On being an immigrant

Today is the day of the immigrant — and this is something I can identify with, as I too am an immigrant. It is something, that once started can be passed on from generation to generation: I emigrated to Cordova due to my husband’s health; my mother immigrated to London from Italy with her parents because of financial reasons — though first they tried their luck in Australia.

When my grandfather went over to Australia a second time with his brother (which entailed a long, arduous journey by boat, lasting a month), my grandmother and mother were due to follow, but unfortunately WWII broke out and they were separated — seven years passed before they were finally reunited, by which time my mother had grown into a young woman and felt her father quite a stranger. In his absence, my great grandfather (her mother’s father) had adopted the role of father and she grew extremely fond of him: he was a loving, sensible and very wise man, so much so that he was elected to be the mayor of their town in the Piemonti region. When he died a few years later, the whole town and neighbouring villages turned up at his funeral; but my mother and grandmother felt their world had collapsed.

After a few years had passed, my grandfather, or ‘nonno’ as we say in Italian, decided to up and leave Italy once again, looking for a better fortune in London. So my mother, together with her mother (my ‘nonna’) and uncle emigrated to London. They left their whole life behind them: friends, family, customs, climate, traditions, way of life, education… and so much more. My mother, being the only child just like her mother was an only child, felt the sharp and harsh contrast of the loneliness and lost feeling that an immigrant can feel. However, in the end, my grandparents had to go back to Italy because my nonno suffered from bad angina due to the smutty, London fogs. My mother was left behind in London where she had a stable job and where she had already met my father. Her future in that cold, grey city was soon signed and sealed.

Meanwhile, the story was much the same for my father and his family, with the exception that my ‘nonni’ (grandparents) went straight from the Trentino region in the Dolomites to London, with no detours. However, many relatives did head for America instead; hence my family is distributed far and wide. It was hard for my paternal grandparents too. When the war broke out, my father, grandfather and uncles were all interned in prison for a while until it could be proved that they weren’t Mussolini’s spies. So they also left behind everything they had, while trying to anglicise themselves (though my grandparent’s English was fairly poor as they always preferred to speak in their Italian dialect). The contrast between living in Italy and England was stark, what with the better weather and more laid-back approach of Italy as compared to the then colder, frostier climate and sterner way-of-life in England.

So when I look back and remember my earlier generations, I can sympathise with them: I too had to leave my country in search of a dry, arid climate. Though I am very fortunate in many more ways than one, I still feel the pinch after all these years of being an immigrant, always different to the rest, to not having your family round you nor there to support you and to mostly going it ‘alone’; this is felt even more so when you live in a small community like a village, where you see that most people have their ‘extended’ family around them. It is not easy either if you have had to give up your career or studies and adapt and retrain, redirecting the course of your life, or when you see the best friends you had gradually fade in the background due to not being able to physically meet up as often as before, or when you notice that part of your character may sometimes become muted by the sense of wistfulness and nostalgia… though, needless to say, much worse are those who leave because of wars, political instability, poverty and natural disasters — this is no comparison to my case.

However, I know that neither I nor my past generations were the only ones in this situation. Just in my catholic secondary school alone there were various nationalities and all were immigrants, also experiencing the same feelings. In my class there were Irish, Italians, Spanish, Czechs, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese, Hongkongers, Indians, Sri Lankans, Africans, South Americans etc., etc., etc., (As you can see, I grew up with a wide mix of people, and great fun it was too, learning about other cultures and ways of life!) I know that their parents also felt the pinch of leaving everything behind. Many never grasped the language too well and continued to speak to their children in their mother tongues so the kids grew up learning their original language fluently. Even here in Cordova, which is much smaller than London, I know many immigrants: Moroccans, Syrians, Algerians, Dutch, Canadian, Chinese, Ghanaian, Senegalese, Turks, Colombians, Hondurans, Romanians, Pakistanis, Indians, Georgians, Israelis etc., etc., etc.

They and I are grateful for the opportunities, friendliness and accommodating ways that the host countries offer, as so too are our former generations, though generally when you are an immigrant, you do always feel a bit different… or at least those are my sentiments…

The important thing I have learnt from all this is:

  • to not to consider yourself too much,
  • to be ever-grateful of all you have,
  • to view other people as your family and to be like moving water, being able to flow past obstacles and always adapt, and
  • to be a child of God, a child of the world and another child, brother or sister in what is this, our vast, worldwide family.

Well, that’s it from me for now, but to end with, here’s a moving poem about immigrants:

 “THINGS WE CARRY ON THE SEA” BY WANG PING (born 1957, Shanghai, China)

We carry tears in our eyes: good-bye father, good-bye mother

We carry soil in small bags: may home never fade in our hearts

We carry names, stories, memories of our villages, fields, boats

We carry scars from proxy wars of greed

We carry carnage of mining, droughts, floods, genocides

We carry dust of our families and neighbours incinerated in mushroom clouds

We carry our islands sinking under the sea

We carry our hands, feet, bones, hearts and best minds for a new life

We carry diplomas: medicine, engineer, nurse, education, math, poetry, even if they mean nothing to the other shore

We carry railroads, plantations, laundromats, bodegas, taco trucks, farms, factories, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, temples…built on our ancestors’ backs

We carry old homes along the spine, new dreams in our chests

We carry yesterday, today and tomorrow

We’re orphans of the wars forced upon us

We’re refugees of the sea rising from industrial wastes

And we carry our mother tongues
(ai),حب  (hubb), ליבע (libe), amor, love

平安 (ping’an), سلام ( salaam), shalom, paz, peace

希望(xi’wang), أمل (’amal), hofenung, esperanza, hope, hope, hope

As we drift…in our rubber boats…from shore…to shore…to shore…

Thank you for reading. Goodbye for now — take care! xxx

Hand-painted stones from Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks! I hope this finds you all well…

The good news is that since the incidence numbers have fallen here in Cordova and the province is now in level 1, things are gradually opening up and there has been more movement on the tourist front. This is also good for me, as the tourist shop in the Judería (Jewish Quarters) which sells locally-crafted items, has also opened. (See photos of the Judería here.)

I regularly place some of my items with them, the latest being a couple of paintings on locally-sourced cork from the oak trees in my neighbouring Hornachuelos Natural Park area — you can read about this area here in case you’re thinking about visiting in the future — after all, it is a place rich in ecological diversity and also boasts a supposedly-haunted monastery).

I have also painted some stones with acrylics and will start my new autumn/winter/Christmassy selection next week.

Here are a few photos of what I’ve been doing. (Most of these items are available in my Etsy shop at this link.)

But how could I leave without a quote? So here’s one for reflection:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

~ Saint Mother Theresa (26 August 1910, Skopje – 5 September 1997, India)

That’s all for now — thank you for visiting.

Take care xxx

Yet another beautiful, inspiring dawn here in Posadas (Cordova)

Dawn arose early this morning, and so did I, even though I had only had a few hours sleep because of all the thoughts that were crowding my head…

Still, at least the weather’s broken and you can sense the autumn just round the corner, knocking at the door…

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
 Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
 With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run…

(To Autumn, John Keats 1795-1821).

Though why did I move to Cordova in the first place if I find the summers impossibly hot? Well, you can view my very first blog here for the reason; this also has lots of photos of the historic town and is actually the introduction to my book An English Lady in Cordova — the Alternative Guide (at present available from me).

Anyway, getting back to this morning’s photo — not only is the rich palette of colours inspiring, but you can also just spy the conical hill of Priego, La Tiñosa rising up from the plains that form part of the hilly Sierra Subbética. (The word Subbética has Roman origins and derives also from the Gualdalquivir River, which was then called the River Betis. The present Guadalquivir name is Arabic and harks back to the Moorish occupancy of the Iberian Peninsula, previously named Al-Andalus.) For more photos of the views from my home, you can visit the earlier blog of mine.

Though for now, I’d just like to end this blog with a quote from Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī’ (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273), the Persian poet, theologian, scholar and mystic’s,

The Breeze at Dawn

The Breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.

(Perhaps meaning something like: we can break old habits and tendencies and become the present. We don’t need to fall back into the same old ways…)

That’s all for now folks! Once again, thanks for visiting — and do take care! xxx

Another beautiful dawn here in Posadas (Cordova), with Shakespeare and Federico García Lorca!!!

Hi folks! I hope that this finds you all well…

I just wanted to share with you a photo of this morning’s sunrise (yes, yet another one!). So here it is…

A glorious dawn!

The sunrise reminded me of one of Shakespeare’s verses — I had to read him for my English literature O-levels while studying at Gumley House Convent School for girls in Isleworth, London. Here are the first four lines of his Sonnet 33. (I haven’t included the following ten lines because it’s a little more depressing and saddens the tone of what was a lovely sunrise, but if you want to read the full sonnet, you can do so here!)

Sonnet 33 

William Shakespeare (April 1564 — April 23, 1616)

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy …

As you might already know, Shakespeare was an ‘English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist.’ (Wiki) He was also known as England’s national poet or simply, the Bard of Avon. To read more of his biography you can take a look at this link.

William Shakespeare (bap. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616, Stratford-upon-Avon)

Also, I couldn’t resist including one of Federico Lorca García’s poems, entitled Alba (Dawn). His full name was Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca. He was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director. Tragically, he was killed by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. His remains have never been found.

Fotografía anónima MNCARS 4.jpg
Federico García Lorca in 1932. He was only 38 years old when brutally assassinated by Nationalist forces (Photo Wiki)

(Below is the English translation.)

DAWN

Federico García Lorca (June 5, 1898 — August 18, 1936)

My oppressed heart

Sits next to the dawn

The pain of its loves

And the dream of the distances

The light of the dawn brings

Seedbeds of nostalgias

And the sadness without eyes

Of the marrow of the soul.

The great tomb of the night

Its black veil rises

To conceal with the day

The immense starry summit.

What will I do about these fields

Picking nests and branches

Surrounded by dawn

And full of night in the soul!

What will I do if your eyes are

Dead to the clear light

And if my flesh will no longer feel

The heat of your gaze!

Why did I lose you forever

In that clear evening?

Today my chest is arid

Like a shut-off star.

And if you feel like practising your Spanish, here is the original version:

ALBA

Federico García Lorca  (junio 5, 1898 — agosto 18, 1936)

Mi corazón oprimido
Siente junto a la alborada
El dolor de sus amores
Y el sueño de las distancias.
La luz de la aurora lleva
Semilleros de nostalgias
Y la tristeza sin ojos
De la médula del alma.
La gran tumba de la noche
Su negro velo levanta
Para ocultar con el día
La inmensa cumbre estrellada.

¡Qué haré yo sobre estos campos
Cogiendo nidos y ramas
Rodeado de la aurora
Y llena de noche el alma!
¡Qué haré si tienes tus ojos
Muertos a las luces claras
Y no ha de sentir mi carne
El calor de tus miradas!
¿Por qué te perdí por siempre
En aquella tarde clara?
Hoy mi pecho está reseco
Como una estrella apagada.

Well, that’s all for the mo… thanks for visiting and take care! xxx

Watermelons, sheep and cows, here in Posadas (province of Cordova)

Hi folks! I hope that this finds you well despite the difficult times we are all experiencing, one way or another…

I just wanted to share a couple of photos with you (well, three actually!) which prove that it’s not just us here in Posadas who keep cool and hydrated with WATERMELONS

…but the sheep and cows too!

So if you don’t believe me, below is the proof!

The above farm is situated on the footslopes of the Sierrezuela Park which forms part of the large Nature Reserve of Hornachuelos, which is an ecological haven boasting a wide variety of fauna and flora. There are also great walks/hikes/running circuits/adventure park, and you can also appreciate the ancient history via its Stone Age dolmens (as well as enjoy the bar, restaurant or do-it-yourself picnic/BBQ area). To view more about this area you can visit my previous blogs, here and here.

But coming back to the watermelons… they might seem just simply watery, juicy and refreshing, but actually they’re packed full with goodness. Here are some of their plus points:

1) They keep you hydrated due to their high water content.They contain nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.

2) One cup (154 grams) of watermelon has many nutrients, including these vitamins and minerals:—

Vitamin C: 21% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI

Potassium: 5% of the RDI

Magnesium: 4% of the RDI

Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of
the RDI

3) Watermelons contain compounds that may help prevent cancer, such as cucurbitacin E and lycopene (though study results are mixed).

4) They may improve heart health as they contain several heart-healthy components, including lycopene, amino acid citrulline and other vitamins and minerals.

5) They can lower inflammation and oxidative stress because lycopene and vitamin C are anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Inflammation is linked to many chronic diseases.

6) They may help prevent macular degeneration also due to their lycopene content.

7) Watermelons may help relieve muscle soreness — the amino acid citrulline may be partially responsible for its effect of easing this tenderness.

8) They are good for skin and hair because they contain vitamins A and C.

9) They can improve digestion as they are fibre-rich, and last (but not least),

10) being rich in lycopene, your body’s arginine levels are increased, which helps up the body’s fat-burning potential. At the same time the juicy red fruit helps the body burn fat, it also builds lean muscle. Just 1 cup a day does the trick.

CONCLUSION: it’s no wonder they feed watermelons to the sheep and cattle!!!

But now I’d like to finish off with a photo that has absolutely nothing at all to do with watermelons… my new kitten (one of four, but fifteen cats in total!).

Here kitty kitty!!!! (Come and have some watermelon!!)

Thank you for reading! As usual, comments and questions are always welcome.

Bye for now — take care xxx     

Cat in pot… and boy, it’s hot here in Posadas (province of Cordova)!!!

Hi folks! I hope this finds you all well…

Sorry, it’s short and sweet this time, because at 45° C (113° F) it’s far too hot to sit up and write. (The air conditioning has to go off at 5:30 in the afternoon because we rely on solar panels and electricity’s limited!…..)

Even the cat had to find a cool place to sit!

“Cats have it all — admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.”

Rod McKuen (April 29, 1933 – January 29, 2015)  (American singer-songwriter, actor and poet, Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows)

That’s all for now — take care! xxx


Help! There’s a snake in my well in Posadas — and Idries Shah too…

Stay sleeping pleasssssssssse!!!!

Hi folks! I’m back again and I hope this finds you all well!

I just wanted to share this photo with you: it is what my son was confronted with when opening the well on his olive-tree finca. It might not be very clear at first sight, but if you take a closer look you should be able to see a nice, fat, juicy, khaki-coloured snake coiled up and half-hiding under one of the water tubes. Luckily it didn’t raise its ugly head (poor thing!) so the well lid was immediately dropped back down and hasn’t been reopened in a while. I’m not exactly sure as to what type of snake it is (there are no diamond markings on its back so it’s not a poisonous viper). It could be the mildly venomous Malpolon monspessulanus (Culebra bastarda — sounds rude, doesn’t it?!), or a Macroprotodon (Western false smooth snake), with a pretty harmless bite.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, and before moving onto another longish story (if you have the time and patience!), this event brought to mind one of Idries Shah’s tales, entitled The Man, the Snake and the Stone, taken from his Caravan of Dreams.

So here’s the man:

Idries Shah
16 June 1924 (Simla, British India) — 23 November 1996 (aged 72) London, UK (Wiki)

And here’s the story:—

The Man, the Snake and the StoneIdries Shah, Caravan of Dreams

One day a man who had not a care in the world was walking along a road. An unusual object to one side of him caught his eye. ‘I must find out what this is,’ he said to himself.

As he came up to it, he saw that it was a large, very flat stone.

‘I must find out what is underneath this,’ he told himself. And he lifted the stone.

No sooner had he done so than he heard a loud, hissing sound, and a huge snake came gliding out from a hole under the stone. The man dropped the stone in alarm. The snake wound itself into a coil, and said to him:

‘Now I am going to kill you, for I am a venomous snake.’

‘But I have released you,’ said the man, ‘how can you repay good with evil? Such an action would not accord with reasonable behaviour.’

‘In the first place,’ said the snake, ‘you lifted the stone from curiosity and in ignorance of the possible consequences. How can this now suddenly become “I have released you”?’

‘We must always try to return to reasonable behaviour, when we stop to think,’ murmured the man.

‘Return to it when you think invoking it might suit your interests,’ said the snake.

‘Yes,’ said the man, ‘I was a fool to expect reasonable behaviour from a snake.’

‘From a snake, expect snake-behaviour,’ said the snake. ‘To a snake, snake-behaviour is what can be regarded as reasonable.’

‘Now I am going to kill you,’ it continued.

‘Please do not kill me,’ said the man, ‘give me another chance. You have taught me about curiosity, reasonable behaviour and snake-behaviour. Now you would kill me before I can put this knowledge into action.’

‘Very well,’ said the snake, ‘I shall give you another chance. I shall come along with you on your journey. We will ask the next creature whom we meet, who shall be neither a man nor a snake, to adjudicate between us.’

The man agreed, and they started on their way.

Before long they came to a flock of sheep in a field. The snake stopped, and the man cried to the sheep:

‘Sheep, sheep, please save me! This snake intends to kill me. If you tell him not to do so he will spare me. Give a verdict in my favour, for I am a man, the friend of sheep.’

One of the sheep answered:

‘We have been put out into this field after serving a man for many years. We have given him wool year after year, and now that we are old, tomorrow he will kill us for mutton. That is the measure of the generosity of men. Snake, kill that man!’

The snake reared up and his green eyes glittered as he said to the man: ‘This is how your friends see you. I shudder to think what your enemies are like!’

‘Give me one more chance,’ cried the man in desperation. ‘Please let us find someone else to give an opinion, so that my life may be spared.’

‘I do not want to be as unreasonable as you think I am,’ said the snake, ‘and I will therefore continue in accordance with your pattern, and not with mine. Let us ask the next individual whom we may meet – being neither a man nor a snake – what your fate is to be.’

The man thanked the snake, and they continued on their journey.

Presently they came upon a lone horse, standing hobbled in a field. The snake addressed him:

‘Horse, horse, why are you hobbled like that?’

The horse said:

‘For many years I served a man. He gave me food, for which I had not asked, and he taught me to serve him. He said that this was in exchange for the food and stable. Now that I am too infirm to work, he has decided to sell me soon for horse-meat. I am hobbled because the man thinks that if I roam over this field I will eat too much of his grass.’

‘Do not make this horse my judge, for God’s sake!’ exclaimed the man.

‘According to our compact,’ said the snake inexorably, ‘this man and I have agreed to have our case judged by you.’

He outlined the matter, and the horse said:

‘Snake, it is beyond my capabilities and not in my nature to kill a man. But I feel that you, as a snake, have no alternative but to do so if a man is in your power.’

‘If you will give me just one more chance,’ begged the man, ‘I am sure that something will come to my aid. I have been unlucky on this journey so far, and have only come across creatures who have a grudge. Let us therefore choose some animal which has no such knowledge and hence no generalised animosity towards my kind.’

‘People do not know snakes,’ said the snake, ‘and yet they seem to have a generalised animosity towards them. But I am willing to give you just one more chance.’

They continued their journey.

Soon they saw a fox, lying asleep under a bush beside the road. The man woke the fox gently, and said:

‘Fear nothing, brother fox. My case is such-and-such, and my future depends upon your decision. The snake will give me no further chance, so only your generosity or altruism can help me.’

The fox thought for a moment, and then he said:

‘I am not sure that only generosity or altruism can operate here. But I will engage myself in this matter. In order to come to a decision I must rely upon something more than hearsay. We must demonstrate as well. Come, let us return to the beginning of your journey, and examine the facts on the spot.’

They returned to where the first encounter had taken place.

‘Now we will reconstruct the situation,’ said the fox; ‘snake, be so good as to take your place once more, in your hole under that flat stone.’

The man lifted the stone, and the snake coiled itself up in the hollow beneath it. The man let the stone fall.

The snake was now trapped again, and the fox, turning to the man, said: ‘We have returned to the beginning. The snake cannot get out unless you release him. He leaves our story at this point.’

‘Thank you, thank you,’ said the man, his eyes full of tears.

‘Thanks are not enough, brother,’ said the fox. ‘In addition to generosity and altruism there is the matter of my payment.’

‘How can you enforce payment?’ asked the man.

‘Anyone who can solve the problem which I have just concluded,’ said the fox, ‘is well able to take care of such a detail as that. I again invite you to recompense me, from fear if not from any sense of justice. Shall we call it, in your words, being “reasonable”?’

The man said:

‘Very well, come to my house and I will give you a chicken.’

They went to the man’s house. The man went into his chicken-coop, and came back in a moment with a bulging sack. The fox seized it and was about to open it when the man said:

‘Friend fox, do not open the sack here. I have human neighbours and they should not know that I am co-operating with a fox. They might kill you, as well as censuring me.’

‘That is a reasonable thought,’ said the fox; ‘what do you suggest I do?’

‘Do you see that clump of trees yonder?’ said the man, pointing. ‘Yes,’ said the fox.

‘You run with the sack into that cover, and you will be able to enjoy your meal unmolested.’

The fox ran off.

As soon as he reached the trees a party of hunters, whom the man knew would be there, caught him. He leaves our story here.

And the man? His future is yet to come.

Moral of the story? Perhaps something like: you never know what might be under a rock, or in a clever man’s mind… (although knowing the Sufis, it probably isn’t that simple!)

—————————————————————————————————————–

Well, thank you for bearing with me — take care! xxx

The Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites of Our Lady of the Sierra in Hornachuelos (Cordova, Spain)

Hello again everyone! Sorry for the break, but as I explained previously I’ve been rather busy translating lately and couldn’t spend more time with my eyes glues to the screen.

However, today I took advantage of the cooler (28 °C) windier weather to go for a long drive up to the local sierra of Hornachuelos to visit a convent, Nuestra Señora de la Sierra in the area of San Calixto, lying almost in the middle of nowhere.

It’s surrounded by vegetation that ranges from open fields, olive groves, shrubs such as wild cistus, pistacia mastic and terebinthus, as well as old holm oak trees and cork oaks that have recently been stripped of their bark. (For more about the vegetation of the Hornachuelos Nature Reserve and its haunted monastery you can see my previous blog.)

The story of this particular convent goes back to the 16th century. It is said to have been founded by two monks who, after wandering the Sierra looking for a suitable place to make their sanctuary, finally came to rest in a hilly area full of thistles (cardos), high above the flood zone of the Bembézar River. Knowledge of their fervorous, holy pursuit spread, and they were soon joined by other hermits.

For shelter, they made a hut out of rockrose branches where they placed their image of Saint Michael. Eventually, in 1543, they founded the Monastery of San Basilio del Tardón. (It is said that Tardon derives from Cardón, which was the name given to this area by the monks. It is a derivative of cardo, or ‘thistle’, and refers to the thistle-covered hill where they lived.)

The monastery was inhabited by monks until 1808. A few years later, Francisco Sánchez, a Knight of the Order of Charles III was granted permission to build a hamlet on all the surrounding (thistly) land of Cardón/Tardón. He named the area San Calixto. Over the years the hamlet grew in size, and by the mid-19th century its population rose to a hundred and fifty. The village now boasted its own town hall, prison, communal oven and a posada (an inn). (San Calixto lies at about eleven miles above Hornachuelos, passing the visitor centre, Huerta del Rey.)

However, bit by bit the area and monastery fell into abandonment, perhaps due to its isolated location. It was not until 1940 that the hamlet and all the surrounding areas were bought by the marquis. As a result, the desolated, spiritual ground was resuscitated. This time though, a convent was constructed over the ruins of the ancient monastery, and was baptised Convento de las Carmelitas Descalzas de Nuestra Señora de la Sierra (Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites of Our Lady of the Sierraa bit of a mouthful!).

Today, the convent serves as a spiritual retreat and tourist attraction, alluring many visitors with its fascinating charm and beauty. Two important guests included the former Belgium monarchs, King Balduino y Queen Fabiola. (They were related to the marquises via Fabiola, who was originally a Madrid-born Spanish aristocrat). The royal couple spent their honeymoon there in 1960.

Additionally, another attraction of this convent is the handiwork products that you can purchase, which are made by the nuns. These ladies-of-the-cloth are extremely talented in needlework and other crafts, employing local materials such as cork from the indigenous alcornoque oak trees, as well as wool, fur and antlers from the animals that inhabit the land. They also grow their own vegetables.

(A little word of advice here: if you do ring at the door of this convent wanting to have a look at their products, don’t be surprised when you are answered by a thin, delicate voice that glides out from the holes in the iron-grate window; it greets the visitor while at the same time pays homage to the Virgin Mary, murmuring piously, ‘Ave María Purissima’, to which the knowledgeable visitor is expected to reply,sin pecado concebida’, meaning ‘conceived without sin’. However, if you are not so well-versed in devotional greetings—like I wasn’t—then you might just reply with an irreverent ‘¡Buenos días!’ So be warned!)

Well, that’s all for now folks! Thanks for bearing with me and my fabulous photography (ha ha!).

Take care xxx

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