When I lived in Madrid, I had a friend who collected building façades.
These weren’t just the well known landmarks like the bright red bricks and decorative paintings of the Plaza Mayor, the imposing white, wedding-cake like tiers of the Palacio de Comunicaciones or the complex scrollwork of the Palacio Longoria (which was ruined, anyway, in those days, by ugly air-conditioning units.) No. These were the kind of façade you can find on any street – if you’re paying attention.
Continue reading “wool gathering”
It seems as if August has flown by with little to show for itself. I try to update this blog at the weekend, at least once every week, but I’ve been very remiss recently and two complete weekends have passed with no word from me. If the updates happen at the weekend, and I’ve missed two weekends, that’s actually three weeks without an update. Nothing since the first of August.
Strangely, there have already been more visitors to the site this month than in any month since May 2020. Perhaps I should continue not to post.
Continue reading “signs of life and death”
I’ve mentioned before KWP, the minister at the church my family attended when I was a little girl and the stories he used to tell. They were simple stories with morals, usually based around small domestic occurrences – like the Green Shield stamp that had lost its stickability and was therefore of little use. (The notion of “stickablity” as a value to be cultivated and encouraged has remained with me all my life.)
Once KWP told of having been in London with a friend who was an ardent nature lover. As they were walking, the friend suddenly stopped; he paused while the rest of the crowds surged past them, then turned and in a moment or two had located a tiny green grasshopper sitting on a kerbstone.
Continue reading “bee aware”
I used to love petunias and geraniums and all the vivid windowbox flowers whose colours brighten up grey days and grey urban spaces. But I fell out of love with petunias when the ones I was growing in pots on the deck in California developed an infestation of caterpillars. I can’t bear to kill creatures of any sort, but nor am I impressed to see my small gardening efforts reduced to the buffet at a bug-feast.
Later, in the early 90s in Spain, my love of geraniums was sorely tried when there was a plague of butterflies – Cacyreus marshalli – in Madrid. Their larvae bored into the stems of many plants around the city and wreaked havoc with the traditional Mediterranean balcony displays of scarlet flowers bursting between wrought iron railings.
Continue reading “of pests and petunias”
Many of my photographs seem to be images of juxtapositions of spaces: of fences with flowers poking their heads through, of blossoms cascading over garden walls and into alleyways, of plants growing incongruously on manmade vertical surfaces.
In the countryside, there are hedges and ditches, river banks and the green verges of country lanes, all rich with wildlife. In urban spaces, these borderlands are formed by iron railings, razor wire, wooden planks and panels, brick and concrete walls, gutters, kerbs and drains.
Continue reading “edges and angles”