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

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


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

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

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

Bunnies and springtime flowers galore!

Hi folks — I hope that you’re all well.

Just to say that I wasn’t able to write a usual mid-week blog because apart from my online teaching and writing work, I’ve been quite busy trying to prepare a few items for my online Etsy shop.

I have been inspired by the sudden explosion of springtime flowers here in Posadas (in the province of Cordova) which has happened a little earlier than usual.

There has also been a return of many species of birds, including my usual visitors, the hoopoe, blue tit and partridges (which will feature in my next blog…), as well as loads of bunnies and hares, little lambs and baby goats (already smelling of acidy milk!).

The things I don’t approve of (that is until they have reached their beautiful butterfly stage) are the caterpillars — we have been inundated with them! They have drilled into my iris flower buds, chomped their way steadily through my broad bean plantlets and are causing havoc to any budding grape vines which haven’t been previously sprayed. Now I don’t like to use pesticides or chemicals, so it is quite a normal sight for me to go rushing out into my garden and vegetable patch first thing in the morning (usually still in my fluffy pyjamas and mules) and run up and down the rows of plants, flicking off these furry creatures.

(I don’t know what our neighbour must think when he spies me from afar with his extra-strong binoculars, which I know he does because he did openly admit it one day when we were sat together having a leche manchada — milky coffee: his excuse is that he likes to invigilate our house as well as his for security reasons, as we do live out in the sticks a bit and we only have mastiffs and an adopted mongrel as alarms.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, here are a couple of photos explaining what I’ve been up to since last we met…

Acrylic paint on linen… I WILL be buying a fabric medium to use with acrylic paint for other future fabric work…
Painted with acrylic paints and acrylic pens

And here is a merry little poem about spring (yes, I know I’m being a bit premature, but try telling that to the Cordobese flowers and bunnies!)

Spring by William Blake — (London 1757–1827) ‘Poet, painter, engraver, and visionary… considered one of the leading lights of English poetry’ — The Poetry Foundation.

Wikipedia’s first two paras also give a succinct, interesting summary on Blake.

SPRING

Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Bird’s delight,
Day and night,
Nightingale,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,–
Merrily,
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little boy,
Full of joy;
Little girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little lamb,
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck;
Let me pull
Your soft wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Thank you for visting — take care! xxx

Self-service or à la carte?

Gobble on!!!

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are God. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are God.” — Christopher Hitchens (13 April 1949, Hampshire England – 15 December 2011).

Christopher Hitchens was certainly a very colourful man, as far as thinking, reasoning, debating and philosophy is concerned.

He was ‘an English intellectual, polemicist, and socio-political critic who expressed himself as an author, orator, essayist, journalist, and columnist. He was the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of over 30 books, including five collections of essays on culture, politics, and literature.’ (Wikipedia).

He was an anti-theist and his dictum, “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” is now known as Hitchen’s Razor.

In short, he was quite a character and as you can see from the above quote, he even went as far as discussing and concluding the differences between cats and dogs!

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you well — take care!xxx