festivals

so we arrived in vejer to the celebration of ‘corpus christi’ in town, and  ended our trip with  ‘noches de velas’  – an amazing fete of hanging hundreds of candles around the streets of the old town and especially in the main square, plaza espana – accompanied by a group of singers sat in the middle of the candles.   what a splendid sight, though marred by the hundreds of visitors visiting the town to catch the atmosphere – all the street lights were turned off, so the town looked romantically medieval.   how lovely it would have been to have had the town candlelit minus all the visitors.   vejer definitely knows how to do a festival!

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chelsea flower show

made it to the flower show -always incredibly busy when you first go in, but much more comfortable and less crowded as the early evening draws in.  i always get garden envy – wondering why my tiny little plot is not as neat or bursting with flowers as these are, but then tell myself that these are show gardens intended to entice you.  so much inspiration  – from sheds, to pots, to meadows and flowers – there was definitely a more wild flowers meadow feel with beautiful rich tones of burnt orange and rust.

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modern usage of our churches

earlier this week we went to see  branford marsalis at the union chapel – what an amazing venue!    and what an unusual evening, branford played solo sax for an hour and half – some were classical pieces, some were jazzy, and some were quite strange wanderings into almost sci fi film track sounding music….. all adds to my education of jazz musicians…….

churches now have to be very flexible with their uses  – with high maintenance costs, they are all opening their doors to help pay the bills.  the actors church, st paul’s church, in covent garden has its own theatre company, so look out for future productions. the garden is haven in the midst of the bustle of the market .

its lovely to walk around smithfields on a sunday when its quiet and explore – its strange how tranquil parts of london become on a weekend; but if you are there in the week, its good to visit st bartholomew the great – its a beautiful old church originating from the 12C – the cafe is open for breakfast and some evenings its open for cocktails – its very atmospheric! i saw a spectacular theatre performance there, so keep an eye out for events that go on there.

st lukes church in old street is a hawksmoor church that also holds lot of concerts and workshops, and its where the london symphony orchestra hold their rehearsals.  natalie (alfie’s girlfriend) actually sang a solo there recently with the camden youth jazz band.

st pancras old church, which has been a place of worship since the 4th century,  is another atmospheric church that holds concerts.

i first saw st barnabas church in soho recently and was taken back by this gem of a church right in the busy centre;  its attached to a member’s club now,  but non profit making aiding homeless people into work;  there is also the added benefit of a beautiful garden.

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vejer and feria

if you are in and around the area of vejer del la fronterra, then you must visit the annual april feria that occurs 10 days after easter.  its on this weekend whilst i am here.  its a mini version of the seville feria, which if you have never seen is just spectacular, horses and carriages,  flamenco dresses and full of colour and splendour;  vejer’s feria is held in the new town, which is only 15 mins walk from my house, but mainly consists of a few casitas (tents for eating drinking and dancing) and an enormous fairground!  but for 4 nights there will be numerous flamenco shows and horse riding events.   the local school children clamber on their floats and there is a procession through the old town to the new town – there are so many festival days in spain, you need to check the calendars before you go so that you can watch them – there is a feria in almost every town in spain at some time of the year – its what makes Spain a wonderful country still steeped in tradition and fun.

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international women’s day

today is officially named international women’s day to celebrate equality for women, from simply being more appreciated, respected and loved to acknowledging economic, social and political achievements – i think that every day should be like this whether you are female or not!

i have started to volunteer at the bay tree centre in brixton – a centre for women and their daughters of all nationalities to go and learn english, further their studies in the essentials of education – reading, science and other skills, but also fun activities like cooking, dancing and art.  there is a strong emphasis on social inclusion, encouraging equality in development. girls can be appointed mentors, who help with homework, especially for those whose parents dont speak english.  its a lovely vibrant centre to be part of – my daughter has mentored a 12 year old little chinese girl there for the past year and introduced me to it.  they is always a need for volunteers  – you only need to offer an hour a week, every little helps.

i have lots of inspiring female friends – too many to mention, but Pip has always been my patient and beautiful muse from my very first photograph professionally to my new discovery of watercolours.

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mothers day

did you know that we have been celebrating mothering sunday since the 16Century?  in the UK, mothers day always falls on the 4th sunday of Lent, which is why it never falls on the same day each year.

Mothering Sunday was also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday‘, Pudding Pie Sunday (in Surrey, England) or ‘Mid-Lent Sunday‘. It was a day in Lent when the fasting rules were relaxed, in honour of the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’, a story in the Christian Bible.

today, it feels like another form of commercialism and something that you ought to do because everybody else does it – i think that every day we should remember how special mothers are – their job at times is a thankless task that we all take for granted.  today my children are cooking me a 5 course chinese lunch, can’t wait!

in chichicastanago, guatamala the flower girls strewn their flowers for sale on the famed church steps – the petals were used as part of the religious thanks.  it was such a memorable place – its somewhere i would want to visit again.

whatever you are doing, have a lovely day!

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i still remember these lovely flowers that maude picked from our garden and sweetly put them in a egg cup – such a precious little thing and such a good idea for putting your flowers in!