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

A misty walk and things were out…

Hello all — I hope you are keeping well.

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 in this illustrated summary!)

A misty day by Adams Pond in Richmond Park near the Sheen Gates entrance. This was taken in November last year when I was there visiting my mother and brother and I am longing to return as soon as this Covid rubbish is beaten! There are some lovely photos of the park in their Facebook page
Anyway, the morning here in the countryside of Posadas (Cordova) was fresh, dewy and the mist was out
as was the verdigris lichen
and dew on the prickly, wild asparagus bush.
The cows were also out, some sheltering under the olive trees…
…and the flowers on the wild rosemary that was growing between the cracks in the schist were also out
…as were the small, wild ‘acebuche’ olives…
…and myrtle berries…
…on their fragrant bushes.
The coppers were out too…
…and the humble acorns on the holly oaks.
The wild boar’s out as well and the earth next to my vegetable patch is all hoofed up again! And not too far away, as the mist lifts…
…the lads are out picking the young arbequina olives by hand (‘milking’ the trees)

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.

To the Myrtle by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800, England)

UNFADING branch of verdant hue,
In modest sweetness drest,
Shake off thy pearly tears of dew,
And decorate my breast.

Dear emblem of the constant mind,
Truth’s consecrated tree,
Still shall thy trembling blossoms find
A faithful friend in me.

Nor chilling breeze, nor drizzling rain
Thy glossy leaves can spoil,
Their sober beauties fresh remain
In every varying soil.

If e’er this aching heart of mine
A wand’ring thought should prove;
O, let thy branches round it twine,
And bind it fast to Love.

For ah ! the little fluttering thing,
Amidst LIFE’S tempest rude;
Has felt Affliction’s sharpest sting,
YET TRIUMPHS UNSUBDUED.

Like THEE it braves the wintry wind,
And mocks the storm’s fierce pow’r,
Tho’ from its HOPES the blast unkind,
Has torn each promis’d flow’r.

Tho’ round its fibres barb’rous fate
Has twin’d an icy spell;
Still in its central fires elate,
The purest passions dwell.

When LIFE’S disast’rous scene is fled,
This humble boon I crave;
Oh! bind your branches round my head,
AND BLOSSOM ON MY GRAVE.

Well, that’s all for now — thank you for visiting me. As usual I welcome any comments of questions.

Take care! xxx

And to finish with, last year’s misty, autumnal trees in Richmond Park

Sunrise, sunset (Posadas, Cordova)

Hello all! I just couldn’t resist putting up these photos of the morning sunrise and yesterday’s sunset. Rain’s forecast for today so it’s got a bit gloomy since then!

You can just spy the shadowy outline of the haunted castle of Almodóvar del Río in the distant left…
…but the sunrise wasn’t as bright as yesterday’s…
…though there was a lovely show of pinks and greys between the eucalyptus trees last evening at dusk

(You can see more of our local sunsets here and here)

Thank you for taking a look — take care! xxx

My photo-guided, very rainy walk to the Roman quarry in Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks! I hope you’re all keeping well.

As you might already know from my last blog, the weather here in Cordova has done a turn. From the 38° C hot, desert-like conditions to today’s 23° C thunder and rain.

The rain has been very heavy, so I did the thing that seemed most logical to me, which was to go for a walk. You know — ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’ sort of thing. (Or in my case, ‘mad dogs and Englishwomen’.) But at least I went armed with an undersized, telescopic umbrella the diameter of which wouldn’t even span my shoulders — and clad in a skimpy muscle tee-shirt despite the gale-force winds.

It had been a long time since I visited the Roman quarry, Cantera Honda, and being a former geologist, I was dying to delve back in the past. A past where after the sea receded from this part of the land in Cretaceous times, the ancient civilisations moved in: Stone Age man, the Celtiberians, Phoenicians, Romans, Moors etc. They left their mark upon the land — higher up on the ridge of the hills there are Stone Age dolmens, while lower down, the Romans quarried the land for stone from which they hewed out pillars that were then used in many of their palaces, temples and buildings. The pillars were rolled down the hill, carted by donkeys and loaded onto boats that then navigated their way along the Guadaquivir River eastwards to Cordova or westwards to Seville. (There are also many other mines in the vicinity of Roman, Moorish and modern age. More about that in another blog.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, being an enthusiast of geology, culture and history, I thought I would mosey on down there, take some unprofessional, blurry photos in the rain which I could then share with you. I hope you enjoy my ‘walk’!

WARNING: There are quite a lot of photos, and they are rather grey because of the grey weather!   

I left home when there seemed to be a ceasefire from the heavy showers
I parked alongside my son’s olive grove, but by this time it had already started spitting. The earth was red from the earlier rain
The path passed by mature olive trees, soon to be harvested…
…and by the many dwarf palms that populate these lower footslopes of the Sierrezuela. (You can eat their berries)
The colours became deeper as the sky gradually became more overcast.
This was the sky that was behind me, but steadily moving in my direction…
…but ahead of me, towards the ‘finca’ planted with new olive trees, things looked clearer.
I passed by loads of giant fennel which smelled so fennelly and aromatic after the rain
And there are wild fig trees growing straight out of cracks in the bedrock
I continued to walk westwards along this path, though the light became dimmer
I passed the bordering palm trees
I paused to look backwards over my shoulder, and I saw how the thunder clouds were quickly catching up with me. There was just one single beam of angelic light that was focusing down onto the village of Posadas in the distance
Onwards I pressed. I reached the sign directing me right to ‘Cantera Honda
and then a few steps ahead I came to the first ancient Roman column that had, with time, become half-buried in earth
And then there was a second just lying under a large pistacia bush
This poster told me I was now close to the quarry Cantera Honda (which is located on the local footpath of the Roman Paterna route)
I reached the entrance of the quarry, and yes, it was raining quite heavily now! (Nothing like taking photos in the rain!!)
Old columns and pillars hewn out from the quarry walls and shaped in rounded form by the Romans were strewn everywhere. (And now it was pouring — you can see the lines of rain if you look at the fig tree in the centre back)
More broken cylindrical rock up the side of the quarry (and more rain too, also noticeable !)
Above the quarry, broken columns just scattered the place, carelessly abandoned as if the Romans (or their slaves rather) had just upped it and left
and more broken columns…
…and yet more
and even more…still having kept their recognisable form after 2000-odd years. (If only stone could talk!)
I was up at the top of the quarry (being careful not to slip — there is no fence) — and by now it was pelting (as you can see in the photo)
I was thoroughly drenched by now despite my measly umbrella, and my photos were becoming increasingly blurry, so I decided that it was time to turn around and leg it back…
I pussyfooted over the squidgy puddles and fast-running rivulets
..and with every footstep I became increasingly wetter — and so did my fox!
The fields took on another semblance than that of before — new rivulets, and the higher fields awash with water: (talk about soil erosion!)
I headed back as fast as I could under the rumbling, menacing sky
…until soon I reached my haven. (At least the rains had washed it clean — about the first good wash it’s had all summer — I hate washing cars!!!)
I thought of taking my wet, muddy trousers off, but then again I thought, ‘Better not in case the ‘trafico’ road police are there doing spot checks on the cars. Could be embarrassing… but then I could always reply in my Englishy accent: «¡Oh, lo siento! No sé…» — pronounced, «Oh, low sientow! Know say», meaning «Oh, I’m sorry! I don’t know…»
And just as I started to drive off, the skies started clearing. Sod’s law!

However, it was an enjoyable morning when all said and done, and I’ve been able to share my experience and photos with you, which I hope you’ve enjoyed.

If something can be learned from my little escapade it’s this: have a nice mug of steaming Tetley’s as soon as you get back indoors (the tea that is, not the beer!).

Well, at least I won’t be needing a shower tonight!

Thank you for visiting. If you like what you have read, then you might want to read some more. My book An English Lady in Cordova – the Alternative Guide is available from here. (I’ve finally learnt how to do the ‘Here’ thing!)

I welcome your comments and questions.

Take care and bye for now! xxx