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!
Thank you for taking a look — take care! xxx
Hi folks! Firstly, I hope this find you all in good health and spirits.
Secondly — what I’ve been up to. Well, I’ve had a bit of a busy week what with teaching, writing and doing some of my craftwork — as well as a) straightening out my vegetable patch after the wild boar broke in again, and b) preparing the olives for marinating that I am picking from our trees. And so I would just like to share with you some photos of my progress. Starting with a):-
The first step in preparing the olives is to cut each one of them (you can also lightly crush them, or not cut them at all but place them in caustic soda for a while. I have never yet tried these last two methods.) As you can see, I had a little bit of help…
The olives in the photos were picked from my son’s young olive grove…
This grove lies just by the old cattle track, Cañada Real Soriana that skirts the foothills of the Sierrezuela de Guadalbaida, and the Roman quarry, Cantera Honda. It stretches approx. 500 miles, originating in Soria, NE of Madrid, then across the Sierra Morena continuing west to Seville, passing close to the Guadalquivir River and the Puente Romano (Roman bridge) in Cordova on the way.
Well, that’s all for this week. Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome.
Take care! xxx
Hi folks! Hope this finds you all in good health and spirits!
‘ART‘ has been the key word for Cordova (Córdoba) and my neighbouring village of Posadas these last couple of weeks.
Let me explain: the whole ‘art thing’ kicked off two weeks ago with the annual fast-painting competition in Cordova. The objective was to paint a picture of one of the town’s iconic patios in a maximum of eight hours. As you might already know, the patios of Cordova are famous for their balconies replete with hanging geraniums, pot plants, fountains, orange trees, pillars etc. (You can see my earliest blog for photos of typical patios, houses and courtyards.)
There were many talented, long-standing artists — and then there was my daughter too. (She likes a challenge, but I think she was also motivated by the first, second and third prizes of 5000, 3000 and 1000 euros!) At the ripe old age of twenty-two, she had never entered an art competition before, neither used acrylics, nor painted on a big canvas (56 cm x 70 cm, I think). Needless to say, she didn’t win, but I just couldn’t resist putting up the photos of her painting!
But this was not the only art event. Last week there was an invitation to the artists of the village of Posadas to display their works. This included items of crochet (photos of which I included in my last blog), as well as graffiti art, paintings on buildings and on the underpass below the rail tracks. (Posadas is well-communicated, with the train taking only eighteen minutes to Cordova, or in the other direction, fifty-five minutes to Seville.)
Here are some photos of the street paintings — they were taken by one of the locals of Posadas, Paco Martinez Herrera, a great painter, photographer, nature-lover and hiker! I asked his permission first, knowing that his photos are a class above mine (he has some lovely shots on his Facebook). Anyway, here are some of the village paintings:
The above and below paintings were on one of the buildings in the periurban park of the Sierrezuela in the hills adjacent to Posadas.
The underpass below the rail tracks was also painted using spray paints:
And in more detail…
There were even bird cut-outs flying above the Plaza de la Estación (Station Square), where my good friend Rosa runs a little bar, ‘Las Ciervas’ (The Deer), on the corner. The trees, by the way, are melias, commonly known as Pride of Persia. (But more about the nature, culture, history and my life here in Posadas and Cordova, in my book An English Lady in Cordova — the ‘Alternative’ Guide, if you like…)
And now for my humble effort at photography: the bird below was painted on the water tower of the neighbouring village, Rivero de Posadas, which lies at about 9 km (9.6 mi.) west of Posadas:
So over the last few days we have been treated to these beautiful works of art which will remain, decorating the village. Over the many years that I have been here, I have come to learn and appreciate the talent that you can find among the locals — from those who pursue art, crochet, needlework, lace-making, basket weaving to actors, musicians, singers, astrologers, mycologists, sports people, anthropologists, botanists, authors, etc., etc., etc., — and all found within a populace of approx. 7,350! One doesn’t get bored here! I’m eagerly waiting for my crochet and lace-making classes with the ‘abuelas’ (grandmothers) to restart…
And here’s how to get to Posadas: (taken from the city council’s page):
Anyway, by the time I got home, as if to wind up the lovely, colourful day the sky had also decided to display its own work of art…
Well, that’s it for now!
Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome — and take good care of yourselves! xxx
And my thanks once again to Paco Martinez Herrera for lending me his artistic photos and to the ‘ayuntamiento’ (council) for hosting the show!
“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.” Unknown
Hi folks! I hope this finds you all in good health and spirits.
It became a little cooler last week, so after working hard all day, what with giving my online English conversation classes and working on my next art & craft project, I thought I’d take an evening break and indulge in another one of my favourite pastimes. Crochet!!
Just as well I only thought about it, because as you can see from the following photos, my progress was soon hindered…
Well, that’s how my crocheting usually goes. I wonder if I’ll ever finish my cardi on time for this winter, especially since I’ve had to do one of the sleeves twice — the first time it looked more like a mutton leg!
Anyway, while on the subject of crochet, I just couldn’t resist showing you the following photos of a little bit of the work that the local crochet group do, here in my neighbouring village of Posadas (Cordova). (I will be posting much more of their work as Christmas approaches, as they do up the whole village in crochet, from Christmas trees with baubles and buntings, to the Nativity Scene, the Holy family and baby Jesus, a village scene of Jerusalem etc., etc., etc. But that’s all to come later.)
But coming back to the 18th century Ermita de Jesús — the little church in the first photo: I would just like to give it a mention as it has an interesting background:
Firstly, the belfry is not the original, but substitutes an earlier one which was situated adjacently, on the former Camino Real (The Royal Road). This route linked Cordova with Seville, and during the Moorish occupation of al-Andalus it formed part of the extensive Ruta Califal. Subsequently, after the reconquest of Spain, this was the route used by catholic monarchy, such as King Alfonso X ‘El Sabio’ (‘The Wise’) in 1262, or more recently by King Alfonso XIII (who reigned from 1902 till 1931). King Alfonso X was not the only monarch to travel along this Royal Road and lodge in Posadas del Rey: it is recorded that in 1438 Queen Juana stayed there prior to her marriage with Henry IV. Hence the name for the village, Posadas del Rey, which literally means Posadas of the King.
Below the chapel’s floor there are remains of Roman thermal springs, brick canals and cisterns with brick vaults, roofs and walls of mortar. The medicinal water from these springs was exploited at a later date. There were also remains of the walls of a pottery workshop that were constructed from rows of stone, brick, and finished with mortar edges.
It is thought that the Ermita de Jesús dates back to the 15th or 16th century, when it was probably called San Sebastian. During the early 17th century it fell into ruin, but was reopened soon after. However, in 1755, the great Lisbon earthquake seriously destroyed the belfry and roof, and so in 1786 (during the baroque period) the chapel was totally rebuilt. This was not the only damage the chapel suffered: during the Civil War, various religious icons and works of art were destroyed; however, these have since been replaced by new replicas.
The Ermita de Jesús is not without its legends. There is the story that recounts that in 1658, a donkey carrying the statue of La Virgen (The Virgin Mother) was led from Granada towards a certain destination. However, on crossing Posadas the donkey suddenly fell ill and died. The locals (Malenos) interpreted this as a sign from the Virgen Mary that the donkey and the icon of Our Blessed Virgin should stay in the village, and as a consequence they were placed in the chapel. At that time, the population of Posadas was in serious decline because of an outbreak of the plague, but after the arrival of the donkey and the statue of Our Lady, there was widespread recovery and so they named the statue, La Virgen de la Salud (where ‘salud’ means health). From then on, La Virgen de la Salud became the patron saint of Posadas.
Another miracle that has been passed down the generations is that which occurred in 1755, again the result of the Lisbon earthquake. The story goes that when the ground shook violently, the belfry was torn apart and fell heavily onto the adjacent kitchen of the church custodian’s house. His daughter was playing with an acorn in the kitchen at the time, but miraculously, she escaped unharmed, as he pulled her by the hand to safety.
But more about my local village of Posadas, its history, culture, legends, sights to see — and crochet! — in future blogs…
If you’d like to see and read more about this village, then you can have a look at the council’s webpage which also has an English translation.
Thank you for visiting me — take good care of yourselves! x
Hi folks! I hope this finds you all in good health and spirits, especially in these difficult and troubling times…
Well, I just wanted to share with you some photos of one of my walks — and yes, it does involve mines yet again! But there is a hint of humour in the last few photos, if you’ll bear with me. There is also a brief description of the mining history of this corner of Posadas which you can gloss over, if you’re that way inclined! So here goes…
I parked my car outside the mining complex then stepped over the wire which served as a gate. (At that point I didn’t notice any warning signs as to the potential danger of this area, i.e. pot holes, hollows and old shafts that had been covered over by a dusting of earth or a few tufts of coarse grass. Just as well I didn’t step on one or fall down a shaft!)
So that was my morning’s escapade, and I loved every minute of it! I will repeat it soon, but this time with my hardhat, geological hammer and picnic so that I can spend the whole day there, picking my way across dangerous pot holes, crevices and tottering chimneys, and sitting astride piggy-smelling slag heaps sorting through the spoils — and all to the sound of snorting and grunting. What an ideal day out that would make!
But before I go, I would just like to add a couple of paragraphs about the background of this area, for those of you who are interested in mining and history:
This group of mines situated in the countryside on east side of Posadas was collectively referred to as Los Cinco Amigos (The Five Friends). They belonged to the Calamón Group and they were mined for lead, zinc and silver. Some of them were originally Roman mines, as ancient utensils unearthed from the sites date the first exploitation back to that era.
The first license that granted use for mining was given in 1692. Subsequently in 1900 the English company, The Calamon Mining Company of Spain, exploited the mines, under the direction of John Power. (There was a lot of English mining in Spain during this era, from 1849 to 1920, totalling about 670 British companies, with the lion’s share, about 196 companies, in Andalusia with 28 mining companies in Cordova province itself. As a result, many English installations were set up, such as hospitals, cemeteries, parks, tennis courts etc., many of which still exist today.)
Likewise, John Power, who settled near the mineral port close to the train station in Posadas, built his villa with gardens and a tennis court, and named the complex ‘Los Menestrales’ (The Craftsmen), although it was popularly known then as ‘Jardin de los Ingleses’ (The Garden of the English).
However, during the First World War production ceased. This was probably due to the fact that the silver blende ores were smelted in conflict zones and there were no other foundries to take them to. Five hundred families in Posadas were left out of work. In 1916 the English company sold the business to the French Mining and Metallurgy Society ofPeñarroya — Société Minière et Métallurgique de Peñarroya, SMMP. (This mining village is situated in the northern part of the Cordova province in the Sierra Morena, about 66 miles as the crow flies. It was also mined extensively for coal and other metals, and consequently this large mining, chemical and industrial centre became a focus for bombing during the war. See here for my slide show of the village.)
Subsequently, due to the after-effects of WW1, such as the reduced market, the problems with transportation etc., these French-owned mines closed for good in 1922, and the associated installations, such as the overhead bleichert tramway and the electric plant, dismantled.
Other important factors for the general decline in British mining and investment in Andalusia as a whole could have been the result of cheap, Australian lead flooding the market; also The Spanish Royal Decree of 1921 required mine ownership to be totally Spanish.
Well, I think that’s a brief overview of these mines. Thank you for bearing with me if you have!
And thank you for visiting me! Take care xxx
PS. If you like what you have read, maybe you’d be interested in reading my illustrated, humorous/factual book: An English Lady in Cordova— the ‘Alternative’ Guide (available from me or from Etsy)
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!
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
At last the earth can quench its thirst!
Hope this finds you all well. Thank you for visiting!
Hello friends! This is just a quick, short post as I couldn’t resist sharing with you a few photos of my neighbour that visited me yesterday evening.
And here’s the little fella…
Meanwhile, there was some interest from my felines, Little Grey and Handbag, who spied him from near and afar. (‘Din-dins?’ they wondered)…
…but then there was Ginger who just couldn’t give a monkey’s…
Well, that’s all for now. As usual, I always welcome any comments or questions.
Hope this finds you in good health and spirits — bye for now! x
PS. If you’d like to read more of my stories, then you could check out my books: An English Lady in Cordova — the ‘Alternative’ Guide, or if you like juvenile fantasy/fiction, then Edward’s Secret and the Enchanted Throne might be just the ticket for you… (Both available together with my art work on my Etsy online shop: https://www.etsy.com/es/shop/GillysWork?ref=search_shop_redirect — the hand-decorated bottles are my friend’s work.)
Hi folks! Firstly, I hope this finds you all in good health and spirits — these are difficult and testing times that we are living. We all have to get on as best we can and keep our spirits up, not just for ourselves, but those around us. After all, we are all brothers and sisters, aren’t we?
Anyway, I haven’t written for a while because I have fallen in love…
… fallen in love with these acrylic paint pens that I bought a little time ago and I just can’t be parted from them…
So I wanted to share with you some of the things that I’ve painted since last I wrote…
Some of the smaller ‘golden’ stones with the flower motifs would be good as mosaic pieces, while the larger ones could serve as paperweights. I have written a description of where I got the stone from on the back, as a memento:–
Though the paint is water-resistant, I will be varnishing them before I then put them up for sale on my online shop and also a tourist shop in the Judería (Old Jewish Quarters) in Cordova town — that is, when the shop reopens again. Fingers crossed! (If you’re interested in any, then do let me know!)
We had a couple of promising cooler days last week where the temperatures only reached 33° C (= 91.4° F) so I painted outside in my D-garden. As you can see, I had some help (?) from my faithful friends, Sebastian and Little Grey.
However, temperatures have since risen to the 38° C mark (104° F), so I paint upstairs in my craft room, surrounded by heaps of inspiration, even if it is a little noisy due to the whirring and whining of the two inverters that have just been screwed to the wall and coupled up with the solar panels we have. (The price of electricity is EXORBITANT in Spain, notably so if you have 3-phase agricultural supply like we have. Our socialist president, Pedro Sanchez, really should do something about it, especially if he wants to win the next elections, which might be sooner than he thinks due to his handling of the Covid situation.)
Anyway, since painting stones has also involved quite a bit of sitting down, I decided that it was high time I went for a brisk walk, heat or no heat. So being a Sunday, I got up quite late, at around 8. (Also I slept late not only because of the evening heat that lingers, but because these days I usually end up doing some time of night-time vigil, watching over my vegetable patch as the wild boars still loom large. I usually hear the familiar grunts, but luckily the vegetables have remained unscathed. Fingers crossed again!)
So I just thought I’d share with you a couple of photos from my dry, dusty walk in the neighbouring hills of the Sierrezuela. (If you’d like to know more about this area or see more photos, then you can check out some of my earlier blogs with Sierrezuela in the title. Sorry, still haven’t worked out how to put ‘Here’ to direct you straight to the link, unlike the many other of you who have managed to work it out…)
Last but not least, here are a couple of photos of last evening’s sunset.
Well, I think that’s all for now. Thank you for reading and as usual I welcome any of your comments or questions.
Bye for now — take care! xxx
Who needs a lawnmower when you live in the country?…
Watch out for those olives on the trees! These animals will stop at nothing!
And make sure you leave in plenty of time in case you get held up by a tribe of goats crossing your path!
Thank you for visiting. Hope this finds you in good health and spirits!