lots of stops, where you can walk with lots of stops, where you can have a nice refreshing swim, a must do if you like the great outdoors.
Interview by Owl