Sunday, 19 February 2017

Apartment Artefacts I

Back to Blighty today with batteries recharged.  What happens when I go away is that ideas for things to write about flow freely.  I was struggling with subject matter for posts before the holiday but bam!  I've added nearly twenty items to my blogging list. They are not all about out Spanish trip by any means.

I've said before that the apartment we've been staying in is full of beautiful objects.  So inspirational! There's more than one post's worth on that list.  As a goodbye to the place I'm just going to share one thing today.  On a shelf in the living room there's this handmade book.  As you can see it's not made of paper but is ceramic in a wooden frame. And now I will let the story that is tells unfold. Thanks Google Translate

Your ability is infinite, said the bird to the girl.

Let's go, said the angel to the girl, taking her by the hand, to cross the river.

Sleep Mona with a field of blue apples. From one of these trees, a bird of colorful colors said. Your dreams, your thoughts, your life, do not forget that they are yours.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Little Luxury: Kid in Tow

Now I'm not a swanky kind of gal.  Some of this attitude is borne out of necessity.  My clinical job in the NHS means I don't do badly financially but there's still penny counting to be done.  There's also the fact that often I prefer the simpler things in life.  Said she who's just spent two days skiing.  Feel that irony!   But some of my favourite pleasures don't cost the earth: a good book,  a pint in a olde worlde pub, a charity shop find, staring out to sea or swimming in it, a meal cooked by a thoughtful friend, making stuff -  you get the picture.  Aside from plenty of travelling I wonder what would change if I were wealthy.

I might visit more spas as I love 'em.  Remember the nudie one in the US which changed my concept of body image for the better ?  Here's my latest find, the Hammam Al Andalus in Grenada where swimwear is compulsory.  A blessed thing I suppose as  I booked a package there for me and Louis.   Unless he chooses to walk in on me in a state of undress because he has an pressing need for a phone charger or something,  parental nakedness is a no no these days.

Before we went to the Hamman,  I explained, oh three times, that this was a grown up tranquil place.  I made Louis swear, on pain of death, that he wouldn't play sharks.  We had a glorious time here in a place that has been built on the site of ancient Arabic baths.  It's exquisite with kind professional staff.  I think that these guys copied their Roman predecessors because there are pools of varying temperatures.  We had a couple of quick dips in the cold pool to be brave but mainly confined ourselves to the beautifully tiled hot and medium ones.  And a fifteen minute massage with red amber oil was included in the price.  

In the main my pre-visit  threats were effective. Louis  behaved like a grown up.  All except for one moment where my navel gazing floatation was interrupted by an 'attack' from below.  For teenage year are an odd mix of the childish and little adults.   'I told you not to play sharks!'  I whispered.  'I' m not.  I'm a submarine' said the boy!

Friday, 17 February 2017

On Piste

Five years ago, give or take a day or two,  I snapped my cruciate ligament in an Andorran ski slope.  A year later I managed a brief return to the slopes after strengthening the surrounding muscles so the knee didn't need a ligament to support it.  I then lost fitness at a time when fatigue scuppered exercise.

So three years ago I went under the knife.  The surgeon said that I would never be able to do breast stroke leg again as it could compromise the joint. That's why I now swim like an injured frog.  But he said that I'd be able to ski again.  And yesterday that's what I did for the first time since my op.

Not many pictures got taken because I was too busy hurtling down those runs!  But here's one I took of my trusty ski companion.  I must have done alright for Louis has upgraded his evaluation of my performance from 'rubbish' to 'alright'. I've never been a competent skier but just love being active in a snow scape.  Yesterday the Sierra Nevada was a glorious place to be. I was so thrilled to be back on piste.  May there be many more beautiful blue runs to tackle in years to come!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

First Film

When some people travel they like to micro-manage their itinerary.  Me?  I leave room for the unplanned.  It pays such dividends. Remember Iggy Pop and Chagall in Landerneau last year? Here on our trip to Granada a visit to the Alhambra and skiing in the Sierra Nevada are as dead cert as it can be in an uncertain world.  But yesterday I went off piste in terms of tourist plans.  There's a travelling exhibit about Georges Méliès in the centre of town.  I was intrigued.

Who?  Ah, I'd never heard of him either. But I did recognise his work.   He was a French film director who, at the turn of the century, produced the first feature length film, a full fifteen minutes long!  The promoters  thought that an audience wouldn't be able to sit for that length of time but they were mistaken. With its litany of special effects,  'Le Voyage Dans La Lune'  was a triumph.  A man's face peeping out from a black and white moon made me realise that I was familiar with Méliès' work after all.

I got to watch the whole film which is stunning in its ingenuity.   Méliès was an illusionist as well as a filmmaker.  The imagery is all the more remarkable considering it was conceived in 1902.  It's available on YouTube here for those who are interested.

The exhibit told the tale of such a fascinating life.  After huge success Méliès became destitute only to be rescued by a former star of his movies with whom he set up a toy stall on a Paris railway station. It just goes to show.  You never know what life is going to throw at you!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Most Bling Cathedral In The World....Probably

A picture post today for a change.  I took these on our trip on Monday to Granada's Cathedral.  Blimey!  The bloke that designed it didn't have his minimalist hat on I can tell you.  His favourite colour was definitely gold.   And some of the ceremonial stuff is bizarre in the least.  Lou and I thought the intricate model of the head of John the Baptist was a particularly nice touch!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

My Valentine's Card To You

Valentine's day blessings. I hope that you can feel the lurve emanating from Granada. Here's the view towards the Sierra Nevada mountains from the balcony at the back of our apartment. Aside from the parked cars by the river Genil it's rather romantic isn't it?

Leonard Cohen's favourite poet, Federico Garcia Lorca was born here. I'd like to visit his house but the teenager would protest mightily. So I'll leave it for another visit when I don't have a kid in tow.  To mark the feast day of the saint of  love I thought I'd be topical and share one of Lorca's poems but they're all rather angst ridden and that does not set a suitable tone.

Instead I've dipped into some of the reading material I have with me.   I re-read the books of Don Miguel Ruiz on a regular basis for each time I glean more teaching from them, changing the way I think and act.   This time 'The Mastery of Love' gets another airing, a practical guide to the art of relationship.  I've written about it before.   Maybe the words that I've chosen can't be found inside any of the greetings cards that have been sent today.  They speak a beautiful truth nonetheless which applies to all relationships, not just romantic ones.

 Love is based on respect. . . . Love respects.  I love you; I know you can make it.  I know you are strong enough, intelligent enough, good enough that you can make your own choices.  If you fall I can give you my hand, I can help you to stand up.  I can say, “you can do it, go ahead."

Monday, 13 February 2017

A Top of the World Type of Post

Good morning from a top floor apartment high in the sky in Granada, Spain!  I had hoped to be able to blog from my borrowed balcony that has pomegranate trees but it's raining outside.  I come to you then from the sofa in the cosiest of living rooms drinking poncy green tea. For I  absent mindedly left the tea bags to make a decent British brew in the back of the car.  I'll show you some of the stuff here in another post.  There are treasures!

I came for a day trip to this city a year ago and longed to return and share it with my boy, who is the most amenable of travelling companions even though he's a teenager.   I nearly laughed until my sides split yesterday.   It's proper Spanish here in the Andalusian vein. There are tapa bars aplenty, people spontaneously singing and playing guitar in the streets and orange and lemon trees abound. I love the vibe and don't seem out of place.  After all, I look the part,  gesticulate and talk rapidly, don't hold back on emotion and love to dance.   Maybe my vote to remain in Europe was spiritual rather than logical.

We decided to take a half term holiday which combined a city break with a couple of days of skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  I only booked it about two weeks ago so I bet you're thinking it cost an arm and a leg   But a last mintue deal on a charter flight combined with good old AirBnB throws my previous advice about booking early for this February break right up in the air. Our flights and accommodation didn't break the £500 barrier.

No decent pictures yet.  I tried to  capture the ambience of this wonderful city on the way from supper last night.  Tapas of course. But a very excitable Louis decided he was going to 'photobomb' at every opportunity. Here's what I mean!   So I'll share the first holiday photo that I took from the plane at take off as it's a nice one.

Our departure was delayed.  The captain gave a very detailed explanation of the reason which involved slots.  It meant that we left at Cardiff  at sunrise rather than in semi-darkness.  Not a bad thing in the end for there was a wonderful vista of the whole of the bay.  We then passed through a bank of the fluffiest clouds imaginable and I was treated to the  sun coming up over the horizon. The light was incredible.    It is such a wonderful privilege to sit by a plane window and get a different perspective on the world.  I will always remembe the sight of four volcanos, including the terribly damaged Mount St Helens,  peeking out above clouds on our descent into Seattle once,   Whilst not quite matching that one, the view yesterday invoked awe. It was really rather special.