I just wanted to share with you a photo of the first blossom to open on my pear tree (here in my country abode near Posadas village in the province of Cordova).
But how could I not include a poem about a pear tree? So here it is:
The Pear Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay
In this squalid, dirty dooryard,
Where the chickens scratch and run,
White, incredible, the pear tree
Stands apart and takes the sun,
Mindful of the eyes upon it,
Vain of its new holiness,
Like the waste-man’s little daughter
In her first communion dress.
And here is the lady herself:
‘Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American lyrical poet and playwright. Encouraged to read the classics at home, she was too rebellious to make a success of formal education, but she won poetry prizes from an early age, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1923, and went on to use verse as a medium for her feminist activism.’ (Wiki)
Hi folks! I hope you are all coping okay, especially in these worrying and sad times…
I just wanted to share a couple of photos with you from my early morning walk, here in my local countryside of Posadas (a village in the province of Andalusia, lying about 35 miles west of the historic town of Córdoba).
As you can see, I was well-accompanied by my six of my fifteen (I think) cats.
“How we behave towards cats here below, determines our status in heaven.”
— Robert A. Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) an American science fiction author, aeronautical engineer and naval officer. Together with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the «Big Three» of English-language science fiction authors. His works include Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
When I arrived back, my (destructive) mastiff puppies were only too pleased to help me untie my laces!
«The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man’s.»
— Mark Twain; his real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), was an American writer, humourist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the «greatest humourist the United States has produced», and «the father of American literature.” His novels included The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884).
(However, judging by the above photo, I’m not so sure about the gentleman bit!)
Before I sign off though, I just wanted to share a site I found and now love on the homemade-crafts Etsy shop, called Costurero Real. No, I’m not promoting myself, nor a friend or relative, but just some lovely hair slides that I came across when looking for a clip for my hair. He or she does some beautiful work, and I’ll be buying the blue butterfly for my hair. It’s so pretty! I love butterflies, and though it might be a bit young for my age, I just can’t resist it! You can see his or her workby clicking here.
(I’m going to order the blue one). They also have leather leaves and moths and butterfly capes! All very lovely and woodlandy!
PS. I hope I’m not infringing any copyrights, but I think it’ll be alright as I am sort-of advertising for them…
Well, that’s all for now. As usual, your comments are always welcome, I love the interaction!
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!
I just wanted to share a couple of photos with you of the first carnation that has flowered in my garden, here in the countryside of Posadas (in the province of Córdoba — Andalusia).
So here they are (simple, as photography is not really my thing. I used my Samsung whatever- the-model-is mobile).
The flower also reminded me of Pablo Neruda’s pretty poem, I do not love you:
XVII I Do Not Love You
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
Pablo Neruda was his pen name; true name was Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. A Chilean poet-diplomat and politician and former senator of the Republic of Chile who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. In short, a colourful character (and no, I’m not a communist, in case you’re thinking — but yes, perhaps his demise from prostate cancer or possible poisoning under Pinochet’s orders seems questionable…hmmmm…)
As for the etymology of the word, the scientific name for carnation is dianthus and can be split into two words which reveal it meaning: dios meaning God, and Anthos meaning flower, making them the flowers of the gods. These flowers generally represent:
As for the symbolism, there are some interesting ideas, though I will only mention a couple here:
Ancient Roman Legend: According to legend, the carnation flower appeared after the Crucifixion of Christ. When mother Mary wept at the death of her son, her tears fell to the earth. Carnations sprang forth from each spot where Mary’s tears stained the earth. This legend lends credence to the theory that the carnation earned its name from incarnation.
Victorian: During Victorian times, flowers often sent a secret, coded message to a suitor or secret admirer. Sometimes, they also answered a secret question. A solid-coloured carnation meant the answer was “yes”. A striped carnation signified “I’m sorry, but I can’t be with you.” A yellow carnation symbolized “No”.
Other meanings according to colours are:
Red: Deep Love and Admiration
White: Pure Love and Good Luck
Pink: A Mother’s Love
Yellow: Disappointment or Rejection
Striped: Rejection or Regret
So, in other words, my yellow and red striped carnation would mean Deep Love and Admiration with a bit of Disappointment or Rejection. Oh dear — does that sum up my love life, I wonder?
Anyway, I shan’t waffle on anymore, so at this point I shall say thanks for visiting and do take care! xxx
(As usual, your comments and/or questions are always welcome!)
Well, it’s that time of year again! And when I say ‘That time’, I mean olive picking time!
My son has been busy: firstly he and his friend picked some of the trees on the flatter ground around our house. The trees are old and beautiful, what with their greyish, twisted, gnarling trunks — each one different, individual, possessing its own character and personality.
The trees are ‘secano’ meaning dry, not irrigated and are also grown ecologically (no chemicals, pesticides etc.) The variety of olive is ‘lechin’ — this is an ovoidal and slightly asymmetric olive and the leaves are elliptical, short and of medium width. It is considered a variety of rustic olive, with cold tolerance, very good adaptation to limestone soils and very high resistance to drought.
As you can see from the photos, these were picked by hand. The branches were vigorously beaten with long, light and very strong fibreglass poles. The olives fell onto the large nets which were spread around the base of the tree and then these were gathered up and tipped straight into a trailer.
Meanwhile, I looked on eagerly…
The boys worked from 8:30 am to about 5 pm, (stopping to have a hearty lunch of green pepper, onion and nutty macaroni cheese, with homemade chips cooked Italian-style in olive oil and butter and seasoned with plenty of salt, garlic and rosemary; this was followed by a generous chunk of my homemade apple cake, the recipe of which I have included below).
The lunch certainly recharged their batteries, and by the time they finished work, they had picked 550 kilos!!! The following day they drove the olives to the local press in Posadas and the fruit was converted to olive oil — thick, greeny-gold and strong-smelling, still with bits of olive debris floating about which eventually settles to the bottom (i.e. unrefined, first-pressing, virginal and in all its purity — like I used to be!). The booty was equally divided between the two boys, so now we have about 10 x 5-litre bottles of gorgeous oil, which should keep us going for a while!
Last weekend there was more olive picking in my son’s finca (located on the foothills of the Sierrezuela), but this time, because the olive trees are still fairly small, being only three years old and planted as semi-intensive, the tractor was called in to pick them. This was fascinating for me because I have never seen one of these 3 &1/2 m tall giants at work. It passes over the trees and vibrates them with it ‘jaws’ while at the same time, guzzles up all the olives. No wonder these tractors are so expensive — this one’s price was 250.000 € (about £210.000!).
When the deposit is full of olives, it then spews out its contents into the hungry truck that awaits close by.
The work commenced at 8am and by 3 p.m. they finished (just as well, since the tractor charges a hefty price per hour!). Mind you, this will only be the method for the next year or two, while the olive trees can fit under the tractor. The idea is to let these grow tall and big so that they can be picked by hand when they are more mature. I think that the olives weighed in at a handsome 5000, more or less and will also be used for oil. The variety of olive is ‘arberquina’, a smaller, rounder olive that produces a sweet oil with no bitter aftertaste and gives fruity aromas, like banana and apple. It has a soft, sweet aroma.
So we had some enjoyable and profitable days! But not so fast — it’ll be my turn for action soon, once I have picked some olives that have turned from green to black. I will prepare them Greek style, that is by first preserving them under salt for about three weeks (after having previously put a cut in each one), and when they have dried and become all wrinkly, I will wash all the salt away, dry them thoroughly, then pack them into jars and perhaps top with some oil and maybe flavour with oregano. They are delicious! See this link for photos of the process.
Anyway, I think I’ve gone on for long enough for now!
Thank you for visiting! Your comments and/or questions are always welcome…
Hello folks — I hope that you are all in good health and spirits…
In this month of November, we remember those who have gone before us. We wear paper poppies in our lapels and pockets, and we visit the cemetery and attend special masses.
Unfortunately, when I returned home to my country abode in Posadas (Cordova), I missed out on the cemetery visit and special masses offered up by our lovely priest, Father José Miguel Bracero, because I have since been unwell with bad migraines, which are not only painful but can be quite dizzying, so was unable to attend nor able to get back into my usual swing of things. Nevermind — patience, perseverance, positivity and faith are my golden words, so soon I’ll be back to normal and make up for lost time!
However, I did go to visit a couple of cemeteries on my last days in England, to pay my respects. I have always loved to spend time in these green and countrified places, wandering around the graves that are shaded by trees and hung over by branches. I like to read the names and epitaphs, stopping to wonder about those lives that went before us. As I spend time there serenely, I’m sure that I can feel those spirits and souls that surround and accompany me, and because of this, it is easier to ‘connect’ with them and even pray for their happy departure from this world to the next.
The graves of my grandparents, father and uncle are also in one of these cemeteries, not far from the WWII bomb shelter; they lie under two weeping willows. In painful contrast, two graves stretch out either side; they belong to war soldiers — a gunner who was only 18 when shot down in his plane, and a 21-year-old sergeant. I can’t help shedding a tear for them and saying a prayer for not only these two young soldiers, but also for the hundreds that lie buried just a few metres away; their graves are marked by white crosses and a single red rose. It is nostalgic and emotional, as was the visit I once made to Normandy and the village ofSainte-Mère-Eglise, a land which is one great cemetery for all the fallen of the war. The village is like a museum, commemorating these soldiers.
I swear that just wandering over these lands I could feel my skin forming goosepimples as an incredible sadness washed over me… and this was even before I knew the history of this area…
Anyway, to get back to my local English cemeteries — I do love them! Perhaps because I became used to spending time in them when, as a child, I used to play in the one that separated my primary school, St Mary Magdalen, from the church with the same name — (more about this enigmatic character, the first apostle, in another blog).
This cemetery that lies between the church and the school provided us primary school kids with hours of fun as we sat, talked, laughed and played on the graves; we also did many headstone ‘rubbings’, immortalising the dead. I don’t think we were disrespectful in doing this — on the contrary, I think all those souls probably enjoyed our young, innocent laughter and goings-on!
Perhaps it is also because of this, that many times I feel a particular connection to certain souls and can feel their presence around me if I try. Generally, it is a very comforting and reassuring feeling… I think it is also important that the past is never forgotten, and so the month of November — also my birthday month! — is a special time set aside for remembering and honouring our faithfully departed.
Anyway, to end, I would just like to finish with a poem by Robert Laurence Binyon, dedicated to the fallen:—
For the Fallen
Robert Laurence Binyon(Lancaster 1869-1943)
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, England mourns for her dead across the sea. Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, Fallen in the cause of the free. Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, There is music in the midst of desolation And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound, Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, To the innermost heart of their own land they are known As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.
Thank you for reading — Happy November! Take care xxx
Hi folks! Hope this finds you in good health and spirits…
I just wanted to share some dawn clouds with you because this is like sharing the hope and promise that the day might be a little cooler… but actually, this is not so, as the temperatures have been forecast to hit the 48° C (118.4° F mark by next week). Yikes!!!
But, how could I leave off without a poem honouring the clouds. This time, it’s Percy Bysshe Shelley:-
THE CLOUD — Percy Bysshe Shelley
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ‘tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o’er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent’s thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.
I bind the Sun’s throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon’s with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-coloured bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.
Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English romantic poet, dramatist, essayist and novelist. He was described by American literary critic, Harold Bloom as «a superb craftsman, a lyric poet without rival, and surely one of the most advanced sceptical intellects ever to write a poem.» For more on his biography, you can take a look at this Poetry Foundation link.
Last but not least — though bewarned, this has nothing to do with clouds and Shelley — I have been breaking up this monotony of heat by being frivolous and painting my nails! (See the photos below for proof!!!)
As prewarned, here are my frivolously painted nails (ha ha!) — not the most appropriate for rummaging about in my vegetable patch! However, due to the poor photography you can’t really appreciate them in their full glory, nor could I bear to go out in the heat again to take another photo!!!
It’s an intense week here in Spain being Easter week. Unfortunately the numerous processions which take place every day in almost every city, town and village have been cancelled for the second year running due to Covid. However, there is a lot that the church has organised that you can take part in, in a controlled, safe way, complying with all the regulations — meditations, contemplation, talks, prayers, retreats, expositions, just to name a few.
So for now I would just like to share with you some photos of the statues and floats that are usually paraded along the streets; these are typically accompanied by the brass band and rows of hooded penitents that quietly shuffle along. To see more photos and read about the processions you can visitmy previous blog which I wrote last Easter Sunday.
This huge poster hangs from the façade of the parish church,Santa María de las Flores in Posadas. It reads:
‘Padre en tus manos enconmiendo mi espiritú…Yo soy la resurrección, la vida: el que cree en mi aunque haya muerto, vivirá… El que quiera siguirme, que se niegue a sí mismo, tome su cruz y me siga…’
which translates as:
‘Father into your hands I commend my spirit… I am the resurrection and the life: he who believes in me although having died, will live again… Whoever wants to follow me, let him renounce himself, carry his cross and follow me…’
The above photo is a representation of the Last Supper table. This is inside the parish church,Santa María de Las Flores in Posadas.
The following impressive statue of Mary, La Virgen de la Misericordia is in San Pedro church of Cordova.
I understand that all this might not be your cup of tea, but one just can’t help but appreciate the amount of artistic work and total devotion and dedication that these processions involve — take, for example, Mary’s cloak which is richly hand-embroidered — and that’s nothing to say about the woodwork, flower arrangements and craftsmanship in precious metals. Nor does it involve just this outward expression: it is accompanied by a quiet strength of faith, prayer, reflection and interiorism. It is a week of living and breathing the Word — a poignant and emotive time which culminates and comes to fruition on Easter Sunday.
Well, this just leaves me to early wish you all a Happy Easter and to wish you well.