Thursday, 31 January 2013

The art of the unusual

Amy/Ottoline sent me a large collection of photos that are excellent examples of human creativity. I selected the ones I liked best:

Thank you, Amy.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Last night Pirouette came in through the cat flap in a tearing hurry and rushed upstairs for protection, always listening and watching the stairs. Later on, Peter found the flap bit of the contraption by the entrance to the kitchen, a good 8ft away from the door... Pirouette must have hit it at great speed!

We think the problem is the cat nextdoor. She was a lovely little kitten back in the summer and now she's in heat. We had Pirouette "done" as soon as she was old enough and we remember the vet's receptionist (lovely Régine) remarking that a female cat in heat who's not allowed to mate is a very pitiful sight. We have been hearing the poor thing yowling for days now.

Pirate doesn't pay any attention to it, as he's been neutered and prefers long walks to the pleasures of the flesh... But we have a gang of very aggressive, whole males around here and I'm sure they're aware of the poor damsel in distress. Pirouette probably went out for a call of nature and encountered a bunch of horny cats hanging around!

There are seven cats in this building and the only ones allowed out are Pirate and Pirouette. If these other cat owners are so mindful of the (very quiet) road and so very protective, wouldn't it make sense to pay a visit to our charming local vet (hey, TW!), spend 85 euros and avoid having their pets in distress?

[The pictures are not of the actual cats, just lookalikes I found on the internet.]

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Magic hands

I have featured Guido Daniele's hand art before, but I found some new examples and would like to share them with you.

Guido Daniele at work

The first photo shows some of the old paintings:

The following are new to me:

Monday, 28 January 2013


After the weekend travels in Spain, with a veritable photo fest, today we'll have a very simple but lovely picture...

Sunday, 27 January 2013


I'm still in a very Spanish mood, so let's continue our little trip to Andalucia. I mentioned some bits and pieces on the last thread, but I think it's better to illustrate the historical facts with some pictures.

El Alhambra and Generalife

The Moors ruled southern Spain for 800 years and were finally kicked out by Fernando and Isabel, los Reyes Catolicos. When the last Moorish ruler left Granada, he went to the top of the minaret in the city's outskirts, looked back and wept. His mother said to him: "Now you cry like a baby over what you couldn't defend like a man."

The Arabs left some precious gifts: Fantastic architecture and flamenco music.


The mosque of Cordoba is considered the most magnificent outside Mecca. Isabel la Catolica planted a catholic altar bang in the middle of it after she got rid of the Moors.

This altar would look OK in some other place...


Seville is very beautiful (incredibly hot in the summer) and I'm particularly fond of the Sevillanas, the local music.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Las Alpujarras

My maternal grandparents were born in Granada, Spain. I still have many cousins over there and have visited the family a few times. One memorable trip was in 1979, my first, when I was still married to my first husband, Martin. Most of my mother's cousins were still alive and there were many young second cousins, making the family gatherings nothing short of epic. We counted 33 people at a restaurant where all the tables had to be joined to accommodate us!

One of my mothers' cousins, Paco, was a salesman for a wine producer of the Denominación de Origen Valdepeñas. His patch covered an area called Las Alpujarras, on the Sierra Nevada. He invited us to go with him on his rounds so we could see the lovely whitewashed houses adorned with geraniums, the narrow streets and all that. So we went.

The first couple of villages were OK, not too high, but Paco's enthusiastic style of driving on those narrow, winding mountain roads was beginning to alarm us, especially as we were due to climb higher and higher. Martin was turning a funny shade of green and we were definitely scared. We were stuck with Paco until he finished his rounds and the only solution at that point was to start joining in the wine tasting. The wines were excellent and if we plunged down the mountain, at least we would be too merry to care!