Here is a photo of a cork oak tree taken from my morning’s walk in the countryside of Posadas (Cordova province in Andalusia). The photo’s a bit dark because rain’s expected (at long last, we’re having serious drought here!). You can see the red-brown trunk which has been exposed after the cork has been harvested.
Pigs love to eat the acorns that drop from its boughs:-
To see more photos of the oak trees and the PAINTINGS I do on the cork, you can click here.
Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer, considered a giant of modern Greek literature, awarded the Nobel Prize in nine times. Kazantzakis’ novels included Zorba the Greek,Christ Recrucified, Captain Michalis, and The Last Temptation of Christ. He also translated a number of notable works into Modern Greek, such as the Divine Comedy,Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On the Origins OfSpecies, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Thank you for visiting. I hope this finds you well — take care!
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…
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.
This morning was very misty and damp, just the right weather to go for a walk especially after having sat all day yesterday hunched up at the computer, teaching then illustrating my book.
The damp and humidity always remind me of Richmond Park, the area near where I grew up before moving to Cordova in southern Spain. (Why and how I made this move is explained inthis illustrated summary!)
So these were some of the things that were out early this morning, as well as me!
But to end on a literary note, and with reference to the myrtle in the above photos, I’ve included a poem about this bush. It was written by Mary Robinson, a very fascinating lady.
Hi Folks! Writing this while sipping my mug of Tetley’s (tea, not beer) and still dressed in my PJs and dressing gown.
Dressing gown because, can you believe it, there has been a marked drop in temperatures after the heavy storms that we, here in Cordova province (and the rest of Spain) experienced yesterday. So now 21 °C (69.8 °F) at 8 a.m. feels cool! (Don’t worry, next week we’ll be up around the 45 °C mark again = 113 °F !)
It really chucked it down! Just a few kilometres to the north of where I live (the countryside of Posadas), in the Sierra Morena Range the hailstones were as big as walnuts, while in the south, in the plains of the Guadalquivir River, the towns and villages suffered a real deluge. One village in particular, Ecija (which is about forty minute’s drive south from my house) was a real washout. Here is a short video, you need to click on the link (good practise for your Spanish too!):- https://cadenaser.com/emisora/2020/08/11/radio_sevilla/1597164448_152224.html
And Ecija, lying at about forty minutes’ drive from my house and actually in the province of Seville, is one of the hottest places in the Guadalquivir Valley, so much so that it is known as the ‘frying pan of Andalusia’! It is also known for its numerous church towers and steeples.
You can see the following link for some photos and also a brief overview of this historical and pretty town. There are loads of places to visit, ranging from the many churches, convents, manors, museums and archaeological sites. This link also includes an audio / video guide of some of the main places: http://www.turismoecija.com/en/
Anyway, the storm once it passed, also left behind an impressive sky:
And apart from the castle, I can also see from my bedroom bay window (where I am now sitting) the manure heap next to my vegetable patch. (What a lovely sight!) This is a very useful view because I can tell first thing in the morning whether there has been any wild boar activity at night (they are nocturnal creatures!). Just two nights ago I spotted him at about three in the morning, snorting and hoofing this manure pile and he was just inches away from the chicken wire that encircles my vegetable garden. I had to shout out loudly in order to scare him away — this also woke up Zeus and Dingo who started barking madly at him (from a distance, so luckily he wasn’t able to gatecrash my aubergine, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, chard and wilting spinach — the temperatures have been hot!).
Anyway, this morning it was my intention to write a humorous article about some of my first teaching experiences in Cordova (awful), but I think I’d better leave that for another day. For now, I will go for a cold shower (cold because it’s cloudy and there hasn’t been enough electricity generated by the solar panels to heat the water nor work the hairdryer, though we do have forty-five panels, eight huge batteries and two very noisy converters!). So after my cold shower I will go for a walk to the Sierrezuela Hills (you can read about this if you like in my earlier blogs entitled the Sierrezuela…. https://anenglishladyincordova.home.blog/2020/02/05/the-sierrezuela-posadas-cordoba-spain/), and there I will collect some flat, round stones to paint. (English classes in serious dwindle due to Covid.)
So I shall leave off for now, hoping this finds you all in good health and spirits.
Thank you for visiting me, and as usual, I am always welcome to any comments and questions.
Our country abode in the countryside of Posadas (province of Cordova in Andalusia) is blessed with many porches, and so I in turn am blessed with many wide, expansive views. I have also been blessed with the gift of acquisitioning and upcycling things that others don’t want, and that is how I have come to own numerous plastic but comfortable green chairs on each porch. Though I haven’t as yet given them that promised lick of paint nor crotchet cushions, I am very spoilt by the choice of where I can sit. One porch faces north, another south and the other two look out to the east and west; and each one offers its own particular usefulness depending on the season. All of them offer panoramic views of landscape, as well as glimpses of secretive, nocturnal animals, and also of distant villages overflowing with historical content. (If you ever get the chance to visit this neck of the woods, you should!)
The porch that faces north is great for summer when the object of hiding from the machine-gunning sun is a question of life and death. More shade is afforded by the shaggy mulberry tree that dips its leafy fronds low and in plentiful array. The green mulberries ripen fat and sweet and it’s an annual competition to see who gets to eat them first: me or the noisy, squawking Mediterranean azure-winged magpies that alight in gregarious flocks onto the dipping branches.
The birds’ gregarious nature and strident, insistent calls also give them away, screeching out at early daybreak, waking you with a start on a ‘lazy-lie-in’ Sunday morning.
However, these blue-winged creatures haven’t always been Spanish nationals, or natives of central and southern Iberia—they apparently originated in the Far East. It is believed that Marco Polo (or his later Spanish counterpart, Cristobal Colón and his troupe of Portuguese mariners aboard the Pinta, Niña or Santa María) must have brought back these birds via the Silk Route. They now abound in inland Andalusia, but for some reason they avoid Gibraltar: perhaps they are scared away by the tailless North African Barbary macaque apes that inhabit The Rock. It is thought that the apes swung and knuckle-walked over from Africa about five million years ago, and were also imported into Spain by the 8th century North African invaders. Once here, they stayed. According to the Spanish historian, Ignacio López deAyala: ‘Neither the incursions of Moor, the Spaniards nor the English, nor cannon nor bomb of either have been able to dislodge them’, (from his History of Gibraltar, 1782).
There is also the eastern porch. This is a great place to contemplate the swollen, fried-egg sunrises which herald a sizzling day; but in winter, the yellow yolk loses intensity and is diluted by the mist and humidity that hang in the chilly air.
There is also the western porch from where you can observe the pomegranate sunsets: burnished gold gives way to rose-tinted apricot and orange hues and these stains are suffused with bloody reds and indigo-purples before being finally ingested by the Prussian-blue sky.
When the last traces of the cobalt-violets have eventually been absorbed by the dusky infinity, the sky comes alive with a myriad of glistening stars—some aluminiumy, others more amber.
But the red-orange of Mars and the splendent, white-yellow of Venus are always distinct from the rest. (Many times I have made a wish when, during one of my numerous night-time vigils—often accompanied by a huffing hedgehog or a ghost or two—I have spotted a shooting star carving a brilliant curve in the darkness as it wields its way towards finality.)
But it is the southern porch that I like the most. It is the one where I have spent endless hours under the shade of the centenarian olive tree, helping my children with their homework, or playing cards, scrabble and monopoly with them; or just simply painting stones together. This porch also affords long and lengthy views over the hilly olive groves that sink down and gradually flatten out to form part of the level plains of the Guadalquivir Valley.
And looking eastwards, one can spy the enchanted castle of Almodóvar del Rio perched high on La Floresta hill (mentioned in a previous blog of mine).
Well, that’s all for now folks — hope you enjoyed reading / looking, and I’ll be back soon with some more descriptions of where and how I live…
The other day I braved the 37° C temperatures (= 98,6 F) to go for a short stroll along the country track that leads out of my home and wends its way past other fincas…
The stony track passes land populated bycork oak trees. They have been stripped of their bark — a process which occurs every seven years. (When the trucks do take the chunks of cork away, some inevitably fall onto the path, so I pick some of them up and use them for painting:-)
The fresh bark underneath is a lovely red oxide.
Flowers of the carrot family and other cousins of these umbelliferous plants stand proud above the baby blue and pale purple scabious.
The dark seed in the centre contrasts with the white flower, almost seeming as if there is an insect poised there.
The grasses that were bluish-green only a couple of weeks ago have already gone to seed as they are now dry and bristly. (Best to wear trousers and not shorts like I did!)
The fragrant myrtle is also in flower. Reminds me of William Blake’s poem In a Myrtle Shade:
Why should I be bound to thee,
O my lovely Myrtle-tree?
Love, free Love, cannot be bound
To any tree that grows on ground…
Some trees have died, but make beautiful, natural sculptures with their twisted, distorted branches and outstretched gnarled fingers.
Cows gaze mutely at me as I pass by…
…simply turning their heads inquiringly.
There is a small, whitewashed cottage where the track bends to the right — it peeps out from behind the majestic cork tree.
Through a clearing between the cork and olive trees and the pistacia bushes, you can just spy the castle of Almodóvar del Río in the distance.