a purple cow

The Madrid Cow Parade cows were auctioned last night.

"Mi sueño". Artist - C A Gonzalez
...I'd rather see than be one!

I have many pictures of the stampede as they were lined up in the street outside the Westin Palace Hotel, but no time to pick, choose and process, so will settle for this one for the moment:

Mi Sueño (“my dream”) by Carlos A González, sponsored by alimentacion.es.

And a few brief words from Gelett Burgess (1866–1951):

I never saw a purple cow;
I never hope to see one;
but I can tell you anyhow;
I’d rather see than be one!

size matters

When I got to the writers’ group last night I put my mobile on the table. (The bar where we meet is usually noisy and no way would I hear it ringing from inside my bag.) The phone is a chunky old flip-open model, reminiscent of the communicaters in Star Trek, and wouldn’t impress anyone. It joined a couple of other phones on the table, of varying ages, but all fairly standard.

Then José arrived. His phone is much slimmer, with a complete querty keyboard, and I swear I felt a tremor of envy run through the group. Looking around the table at all these phones of differing shapes and sizes, I was reminded of the business card scene from American Psycho.
Continue reading “size matters”


Every year around this time, there’s a day when I wake up and do a double take: has there been some kind of chemical attack over night to account for the fine yellow powder covering the whole village?

It lasts for a week or more and the dust gets everywhere. Cars are covered with it and it forms a scum round the edge of any puddle that happens to be around. Continue reading “fall-out”

of branches and bunches

Half the people in the village this morning were carrying bunches of flowers and greenery, which reminds me that it must be Domingo de Ramos – Palm Sunday.

Ramo and rama are words I can never get straight. Checking today in the on-line Diccionario de la Real Academia, I see that rama is a branch emerging from the tunk or main stem of a plant. Ramo, on the other hand, is a secondary level branch that emerges from the rama madre, or, perhaps, a rama cortada del árbol. If branches change sex the further they get from the trunk or once they’ve been cut from the tree, no wonder I’m confused.
Continue reading “of branches and bunches”



Swallowtail butterfly on lilac
but oh, so far from London!

At this time of year, my garden in the Gredos foothills makes me long for Kew, though I doubt very much that they have the same butterflies there.

(The Barrel Organ by Alfred Noyes can be read here.)


I’ve always found typical Spanish names a problem: who’d call their daughter Dolores, for example, given that it means “pains”? Or Sagrario, which, according to your reading, may be “shrine” or “monstrance”. Or Purificación or Inmaculada Concepción?

Of course these are traditional Catholic names which are also reflected in dedications of churches and church schools around the country.
Continue reading “inconceivable”

cherry white

Having mislaid the cable to connect my camera to the computer I find my blogging is somewhat hampered: it’s easy enough to find things to write about, but I don’t want to make the page all text.

Fortunately, the cherry trees were in blossom last year, the year before and the year before that, so I’ve cheated and found an old photo to illustrate this Housman poem which pretty much describes the countryside round here at the moment. Mind you, I don’t really expect to have another 50 years to “look at things in bloom”, so I’d better get a move on and go out and look at them this spring.
Continue reading “cherry white”