My name is Kathleen McCaul Moura. I am an English writer who settled in the Azores with my Brazilian husband about two years ago. We both work remotely and believe that to be surrounded by nature and by the sea is a wonderful and enormous privilege for both ourselves and our four children. It is interesting to see more and more people like us moving to not just São Miguel but to all the other islands too. At the same time, we find the locals we have met and the stories they tell us about their past and their culture fascinating and enchanting. One neighbour tells us her mother cooked all their food over an open fire and travelled by horse. Another friend happens to be descending directly from the founder Gonçales Cabral and still has his nautical maps. The family who live opposite our new house and who are helping us to paint have been in their own house for nearly four hundred years. We meet in the nearby poço sometimes and they like to see our children swimming. They tell us they were not allowed to go near the water when they were young. Inspired by this meeting of old and new residents, I began this writing project, Azores Old and New, interviewing newcomers to the island and also the old hands who have been here sometimes for centuries. Old and new are flexible definitions – it could of course mean the oldest resident but it could also mean someone from one of the oldest families on the island, or who lives in one of the oldest houses on the island, for example. New could mean the last person off the plane, a midwife who helps mother’s give birth to the new generation of the remoter islands or a farmer experimenting with new sustainable methods. I hope that these interviews feel as lively, original, as they felt to me when talking to the fascinating characters that live on this remote archipelago and create a lasting document of what it means to live in the Azores today – a new way of telling the story of the Azores to locals, Europe and the world. This project was sponsored by Cresaçor as part of their Mão em Mão programme. Newly arrived Moldovan photographer Vladimir Secrii took the original photos. I am very grateful to Lucia Arruda for her help with transcribing and translating the interviews which I conducted in Portuguese.

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