Cats, thirst, Cocteau and Rumi — and all from Posadas (Cordova)!

THIRST!

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” — Jean Cocteau (France 5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963)

Cocteau was a French poet, playwright, novelist, designer, filmmaker, visual artist and critic. He was the director of Orpheus; other works include Les Enfants Terribles and Beauty and the Beast film.

To read more about this fascinating man, his literary and art work, involvement with ballet and his association with notables such as Proust, Picasso, Modigliani, and Satie etc. see here

Jean Cocteau b Meurisse 1923.jpg
Jean Cocteau (wiki)

But on a more philosophical note and carrying on along the same lines as one of my previous blogs, here is quote from Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 – 1273) about THIRST:

Not only do the thirsty seek water,
The water too thirsts for the thirsty.

Food for thought and reflection! (Bearing the author in mind, think along the lines that the soul thirsts to be one with God, and vice versa, with ultimately the two becoming one).

So on this note I shall leave you. Thank you for visiting!

Bye for now — take care! xxx

¡Olé! How artistic Posadas village is!

What an artistic village Posadas is! As I have mentioned before in my earlier blogs, there is a lot of art and craftwork, needlework, basket weaving, lace-making and crochet going on here (among other creative activities that I might have forgotten to mention). Some of the artwork, can be seen here; and earlier crochet projects (not including the Christmas work because it is out of season), here. Oh — for my crochet and lace-making classes to start once again!

However, in the photo below you can see the most recent example of the group’s crochet work: it is a large cross honouring Our Lady and Her month of May. In fact you can find many crosses that are on display for several days decorating the plazas, streets and shop windows all over Cordova; they are made up of a myriad of sweet-smelling flowers.

I remember often singing Bring flowers of the rarest hymn when I was living in England, since both my primary and secondary schools were catholic. (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!).

Anyway, I have included the hymn below, for old times’ sake. I wonder how many of you remember it…

Happy month of May to all of you, even if it coming to a close!

Take care — bye for now! xxx

The curry plant in Posadas and the theoretical physicist Einstein (?!)

Good morning all!

I left early for my morning walk the other day because the sun’s already quite piquant and temperatures were forecasted to rise to 35° C = 95° F — yippee and yikes!

I came across lots of curry plant that’s in full flower, and yes, it certainly does smell of curry, and no, I don’t use it in my cooking, although I should really, and below you’ll see why.

The proper name for this plant is Helichrysum italicum (which I had to copy and paste because I didn’t trust myself with correctly reproducing these words if physically written out).

Well, after I did some research into this plant I realised just how rich it is in beneficial properties and below are just some of them:

According to the UIC Heritage Garden ‘The curry plant is well-known for the oil extracted from its flowers. The oil has medicinal properties that can heal burned skin or chapped lips. It serves as an anti-inflammatory and fungicidal astringent for skin’.

Additionally, it is used as an anticoagulant, can reduce the risk of heart attacks, dissolve blood clots and can be used to treat coughing and fever. The oil also reduces anxiety and stress; it helps fade scars, heal cuts or wounds and can be used as a moisturizer.

As far as food is concerned, the plant’s young shoots and leaves are used in Mediterranean dishes for salads and to give meat, fish, or vegetable flavour, the flowers for herbal tea and the oil used as flavouring in ice creams, sweets, drinks, baked food, chewing gum etc.

So the conclusion is… I guess I’ll be using this plant after all!

I’d just like to end with this quote from the theoretical physicist Einstein (taken from a long list of his many very interesting quotes). Though, ‘What has Einstein got to do with the curry plant?’ I hear you ask. Well, as far as I know — nothing! It’s just that I was doing Einstein in my English conversation class the other day, and we were reading some of his quotes. So here it is:

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Albert Einstein (Born: 14 March 1879 Wurttemberg, German Empire — died: 18 April 1955, aged 76, New Jersey U.S.)

Einstein in 1921 (Wiki)

Bye for now — take care! xxx

Yet another gorgeous sunset in the skies above Posadas (Cordova) and Jelaluddin Rumi

Hello all!

Yes, I know I should be busy translating and not get distracted by my blog, but I just couldn’t resist putting in this quick one of yesterday’s gorgeous sunset. (Thanks to my daughter’s phone the photos have come out quite well this time — haha!)

The photos remind me of one of the esoteric quotes of Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī, the greatest Sufi mystic and poet in the Persian language:

“Only from the heart you can touch the sky.”

Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī, born c. September 30, 1207 Balkh (now in Afghanistan) — died December 17, 1273, Konya (now in Turkey)

Thanks for visiting!

Take care — bye for now xxx

Early heat!

Yep — it’s already 35° C here in Posadas (Cordova) and some of us are already feeling the heat!

 “How we behave toward cats here below determines our status in heaven.” — Robert A. Heinlein US (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988)

 Robert A. Heinlein was an American science fiction author, aeronautical engineer and naval officer. Known as the ‘dean of science fiction writers’, he, together with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the “Big Three” of English-language science fiction authors.

He obviously had a higher understanding of cats too!

Take care — bye for now! xxx

Sardines for lunch again! (Well, at 4.95 €/kilo you can’t complain, can you?)

Hello all!

Just a very brief blog. Brief? You may already know the reason why

Anyway, the title explains the contents, so there’s no need for words. I just couldn’t resist it.

The cats enjoyed them as much as we did — that is, when Dingo let them come down from the tree!

Take care — bye for now xxx

Busy translating!

Hello all!

Just a couple of lines to explain and excuse myself from my lack of blog activity over the last few weeks — I am very busy translating a book from Spanish to English, so at the end of the day my eyes are quite tired and my body a bit cramped and I find it rather strenuous to then continue writing more. Instead, I try to do some physical work to compensate: I either go for a walk, or attack the ever-flourishing weeds in my vegetable patch.

However, I do continue to read your blogs, even if a little late! So please bear with me (might be for quite a while) …

To finish with, here’s a photo: Sunday was Mother’s Day here in Spain, so here’s my booty! And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers and grandmothers, even if you’re not in Spain!

Carnations, earrings and lipstick (there’s nothing like an out of focus photo!)

Bye for now — take care! xxx

The poppies are out and about here in the countryside of Posadas (Cordova)

“…But pleasures are like poppies spread,

You seize the flower, it’s bloom is shed;

Or, like the snow-fall in the river,

A moment white, then melts forever;”

~ Robert Burns

The above quote is taken from Robert Burns‘ epic poem Tam o’ Shanter (7th stanza). ‘It is a wonderful poem in which Burns paints a vivid picture of the drinking classes in the old Scotch town of Ayr in the late 18th century.’

These very descriptive lines of Burns are flavoured with evocativeness, poignancy, wistfulness, doom, fright, macabre, warning and even a slight sense of humour — they are definitely worth a read!

A little bit about the man: Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire in Scotland on the 25th of January, 1759.  He was also known as Rabbie Burns (as well as other names such as the Bard of Ayrshire). He was a Scottish poet, (belonging to the Romantic Movement) and was also a lyricist, farmer and exciseman. He was considered the national poet of Scotland and wrote both in the Scots language and its dialect, as well as in English (where his comments were often the most blunt). He also travelled around collecting folk music from Scotland and wrote the lyrics for Auld Lang Syne, (meaning ‘old long since’ / ‘long, long ago’ / ‘days gone by’…) which is typically sung at Hogmanay. For his full, interesting biography see here.

Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) (Wiki)

And as for the meaning of poppies…

It is thought that the word ‘poppy’ is derived from the Old English popig, which is a Medieval Latin alteration of the Latin word papaver, meaning ‘to swell’. It could also stem from the Latin word for milk, pappa, perhaps because of the milky sap that oozes from its stem when the flower is cut.  

The symbolism of the poppy is quite wide-ranging, depending on the colour of the poppy and the country where it grows. For example, the red poppy can symbolise peace, death and sleep, which explains why, in western countries, it is usually used in commemoration of the soldiers fallen in the war.

In contrast, in Eastern countries red poppies usually symbolize love and success, whereas white poppies usually stand for remembrance and peaceful rest and are often tied to funerals and memorial ceremonies.

In Japanese and Chinese cultures the red poppy represents passionate love in a couple.

Apart from these meanings, poppies can also symbolise imagination, messages delivered in dreams, beauty, luxury and extravagance.

Finally and interestingly enough, the Californian poppy is the national flower of California and the red poppy is the national flower of Albania

Thank you for reading. I hope you can enjoy your wild flowers wherever you are.

Bye for now — take care! xxx

Easter Week in Posadas (Cordova, Spain)

It’s an intense week here in Spain being Easter week. Unfortunately the numerous processions which take place every day in almost every city, town and village have been cancelled for the second year running due to Covid. However, there is a lot that the church has organised that you can take part in, in a controlled, safe way, complying with all the regulations — meditations, contemplation, talks, prayers, retreats, expositions, just to name a few.

So for now I would just like to share with you some photos of the statues and floats that are usually paraded along the streets; these are typically accompanied by the brass band and rows of hooded penitents that quietly shuffle along. To see more photos and read about the processions you can visit my previous blog which I wrote last Easter Sunday.

The above statues are housed in the 18th century chapel, La Ermita del Niño Jesús in my local village of Posadas. The chapel has an interesting past which I mentioned in the last illustrated paras of one of my previous blogs.

This huge poster hangs from the façade of the parish church, Santa María de las Flores in Posadas. It reads:

Padre en tus manos enconmiendo mi espiritú…Yo soy la resurrección, la vida: el que cree en mi aunque haya muerto, vivirá… El que quiera siguirme, que se niegue a sí mismo, tome su cruz y me siga…

which translates as:

‘Father into your hands I commend my spirit… I am the resurrection and the life: he who believes in me although having died, will live again… Whoever wants to follow me, let him renounce himself, carry his cross and follow me…’

The above photo is a representation of the Last Supper table. This is inside the parish church, Santa María de Las Flores in Posadas.

The above is housed in the chapel, La Capilla de la Vera Cruz which is close to the Ermita mentioned previously

The following impressive statue of Mary, La Virgen de la Misericordia is in San Pedro church of Cordova.

I understand that all this might not be your cup of tea, but one just can’t help but appreciate the amount of artistic work and total devotion and dedication that these processions involve — take, for example, Mary’s cloak which is richly hand-embroidered — and that’s nothing to say about the woodwork, flower arrangements and craftsmanship in precious metals. Nor does it involve just this outward expression: it is accompanied by a quiet strength of faith, prayer, reflection and interiorism. It is a week of living and breathing the Word — a poignant and emotive time which culminates and comes to fruition on Easter Sunday.

Well, this just leaves me to early wish you all a Happy Easter and to wish you well.

Bye for now! xxx

The Lonely Lupin (in my country abode of Posadas, Cordova)

Hello folks — hope this finds you well…

Since I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning, I decided not to linger in bed, entertaining endless thoughts in my head (that rhymes, doesn’t it?), but instead (and so does that), have an early cup of Tetley’s to rehydrate the brain and hopefully get it in some sort of working order — and if that failed, then have a invigorating shower followed by a healthy breakfast (of yoghurt with cut-up strawberries and bananas, plus raisins, mixed seeds, goji berries, all sprinkled over with cinnamon. Yummy!).

So I did all this, and finding myself pretty revitalised, despite my 5-hour night— (I was watching a documentary ‘til late on Hitler and the reaction of the different monarchies to him, the Nazis and the war) — I decided to go for an equally-invigorating walk along our country lane. Though the temperatures these days are reaching the 23°C mark, the morning temperatures are still fresh, around 8°C so it makes pleasant walking.

So off I set and what did I come across? The following photos will explain:

A lone, blue lupin growing wild amongst the tall grasses and in front of an unruly olive tree
But further along there was a row of them growing behind the neighbour’s wire fence — they return every year (the lupins, not the neighbours who come regularly to tend their olive trees)
And here was a white lupin plant (I had to walk 50 minutes to find one!). The leaves look acacia-like and quite typical of the leguminosae and you can see the bean pods of the lupin
And here’s a close-up of the flowers which are already beginning to shrivel and fade (I know the feeling…)

Now let me share with you what I have recently learnt about the pretty lupin:

The name comes from the Latin lupus, which means wolf, and the reason for the name is because it was believed that these flowers stole¸ cunningly like a wolf, the nutrients from the earth since they were commonly found on poor soils (the flowers that is, not the wolves). However, quite the opposite is true: lupins, like other legumes such as lentils, chick peas etc. actually enrich the soil and are useful for farming as they are high in nitrogen. Here in some traditional olive groves local to Posadas in the province of Cordova where the olives are picked by hand and not by machine, you can often see bushes of lentils, beans and chick peas that have been planted in rows between the trees. After the legumes have been harvested, the remaining plants will then be dug back into the soil in order to increase its fertility with all that added nitrogen.  

Although lupins are part of the pea family, they are poisonous, containing toxic seeds and can therefore pose a threat to livestock and cattle. However, there is now the ‘sweet lupin’ a genetically-engineered variety of the original in which the toxic alkaloids have been removed.  The beans of the lupin plant are edible and used for both human and cattle consumption. Australia is a major producer of these lupins

NOTE: you cannot eat just any lupin seeds from your garden or countryside  the seeds must be processed first to remove the toxicity.

Lupin beans are a great favourite here in Spain (in fact in all the Mediterranean Basin countries, as well as North Africa and Latin America. They were also popular with the Incans, Native Americans, Romans and the Egyptian pharaohs too). Here, the lupin beans, or altramuces in Spanish, are often given as a free tapa in many bars (they are previously soaked until soft). Beware though: people who have a peanut allergy are fairly likely to be allergic to lupin beans too.

The beans are very nutritious and the extract from the seeds of the white lupin help the production of collagen, promoting cellular repair and growth. They are low in fat, gluten-free, rich in amino acids, antioxidants and fatty acids, high in fibre and contain protein too. They are also prebiotic. (I’ll think in future I’ll be adding this to my cereal or yoghurt-fruit mix — yippee, here comes super-woman!)

Lupin beans, soaked (Wiki)

On a more mystical note, apart from their symbolism with wolves and the moon, the lupin represents happiness, imagination, creativity and admiration, also energising one’s inner strength. They represent hope for new opportunities too. (Yes, I’ll definitely be adding this to my cereal or yoghurt-fruit mix in the mornings, possibly soaking them first in a cup of Tetley’s to give them that extra kick!)

So, all in all, apart from being pretty and useful, lupins are also positive-meaning flowers, encouraging good cheer and hope. Something I wish for all of us.

But to finish with, here’s a poem about lupins by Seamus Heaney — poet, playwright and translator, lecturer and professor, (and one of nine children!), from a farming, cattle dealing and linen mill worker background. 

Seamus Heaney (Wiki)

Lupins

Seamus Heaney (Ireland 13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013)

They stood. And stood for something. Just by standing.
In waiting. Unavailable. But there
For sure. Sure and unbending.
Rose-fingered dawn’s and navy midnight’s flower.

Seed packets to begin with, pink and azure,
Sifting lightness and small jittery promise:
Lupin spires, erotics of the future,
Lip-brush of the blue and earth’s deep purchase.

O pastel turrets, pods and tapering stalks
That stood their ground for all our summer wending
And even when they blanched would never balk.
And none of this surpassed our understanding.

——————————————————————————————————

Thank you for reading, bye for now — take care x