canos de meca

fortunately the weather can change rapidly in spain, it can be torrential rain one day and then bikini weather the next;  the region around vejer has many unspoilt beaches, its what people come to the area for.   i would never recommend canos in the summer, far too busy and hectic – but out of season, its stunning beaches a short walk down the cliff tops are beautiful at sunset.   drive up to the hotel mar de frente, at the far end which borders the beautiful pine forest – looks a perfect spot to stay and at reasonable prices.  note that the far end beach is nudist though!!! castillejos bungalows also look interesting if you are looking for budget accomodation with views of the sea.  our favourite thing to do is eat seafood at the wonderful el campero and then drive onto canos de meca through the pine forest.

the unspoilt beaches of trafalgar are also high on the list – i noticed that they now have put a car park near the road, which i strongly recommend – you used to be able to drive right up to the lighthouse, but no longer.

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gabriel garcia marquez

i was really saddened to hear that Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died and so there wont be any more great novels by him .  i recently re read Love in the time of Cholera during my visit to Cartagena, which has to be one of my all time favourite love stories.  fortunately he has written so many timeless novels, you can always go back and read them again.

If you are looking for a short read, try the Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novella  ‘Memories of My Melancholy Whores’ – its a great weekend size book.  Its an intriguing novella of a very old man rediscovering life and love and was his last written piece.

For a fascinating insight to the lives of young women refugees in Palestine, you must read ‘Red Tent, by Anita Diamant,  the dynamic of suffering and renewed hope through friendship is the book’s main story.  ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, is another moving book, narrating the story through the characters of 2 women Mariam and Laila.  There are chapters in this novel through which you will hold your breath, but the love, friendship, and spirit that grows between the characters makes this a remarkable read.

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sunset views from our terrace

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every sunset is different, the clouds and colours change – its what makes sunsets so special and worth seeing……

cezanne card players at somerset house

i just finished another term of life drawing at the working mens college – i always seem to miss a couple of classes in the term, but when i make it to the class, i always feel a sense of fulfilment.   its not always nudes, Janet changes the class format so that its more interesting.  i love it when clive and kit come in character – this image was inspired by cezannes card players, which you can see at the courtauld  gallery in somerset house.    we are usually given about half an hour to sketch, paint or draw whatever materials you feel like using, and then the models turn around to give another interesting pose and angle – practise definitely helps.

there are lots of adult institutes around the country offering drawing and life classes – go and join one next term, you will be amazed  at what you can achieve.

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rainy vejer

travelling is always a burden – i dont know why, you just sit there and should be able to relax, but it always seems stressful.  even getting to heathrow, our car was diverted due to a horse on the motorway, just as we were approaching the airport.   fortunately, robert is always cautious and we build in many more minutes than is necessary.

we arrived in gibraltar, but only just – apparently Gibraltar airport is one of the hardest runways to land a plane and only experienced pilots are allowed to do this;  with all this news of ships sinking and planes disappearing, of course its made me nervous travelling around.   we arrived to board the british airways flight, to discover that the plane was going to be diverted to malaga and not direct to gibraltar, due to bad weather, but in fact towards the end of the journey the plane decided to land in gibraltar.  of course we were happier about this decision, as it saved a 2 hour delay on a coach.  however, there was lots of turbulence and the plane dipped and dropped, and then just as it was about to land, it ascended and accelerated suddenly, leaving a plane full of people including myself in panic (except of course maude who was watching the whole thing out of the window and calmly said, well we aren’t landing just yet then).  apparently, with the pockets of wind, there is sometimes too much turbulence to land, so pilots abort that landing and start off again!  its the first time that its happened to me, and hopefully it will be the last!

not only was it raining in vejer, but easter sunday is the day of the bull run through the streets of vejer – not a good day to arrive – the streets are closed off as a bull literally runs through the old town up to the new town and back, challenging visitors and locals to run with it.   we decided to head straight to the beach for lunch to pass away the time before venturing to our house.  i have to say, it can be a pain, but then i remember why i love andalucia for its traditions and passion, there always seems to be something in our town, whether it be processions, street markets or carnival floats, the colour and excitement of spain is always around.

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manchester

another flying visit to see my mother and my brother and I went to see a film in deansgate – i was shocked to see how the whole of the area around deansgate and castlefield  has been regenerated – there are definitely more places to eat and drink.   i also realised how much cheaper going to the cinema in manchester is compared to london, almost half price!   its great to see some of the old warehouses being preserved and converted into something useful, the print works is another example with cinema and entertainment.   i have never been to the hilton hotel, but this  newish high rise building is not only a hotel, but apparently there is a restaurant with great views of manchester on the level just before the building then becomes apartments.   its on my list of things to do in manchester.

elise has been my friend since i was 15 and still remains one of my closest – we have gone through so much in life,  from happy to sad times, boyfriends, marriage, birth, children and death – we are so similar that we still even buy the same things without either of us realising;  she has lived in the area of chorlton for over 22 years and how it has changed.   yesterday with the beautiful sun and holiday, everyone was sat out on the ever-growing  street cafes on beech road  - we ate lunch in the horse and jockey on chorlton green, perfect for lunch.   of course its sad that all the local amenities are disappearing, sadly the launderette became a restaurant last year, but its great that the area is young, vibrant and thriving.

i found these amazing pictures of my mother when she was younger – in the group picture, she is 2nd from the right.

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the crimson field

i missed watching this new series about volunteer nurses in the first world war, but fortunately with iplayer have managed to catch up.  it really does make you think how lucky we are these days without war….

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Poppies have long been used as a symbol of both sleep and death: sleep because of the opium extracted from them, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead.  Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep. This symbolism was evoked in the children’s novel The wonderful wizard of oz, in which a magical poppy field threatened to make the protagonists to sleep forever. Oddly, the poppy field affected the film’s characters in the same order the cast members actually died.

doesnt this poppy remind you of the folds of a velvet dress?


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