My experiences of living as a seasoned immigrant in Cordova (Andalusia): humour, culture, history, illustrated. Also includes poetry, quotes, thoughts, and nature.
Hello! I was born in London but moved to Cordova (inland Andalusia) thirty-two years ago. Although I qualified as a geologist, I had to retrain, and I now teach English and work as a freelance translator, writer and artist (sort of!).
I have written and published two books: Edward’s Secret and the Enchanted Throne for young teens, available from Amazon, and also 'An English Lady in Cordova - the Alternative Guide' which tells of my experiences (both humorous and harrowing) of living in Cordoba and later on, in the countryside location of Posadas. I describe the culture, history, geography and emblematic sites of Cordova, Posadas, the neighbouring villages and local Sierra — (hence the ‘alternative guide’ bit!)
My blogs talk about my experiences here, my day-to-day life, and also include poetry, quotes, literature, art, photos, nature, and thoughts and reflections. (In other words, it’s a bit of a pot pourri, but unfortunately, I still haven’t learnt how to house these categories into the different pages that appear in the menu!)
I do hope you enjoy reading my blogs, and I welcome your comments and questions, as I love to interact with people.
Thank you for visiting — bye for now!
Solo un blog corto para deciros: si queréis conocer algunos de los mejores sitios para comer en Madrid y otros lugares de España, podéis echar un vistazo a este blog de Gema María Delgado Herrero (Cordobesa, viviendo en Madrid). Ella escribe los posts junto con su marido, Víctor Amezcua Pérez (también de Córdoba). Los posts (que son muy populares y seguidos por mucha gente) son muy bien escritos e ilustrados, además de tener artículos interesantes.
Just a short blog in case you’re hanging out in Madrid, or other Spanish cities looking for a great place to eat — you can check out some of the best restaurants recommended by Gema Maria Delgado Herrero and her husband, Víctor Amezcua Pérez, who have excellent webpage and Instagram posts, beautifully illustrated, well-written and accompanied by interesting articles. The are very popular and followed by many people. Check out the three links above (the ifoodie webpage; Gema’s instagram, and her interview).
This is a short blog today, as I’m very pressed for time due to my translation work, so there will be mainly photos.
The shots are of women and young girls making lace and were taken at a gathering in the village of Cerro Muriano (north of Cordoba, Andalusia). I am also in their group, but as yet am not brave enough to take on this skill! They are fantastic and their work is stunning! I think the photos speak for themselves…
I say ‘they are fantastic’ because lace-making is just one of the numerous skills these ladies possess: they are also brilliant in all sorts of needlework, art and crafts, such as basket weaving and macrame, as well as being number one cooks, working in the fields, or in restaurants, bars, shops, hospitals, offices, industry, or running businesses while tending to their families, caring for elderly parents and grandchildren, looking after their homes with pride, beautifying their patios with a whole host of plants, and cleaning their streets etc., etc., etc. They have lived through very hard times, especially after the civil war and during Franco’s dictatorship when Spain was in economic crisis and food was scarce, and the large majority of the population was nursing physical, emotional and psychological wounds.
I certainly take my hat off to them!
Well that’s all for now. Thank you for visiting! Take care xxx
The link comes from Our Catholic Prayers website (first established in 2006 by Christopher Castagnoli, the author of the material and a lay volunteer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City).
It is a beautiful site that I discovered some time back, and it has a great wealth of prayers: prayers for all moments and occasions, reflections, daily readings, meditations, novenas, litanies, as well as podcasts and valuable links, blogs and a prayer request page too. I think there is something for everyone in this very rich site.
“Later, when Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in turn began to write the Gospels, the Blessed Virgin not only prayed for them, but also appeared to each and requested him not to mention her except when absolutely necessary (emphasis added). Only St. Luke received her permission to write somewhat more freely about her, and he drew much of his information from her direct inspiration. Even when St. John wrote his Gospel some years after Mary’s death, she appeared to him and told him that it was still not opportune for him to reveal the mysteries which he knew concerning her part in the plan of the Redemption, in order that many of the new Christians who had been idolaters should not make a goddess of the Holy Mother of their God (emphasis added).”…
“She also prayed regularly with the Apostles and disciples and gave them helpful instruction on mental prayer. Gradually they all realized that their departed Master had left them an ideal guide in His modest and holy Mother, and more and more they came to look upon Mary as their Mediatrix with Him and as the Consoler and Mother of His spiritual family, the Church.»
The page finishes with Mary’s assumption into heaven, when she pronounces:
«My Son and my Lord, Thou didst suffer death without being obliged to do so. It is proper therefore that as I have tried to follow Thee in life, so I follow Thee also in death» before she finally uttered AS SHE DIED OF LOVE, “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”
This is just part of the article written on The Hidden Mary — and I strongly recommend theOur Catholic Prayers websitefor true nourishment of the soul.
But before I go, I just wanted to include the hymn we used to sing at school and church in England during May. It’s calledBring flowers of the Rarest.(I also remember dear old Sister Carmela who used to nod off during our history class as she steadily munched her way through her McVitie’s digestives!).
Thank you for visiting. As usual, your comments are always welcome!
In my last blog I wrote about one of my favourite flowers that I have been able to enjoy during my stay here in London — the beautiful and delicate forget-me-not. However, there is also another one of my favourites that is just beginning to unfurl its tiny head from amongst its enveloping green leaves — and that is the lily-of-the-valley.
En mi último blog escribí sobre una de mis flores favoritas, que he podido disfrutar durante mi estancia aquí en Londres — el hermoso y delicado nomeolvides. Sin embargo, también hay otro de mis favoritos que está empezando a asomar su pequeña cabeza entre sus envolventes hojas verdes, y ese es el lirio del valle.
Below are a couple of photos that I took (using my Samsung again, so please be patient with my photography!).
A continuación hay un par de fotos que tomé (usando mi Samsung de nuevo, así que ¡por favor sea paciente con mi fotografía!).
And here is a lovely poem about the lily of the valley. It was written by the sisters, Jane and Ann Taylor. (The former Taylor also wrote ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star…’).
Y aquí hay un bonito poema sobre el lirio del valle. Fue escrito por las hermanas, Jane y Ann Taylor. (Ann escribió también ¿Estrellita Dónde Estás?)
THE LILY OF THE VALLEY
Come, my love, and do not spurn
From a little flower to learn.
See the lily on the bed
Hanging down its modest head;
While it scarcely can be seen,
Folded in its leaf of green.
Yet we love the lily well
For its sweet and pleasant smell
And would rather call it ours,
Than full many gayer flowers.
Pretty lilies seem to be
Emblems of humility.
Come my love, and do not spurn
From a little flower to learn.
Let your temper be as sweet
As the lily at your feet;
Be as gentle, be as mild,
Be a modest, simple child.
EL LIRIO DEL VALLE
Ven, mi amor, y no te desprecies
De una pequeña flor, para aprender.
Mira el lirio en el arriate,
Inclinando su modesta cabeza;
Aunque apenas se la puede ver,
Doblado en su hoja de verde…
Sin embargo, nos encanta el lirio bien
Por su olor dulce y agradable
Y preferiría llamarlo nuestro,
Que por completo muchas flores más alegres.
Los lirios bonitos parecen ser
Emblemas de la humildad.
Ven mi amor, y no te desprecies
De una pequeña flor para aprender.
Deja que tu temperamento sea tan dulce
Como el lirio a tus pies;
Sé tan gentil, sé tan suave,
Sé un niño modesto y sencillo.
(Bueno, no es exactamente lo mismo en español porque no tiene la misma rima…)
Sadly, Jane Taylor died on 13 April 1824 of breast cancer at the age of 40 — her mind was still «teeming with unfulfilled projects».
Arriba, las dos hermanas, Jane y Ann Taylor. Desgraciadamente, Jane murió el 13 de abril de 1824 de cáncer de mama a la edad de 40 años — su mente todavía estaba «llena de proyectos no cumplidos».
Although the lily of the valley is a tiny little flower there is a lot to learn from it. The poem showcases humility and teaches us that we should learn to be humble like a lily. The head of the flower hangs modestly and is covered by the surrounding green, not much is seen. It is loved by all.
Aunque el lirio del valle es una pequeña flor, hay mucho que aprender de él. El poema muestra humildad y nos enseña que debemos aprender a ser humildes como un lirio. La cabeza de la flor cuelga modestamente y está cubierta por el verde circundante, no se ve mucho. Es amado por todos.
I just wanted to share with you a couple of photos of one of my favourite flowers — the humble but very beautiful forget-me-not. I am lucky that their flowering has coincided with my stay here in England, as is the case too of other of my favourites, such as the bluebells, lily-of-the-valley, and cherry and apple blossoms. The daffodils have finished now, but they also put on a fine show for me!
Quería simplemente compartir con vosotros un par de fotos de una de mis flores favoritas – la humilde pero muy hermosa nomeolvides. Tengo la suerte de que su floración haya coincidido con mi estancia aquí en Inglaterra, y con otros de mis favoritos, como las campanillas, el lirio del valle y las flores de cerezo y manzana: los narcisos ya han terminado, ¡pero también pusieron un buen espectáculo para mí!
Please excuse my poor Samsung photography: I never plan on taking photos, they somehow just happen, and they are a poor comparison to the stunning photography of others, such as Vova Zinger’s photo blog
Por favor, disculpe mi pobre fotografía (usando mi Samsung), es que nunca planeo tomar fotos, pero de alguna manera u otra, sucede. Son una mala comparación con la impresionante fotografía de otras personas, como deVova Zinger y su blog de fotos
Anyway, the flowers of the forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) are easy to press. I used to press them and then use them in making pictures or greeting cards and bookmarks… (hmmm… that’s a good idea for my online Etsy shop which is looking quite sparse right now…). However, in retrospect, I don’t think I want to dice with trying to smuggle hand-picked forget-me-nots past the border police in the airport, as this would be illegal.
Las flores de las Nomeolvides (Myosotis sylvatica) son fáciles de prensar. Yo solía prensarlos y luego utilizarlos en dibujos, tarjetas de felicitación y marcadores… (hmmm… eso es una buena idea para mi tienda online Etsy shop que se ve bastante escasa en este momento…). Sin embargo, en retrospectiva, no creo que quiero pasar como contrabando con mis Nomeolvides delante de la policía fronteriza en el aeropuerto, ya que esto sería ilegal.
Well, apart from being beautiful in all their powder-blue and delicate yellow simplicity, they also have an interesting symbology, representing true love and respect. When you give someone these tiny blooms, it represents a promise that you will always remember them and will keep them in your thoughts. They are also considered a symbol of fidelity and faithfulness (but I’m not too bothered about this last one!)
Además de ser hermosas vestidas en azul bebé y amarillo delicado, las Nomeolvides también tienen una interesante simbología: representan el verdadero amor y respeto. Cuando le das a alguien estas pequeñas flores, significa que siempre le recordarás y le mantendrás en tus pensamientos. También son considerados un símbolo de fidelidad y lealtad (¡pero no estoy demasiado preocupado por este último!)
Additionally, they symbolise different things in various countries, such as:
In Newfoundland, they represent those who fell in World War I.
In Armenia, it’s a symbol for the Armenian Genocide Centennial.
It’s the symbol for International Missing Children’s Day.
The Alzheimer’s Society uses forget-me-nots as a symbol for memory loss and to raise awareness for the disease.
Also, please see the above site for some decent photography of forget-me-nots, such as the following photo which I have borrowed from them (I suppose that’s alright as I am advertising their site at the same time?!):
También, vea por favor el sitio antedicho para una fotografía decente de la Nomeolvides, tal como la foto siguiente que he tomado prestada del mismo artículo (supongo que está bien copiarlo, pues estoy anunciando su sitio al mismo tiempo?!):
But I wouldn’t like to go without finishing with a poem:
Pero no me gustaría ir sin terminar con un poema:
The Forget-Me-Not Fairy — Cicely Mary Barker
Where do fairy babies lie Till they’re old enough to fly? Here’s a likely place, I think, ’Mid these flowers, blue and pink, (Pink for girls and blue for boys: Pretty things for babies’ toys!) Let us peep now, gently. Why, Fairy baby, here you lie!
Kicking there, with no one by, Baby dear, how good you lie! All alone, but O, you’re not— You could never be—forgot! O how glad I am I’ve found you, With Forget-me-nots around you, Blue, the colour of the sky! Fairy baby, Hushaby!
El hada de la Nomeolivedes- Cicely Mary Barker
Hada bebé, Hushaby!
¿Dónde están los bebés de hadas
¿Hasta que tengan edad para volar?
Aquí hay un lugar probable, creo,
En medio de estas flores, azules y rosas,
(Rosa para niñas y azul para niños:
¡Cosas bonitas para juguetes de bebés! )
Echemos un vistazo ahora, suavemente. ¿Por qué,
¡Hada bebé, aquí duermes!
Pateando allí, sin nadie,
Cariño, ¡qué bien duermes!
Solo, pero O, no estás
¡Nunca se te olvidará!
¡Qué contento estoy de haberte encontrado,
Con Nomeolvides a tu alrededor,
¡Azul, el color del cielo!
Hada bebé, Hushaby!
The above picture and poem are taken from Flower Fairies(which everyone should have!) by Cicely Mary Barker (28 June 1895 – 16 February 1973).
La imagen y el poema anteriores están cogidos del libro Flower Fairies — Hadas de las Flores (que todos deberían tener) de Cicely Mary Barker (28 de junio de 1895 – 16 de febrero de 1973).
Cicely Mary Barker was an English illustrator best known for a series of fantasy illustrations depicting fairies and flowers. She was a devout Anglican and donated her artworks to Christian fundraisers and missionary organisations; she also wrote and illustrated many religious books, such as The Children’s Book of Hymns (1929), He Leadeth Me (1933), The Feeding of the Five Thousand (1929), The Parable of the Great Supper (1934) and many more. For more on this fascinating, extremely talented and inspirational lady, see on this link.
Cicely Mary Barker fue una ilustradora inglesa conocida por una serie de ilustraciones de fantasía que representan hadas y flores. Fue una anglicana devota y donó sus obras de arte a recaudadores de fondos cristianos y organizaciones misioneras; también escribió e ilustró muchos libros religiosos, como El libro de himnos para niños (1929), Me dirige (1933), Laalimentación de los cinco mil (1929), La parábola de la Gran Cena (1934) y muchos más. Para más información sobre esta fascinante, extremadamente talentosa e inspiradora dama, ver en este enlace.
Thank you for reading! As usual, your comments are always welcome, I love to hear from you.
Bye for now — take care xxx
¡Gracias por leerme! Como siempre, tus comentarios son siempre bienvenidos, me encanta hablar con vosotros.
Hello all! I do hope you’re keeping well, especially in these troubled times.
Having now entered Easter Week, I just wanted to share this moving prayer with you, the StabatMater Dolorosa (The Sorrowful Mother was Standing). It tells the story of the Virgin Mary’s suffering at Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.
It is unknown who wrote this 13th century hymn, but many have thought it could be the work of Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III. It was translated into English by 19th century Anglican clergyman and hymn writer Edward Caswall.
STABAT MATER DOLOROSA
At the Cross her station keeping Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her Heart, His sorrow sharing, All His bitter anguish bearing, Lo! the piercing sword had passed.
O how sad and sore distressed Was that Mother, highly blessed, Of the Sole-Begotten One.
Mournful, with Heart’s prostration, Mother meek, the bitter Passion Saw She of Her glorious Son.
Who on Christ’s dear Mother gazing, In Her trouble so amazing, Born of woman, would not weep?
Who on Christ’s dear Mother thinking, Such a cup of sorrow drinking, Would not share Her sorrow deep?
For His people’s sins rejected, Saw Her Jesus unprotected. Saw with thorns, with scourges rent.
Saw Her Son from judgement taken, Her Beloved in death forsaken, Till His Spirit forth He sent.
Fount of love and holy sorrow, Mother, may my spirit borrow Somewhat of your woe profound.
Unto Christ with pure emotion, Raise my contrite heart’s devotion, To read love in every wound.
Those Five Wounds on Jesus smitten, Mother! in my heart be written, Deep as in your own they be.
You, your Saviour’s Cross did bare, You, your Son’s rebuke did share. Let me share them both with Thee.
In the Passion of my Maker, Be my sinful soul partaker, Weep ‘til death and weep with you.
Mine with you be that sad station, There to watch the great salvation, Wrought upon the atoning Tree.
Virgin, you of virgins fairest, May the bitter woe Thou bearest Make on me impression deep.
Thus Christ’s dying may I carry, With Him in His Passion tarry, And His Wounds in memory keep.
May His Wound both wound and heal me, He enkindle, cleanse, strengthen me, By His Cross my hope and stay.
May He, when the mountains quiver, From that flame which burns forever, Shield me on the Judgement Day.
Jesus, may Your Cross defend me, And Your Mother’s prayer befriend me; Let me die in Your embrace.
When to dust my dust returns, Grant a soul, that to You yearns, In Your paradise a place.
Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a good Easter Week.
As it is Lent, I just wanted to share with you this painting I did a while ago on recycled wood. I used oil paints and have recently varnished it with a 50:50 % turps and linseed oil mix.
I copied William Holman Hunt’s original, entitledThe Light of the World. It depicts Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, and echoes the passage from Revelation 3:20: «Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me».
Notice that the door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside, representing «the obstinately shut mind”.
And here is the man himself:
Hunt was an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His paintings were notable for their great attention to detail, vivid colour, and elaborate symbolism.
Well, To end this blog, I’m including a special prayer for Lent, for those who might be observing this special season of prayer, meditation, reflection, charity, fasting and abstinence, confession and the general preparation of the body, mind and spirit for conversion at Easter.
God, heavenly Father, look upon me and hear my prayer during this holy Season of Lent. By the good works You inspire, help me to discipline my body and to be renewed in spirit.
Without You I can do nothing. By Your Spirit help me to know what is right and to be eager in doing Your will. Teach me to find new life through penance. Keep me from sin, and help me live by Your commandment of love. God of love, bring me back to You. Send Your Spirit to make me strong in faith and active in good works. May my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness, open my heart to Your love, and prepare me for the coming feast of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of life and make me one with You in love and prayer.
Fill my heart with Your love and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ. Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.
Father, our source of life, I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand; let me walk more readily in Your ways. Guide me in Your gentle mercy, for left to myself I cannot do Your Will.
Father of love, source of all blessings, help me to pass from my old life of sin to the new life of grace. Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.
I just wanted to share with you a photo of the first blossom to open on my pear tree (here in my country abode near Posadas village in the province of Cordova).
But how could I not include a poem about a pear tree? So here it is:
The Pear Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay
In this squalid, dirty dooryard,
Where the chickens scratch and run,
White, incredible, the pear tree
Stands apart and takes the sun,
Mindful of the eyes upon it,
Vain of its new holiness,
Like the waste-man’s little daughter
In her first communion dress.
And here is the lady herself:
‘Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American lyrical poet and playwright. Encouraged to read the classics at home, she was too rebellious to make a success of formal education, but she won poetry prizes from an early age, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1923, and went on to use verse as a medium for her feminist activism.’ (Wiki)