The Three Kings lonely almond blossom!

Hello everyone! I hope you are keeping well.

Firstly, sorry to say that the photos in this post and the last 4 posts have been eliminated due to insufficient space on the multimedia (see my later post for details…)

As you may or may not know, today is the Epiphany, or Three Kings (or Reyes Magos, as it is known here in Spain) — the day when presents are given.

Last night I found my present — the first almond blossom! And here it is…

The almond blossom looking south towards the distant hills of Malaga (about 2 & 1/2 hours drive from here, Posadas in the province of Cordova)

The Three Kings is a day that is very celebrated here in Spain when presents are traditionally exchanged. Usually floats bearing the Kings Gasper, Balthazar and Melchor, together with loads of sweets and presents are paraded along the streets, to the delight of the thronging crowds. Although these parades have been banned this year due to THE virus, children (and adults) can still give their letters to The Three Kings the day before, asking what they wish for.

Below is a photo taken from our local village Posadas, inviting people to come (in an orderly fashion with everyone wearing masks of course!)

Visit The Three Kings! (Courtesy Posadas County Council)

And to finish, here’s a poem from one of my favourite authors, D.H. Lawrence. (Mind you, to be honest, I didn’t realise til lately that he started out as a poet.) For his short biography here is an interesting link.

Almond Blossom — D.H Lawrence (England, 1885- France, 1930)

Even iron can put forth,

Even iron.

This is the iron age,

But let us take heart

Seeing iron break and bud,

Seeing rusty iron puff with clouds of blossom.

The almond-tree,

December’s bare iron hooks sticking out of earth.

The almond-tree,

That knows the deadliest poison, like a snake

In supreme bitterness.

Upon the iron, and upon the steel,

Odd flakes as if of snow, odd bits of snow,

Odd crumbs of melting snow.

But you mistake, it is not from the sky;

From out the iron, and from out the steel,

Flying not down from heaven, but storming up,

Strange storming up from the dense under-earth

Along the iron, to the living steel

In rose-hot tips, and flakes of rose-pale snow

Setting supreme annunciation to the world.

Nay, what a heart of delicate super-faith,

Iron-breaking,

The rusty swords of almond-trees.

Trees suffer, like races, down the long ages.

They wander and are exiled, they live in exile through long ages

Like drawn blades never sheathed, hacked and gone black,

The alien trees in alien lands: and yet

The heart of blossom,

The unquenchable heart of blossom!

Look at the many-cicatrised frail vine, none more scarred and frail,

Yet see him fling himself abroad in fresh abandon

From the small wound-stump.

Even the wilful, obstinate, gummy fig-tree

Can be kept down, but he’ll burst like a polyp into prolixity.

And the almond-tree, in exile, in the iron age!

This is the ancient southern earth whence the vases were baked, amphoras, craters, cantharus, oenochoe, and open-hearted cylix,

Bristling now with the iron of almond-trees

Iron, but unforgotten,

Iron, dawn-hearted,

Ever-beating dawn-heart, enveloped in iron against the exile, against the ages.

See it come forth in blossom

From the snow-remembering heart

In long-nighted January,

In the long dark nights of the evening star, and Sirius, and the Etna snow-wind through the long night.

Sweating his drops of blood through the long-nighted Gethsemane

Into blossom, into pride, into honey-triumph, into most exquisite splendour.

Oh, give me the tree of life in blossom

And the Cross sprouting its superb and fearless flowers!

Something must be reassuring to the almond, in the evening star, and the snow-wind, and the long, long, nights,

Some memory of far, sun-gentler lands,

So that the faith in his heart smiles again

And his blood ripples with that untenable delight of once-more-vindicated faith,

And the Gethsemane blood at the iron pores unfolds, unfolds,

Pearls itself into tenderness of bud

And in a great and sacred forthcoming steps forth, steps out in one stride

A naked tree of blossom, like a bridegroom bathing in dew, divested of cover,

Frail-naked, utterly uncovered

To the green night-baying of the dog-star, Etna’s snow-edged wind

And January’s loud-seeming sun.

Think of it, from the iron fastness

Suddenly to dare to come out naked, in perfection of blossom, beyond the sword-rust.

Think, to stand there in full-unfolded nudity, smiling,

With all the snow-wind, and the sun-glare, and the dog-star baying epithalamion.

Oh, honey-bodied beautiful one,

Come forth from iron,

Red your heart is.

Fragile-tender, fragile-tender life-body,

More fearless than iron all the time,

And so much prouder, so disdainful of reluctances.

In the distance like hoar-frost, like silvery ghosts communing on a green hill,

Hoar-frost-like and mysterious.

In the garden raying out

With a body like spray, dawn-tender, and looking about

With such insuperable, subtly-smiling assurance,

Sword-blade-born.

Unpromised,

No bounds being set.

Flaked out and come unpromised,

The tree being life-divine,

Fearing nothing, life-blissful at the core

Within iron and earth.

Knots of pink, fish-silvery

In heaven, in blue, blue heaven,

Soundless, bliss-full, wide-rayed, honey-bodied,

Red at the core,

Red at the core,

Knotted in heaven upon the fine light.

Open,

Open,

Five times wide open,

Six times wide open,

And given, and perfect;

And red at the core with the last sore-heartedness,

Sore-hearted-looking.

Happy Three Kings!

Thank you for visiting — take care! xxx

Comfy cats!

Hello all! I hope that your New Year is going well so far!

Firstly, sorry to say that the photos in this post and the last 3 posts have been eliminated due to insufficient space on the multimedia (see my later post for details…)

This afternoon I sat outside to soak in a bit of the Cordobese sunshine after the cold, frosty -2° C start. And as you can see from the photo, I was soon accompanied by three of my ten cats who, one by one, gingerly climbed up onto my lap.

Nice ‘n’ comfy ‘n’ warm on my lap!

Here is a quote from Bill Dana (comedian, actor, and screenwriter, who lived from October 5, 1924 – June 15, 2017). These words rang true for me!

“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.”

The cats also reminded me of a poem written by one of my favourite poets, John Keats, who unfortunately had a very short life, dying from tuberculosis when he was only 25.

(Wikipedia)

To Mrs Reynold’s Cat (A love sonnet to a feline acquaintance)John Keats (born London, England October 31, 1795, died February 23, 1821 in Rome)

Cat! who hast past thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy’d?—how many tit bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green and prick
Those velvet ears—but pr’ythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me—and upraise
Thy gentle mew—and tell me all thy frays
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick.
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists—
For all the wheezy asthma,—and for all
Thy tail’s tip is nicked off—and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is that fur as soft as when the lists
In youth thou enter’dst on glass-bottled wall.

That’s all for now. I hope this you well.

Comments and questions always welcome.

Take care xxx

The New Year Rose

Wishing you all a better, healthier and happier 2021!

Firstly, sorry to say that the photos in this post and the last 2 posts have been eliminated due to insufficient space on the multimedia (see my later post for details…)

A Red Red Rose — Robert Burns (Scotland 1759-1796)

O, my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my Luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair as thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will love thess till, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run:

And fare thee well, my only luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho' it ware ten thousand mile.
Portrait of Robert Burns, 1787.
Robert Burns
Rabbie Burns

See you next year!! xxx

The Boxing Day Chestnut Tree

Hello everyone — I hope you are all well and have managed to have a good Christmas / Boxing Day / holiday.

Firstly, sorry to say that the photos in this post and the last post have been eliminated due to insufficient space on the multimedia (see my later post for details…)

I would just like to share a couple of my Boxing Day photos with you:

A HUGE chestnut tree and my son working up his hunger for his Boxing Day meal!
The Boxing Day meal with his VEGETARIAN plate in the foreground (veggie sausages, roast potatoes, braised celery with peas, caramelised carrots in sweet wine, cabbage ‘agrodolce’, apple sauce and bread sauce). This was followed by mince pies and custard that he managed to buy from Iceland in Fuengirola on his way back home to our country abode in Posadas (Cordova province). It was a special meal because of the (partial) family get together.

And to finish with, here’s a poem about a chestnut tree written by a contemporary poet:

Beneath The Chestnut Tree Andrew Blakemore (1966)

Beneath the chestnut tree I lie
And gaze into the summer sky
And watch the clouds go floating by
Within the sea of blue.

Here I came at break of dawn
And I’ve remained throughout the morn
Feeling lonely and forlorn
With nothing else to do.

Resting in its leafy shade
Upon the firm and grassy glade
The afternoon and evening fade
And disappear from view.

I see the sunset then unfold
The skies of amber turn to gold
The passion that I couldn’t hold
No love could be more true.

I remain as darkness falls
When echoes of my heartache calls
The sadness that I feel appals
If only I had you.

Thank you for visiting — comments and questions are always welcome.

Bye for now — take care! xxx

It’s that time of year again!

Hello folks! I hope that you’re keeping well.

Firstly, sorry to say that some of the photos in this post have been eliminated due to insufficient space on the multimedia (see my later post for details…)

Well, as the title suggests, it is definitely that time of year again! And I would like to share a few festive photos and a poem with you.

So here they are:

Our very homely-looking Christmas tree. Although it’s alive, it’s not actually a fir or spruce but a very large branch pruned from one of our wild Pistacia lentiscus bushes. It makes the house smell so resiny.
The Nativity scene. We have oxen, camels, sheep and homemade pigs, ducks and geese. Unfortunately the 3 Kings haven’t arrived yet, because although I’ve been seriously rummaging around the baubles and tinsel, I just haven’t been able to find them yet. (Must’ve gone trotting off somewhere…)
Every year we add bits to it. This year it’s the baker / cook working away in his corner in front of the stone oven and balancing a basket of goods on his head — right-hand side. (And I really must repair Jesus’s hand this year, because he had a bit of a mishap a while ago so He’s missing a little corner of it! Out will come the plaster of Paris…)
A bit of a close-up, and yes, I’ll have to mend Mary’s hand too. (We have had these figurines for a long time now, since the kids were born, so that makes 25 years more or less!)
One of the Christmas candle holders

Apart from the tree and Nativity scene, we’ve also put loads of tinsel, baubles, stockings, hanging pine cones etc. around the house. The decorations reflect the light and bring a glowing cheer to the dark evenings.

Meanwhile, in Cordova, the central square Plaza Tendillas has been dressed in thousands of lights, as so too the tall palm trees:

And back in my local village of Posadas, apart from all the streets, gardens and trees being lit up, they are usually decorated by the ladies from the crochet group too. However, since social gatherings are not permitted, nothing as yet has been displayed, so I am including their work from last Christmas. (I included other of their photos in a previous blog of mine.)

They made an extensive Nativity scene totally from crochet (except for the cork which was used for huts)

And there were also life-sized statues in one of the main streets — as you can see they were all robed in crochet garments

The street Nativity scene came with a well and fire too…
… and a flying angel announcing the Good News!

Well, to end this Christmassy blog I’d like to finish with a seasonal poem:

Christmas Eve 1893 Christina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894)

Christmas has a darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon,
Christmas has a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas has a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Earth, strike up your music,
Birds that sing and bells that ring;
Heaven has answering music
For all angels soon to sing:
Earth, put on your whitest
Bridal robe of spotless snow:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Thank you all for visiting — I hope that you are able to enjoy this special time.

Take care! xxx

Your comments and questions are always welcome — it is nice to hear from you!

Early flowers

Feeling restless after having been stuck in all day because of work on the computer, I decided to give vent to my feelings and go for a walk around my wild finca in the drizzle and mist. I was surprised to see the following flowers already out…

The rock rose or cistus is already putting out some flowers way ahead of normal time
and the broom too (Genisteae) — probably because of the mild weather here in Cordova
The wild narcissi are on cue…
and so are the delicate snowflakes (Leucojum)
I love the red berries on the wild asparagus bushes, they look so Christmassy. The bitter, wild asparagus spears grow in spring. For my recipe of wild asparagus in spicy tomato sauce, see here
And there are mushrooms everywhere

The photo of the narcissus flowers brings to mind the Latin tale of Narcissus and Echo from Ovid’s Metamorphosis.

Echo, a nymph who cannot speak except to repeat the last few words she has heard falls desperately in love with the beautiful and conceited Narcissus, who is in love with himself. He rejects her and she withers away, eventually turning into stone, and leaving only her voice behind which echoes around the world.

Echo and Narcissus— John William Waterhouse the pre-Raphaelite artist (1903 oil on canvas, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)

Fred Chappell (author and poet, born 1936, N. Carolina) wrote a poem of the same name.

(The italics in the following poem represent the voice of Echo.)

Narcissus and Echo

Shall the water not remember   Ember

my hand’s slow gesture, tracing above   of

its mirror my half-imaginary   airy

portrait? My only belonging   longing,

is my beauty, which I take   ache

away and then return as love   of

of teasing playfully the one being   unbeing.

whose gratitude I treasure   Is your

moves me. I live apart   heart

from myself, yet cannot   not

live apart. In the water’s tone,   stone?

that shining silence, a flower   Hour,

whispers my name with such slight   light:

moment, it seems filament of air,   fare

the world become clouds well.   well.

Thank you for visiting — I hope this finds you well! xxx

The sun makes its exit!

‘Your light is more magnificent than sunrise or sunset…Its the Light that outshines all’

Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (Balkh 1207-1273) the greatest Sufi mystic and poet in the Persian language

And here is yesterday’s sunset…

Going…
…going…
gone!

Take care! xxx

Another beautiful sunrise!

Hello all! I hope you are keeping well in these difficult times…

As you can see, this morning I was met with a beautiful sunrise!

An impressive daybreak looking eastwards beyond the haunted castle of Almodóvar del Río towards Cordova

I would also like to take this opportunity of introducing to you one of my favourite blogs that I follow, written by a talented lady who lives in beautiful Yorkshire: https://lisafeatherstone.co.uk/ .

The posts are very articulate, well-written and enlightening, with topics ranging from hand-knit designs, birds, books, plants and thoughts (wellbeing, drawing and accessibility). There’s also a quiz on Fridays which not only serves as a mental gymnasium but is sure to test and increase your general knowledge too.  In short, there is something there for everyone!

Oh — and if you wish to view Lisa’s hand-crafted delights on Etsy, you can see them here: https://www.etsy.com/es/shop/LisaFeatherDesign.  You can also follow Lisa on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/lisa.featherstone

Happy interesting reading!

But to finish with, I’d like to include a poem that celebrates the early morning:

DAWN by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919, Wisconsin, America)

Day’s sweetest moments are at dawn;
Refreshed by his long sleep, the Light
Kisses the languid lips of Night,
Ere she can rise and hasten on.
All glowing from his dreamless rest
He holds her closely to his breast,
Warm lip to lip and limb to limb,
Until she dies for love of him.

Thank you for visiting — stay well! xxx

Who’s the nosier?

After an intensive day of rain and computer I decided to go for a brief walk around my country abode here in Posadas (Cordova, Spain. See this link for photos and also the explanation as to why and how I ended up here!).

Of course I did not go on my walk alone, but was accompanied by the usual moggies, as you shall see…

Firstly I stopped to admire the lantern-like flowers that were already out on the strawberry tree (Arbutus).

There was just one arbutus berry left because the birds had got at them already (especially the stonechats which are noisily prevalent these days!).

The sky started to clear somewhat, letting down a few illuminating rays onto the distant Sierrezuela Hills

Then it cleared even more…

…and as I was looking skywards, I had the curious sensation that I was being watched…

First there was one…

…then there were two…

…and another made three.

I don’t think they were so interested in me after all…

…but rather in Little Strawberry and Santiago.

Come back!!!!

Though who was the nosier I just can’t tell…

Which brings me to the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894, Edinburgh, Scotland)

The Cow

The friendly cow all red and white, 
I love with all my heart: 
She gives me cream with all her might, 
To eat with apple-tart. 

She wanders lowing here and there, 
And yet she cannot stray, 
All in the pleasant open air, 
The pleasant light of day; 

And blown by all the winds that pass 
And wet with all the showers, 
She walks among the meadow grass 
And eats the meadow flowers. 

Thank you for visiting —hope you are all well! xxx

A golden sunrise!

This morning’s sunrise over the medieval castle of Almodóvar del Río (province of Cordova, Spain)

Full many a glorious morning have I seen — William Shakespeare (1564-1616, Stratford-Upon-Avon)

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;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

Thank you for visiting — take care! xxx