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Well the girls went to Marrakesh–for two of us it was a return trip after 40 years–and not much has changed–the j’emallfnah is paved and the roofs all have sattelite dishes but really the rest looks pretty much the same. We wandered through alleys dodging donkeys and scooters searching out the workshops where all the goodies are made–brass ware, woodwork, tassels of silk, scarves of every colour, slippers of every size. Each corner turned up more delights–as one man said it”brightened our eyes”.We ate woderful tajines of fruit and meat and honeyed cakes with our mint tea. The girls in the hammam of 1000 nights scrubbed us cleaner than we’ve ever been while singing in the steam. The hotel was draped with beautiful colours and the obligatory cat withon the sound of the muzzein calling out in the early morning. And then there was the pigeon man–by far and away my favourite thing. The mystery of it all–all day every day a man say with nagilahs (water pipes) and tea surrounded by pigeons. At night they began to drum and dance themselves into a trance (and me too). I never did find out exactly what it is all about but it was sufi magic of some sort, probably healing too. Morrocan shamanism–right up my street!!Image


autumnal harvest–thoughts and fruit

So again I’ve left this too long and now can hardly remember what it is thats been keeping me so busy. For a start there’s all the fruit–boxes of quince, persimmons, pears, pomegranates–squashed figs all over the ground and filling the tread on all my shoe soles. So lets see what will I get from it–pear and ginger chutney, fig jam, quince crumble, persimmon cakes, and bits of weird looking dried fig all over the floor.

Then there’s the piles of stuff in my spare room which I am slowly weeding out to give, sell or throw away. The brits have brought one of their better institutions here in the form of the car boot sale which the Spanish are now very keen on as well. Its great for getting rid of all the stuff that accumulates as well as a bit of fun–good way to practice spanish speaking skills. I will be taking a load of jam and pickles and possible some kind of cherry chocolate delight to use up some of the plethora of cherries. But I’ve gt to be quick as I’m in the UK for Xmas with my sons.

Mojo the great black hunter and ninja master is still killing on a daily basis–rats, birds, mice, moths–you name it he hunts it. He abandoned me when we had our last group in the yurts–a group of youngsters from UK who made such a fuss over him I thought I’d lost him for good. He pounced them at night and haunted them for food all day. But now he’s back and as affectionate as ever–good thing cats are cool.

First Halloween for a long time that I wasnt in costume. It was also just my 65th birthday!!! Way too old but I am compensating with a new haircut and glasses. As for the costume I slightly fear that I look enough like a witch without the costume. All in all I had a great birthday with good friends, lovely gifts and the golden glow of autumn around.

Time for the yurts to come down for the winter and the wood to be stacked in the house. I love the seasonal change. Its been a particularly lovely autumn and these forst days of winter are crisp and gorgeous. The sierra nevadas are looking particularly majestic with their first coating of snow. More to come but for now I need to get going as there are jobs to get done.

autumn gold

to Toledo and Beyond

cathedral at segovia

Seems like a very long time since I last wrote up anything to add here but it’s because I’ve been too busy actually doing the stuff worth writing about!! Can’t be bad.  So lets see where to start. Probably the thing that amazed me the most was my visit to Gorafe with its 200 dolmens and canyon to rival the Grand Canyon in Arizona. My visit was a bit of a flier as I really didnt know what to expect but what I saw was so good that I’m planning a return overnight so I can walk to the dolmens and the caves which have been lived in forever.

From there I went on to Mojacar with a friend for a few days lazing on the beach. If it werent for the VERY noisy disco across the road it would have been poifect (as popeye says). Highlight of the trip for me was the day out at Playaso Beach near Rodalquilar which has a pirate style castle, a secret lagoon and rocks full of fossils. When I win the lottery I may consider buying somewhere near there–there’s a lot of old windmills that are particularly interesting.

So any way after that I was only home for a blink of an eye to check in on shamanic activity in my back room and then I was off on a road trip north to Cantabria. We left Granada in 35degrees and a day and half later we were in 17degrees. Mind you it seemed we had been through at least 4 countries as well. First stop was Toledo for lunch. I spent some time buying souvenirs for US family members as we were all born in Toledo Ohio. There was too much to see for a good quick visit and a bit too early to stop driving so we earmarked it for another time and carried on to Segovia to stay the night. Got there just in time for a local fiesta which is about bringing the local Virgin for a visit to the cathedral from her usual home just outside of town–so we saw the whole shebang–the highly overdressed statue being carried through the streets accompanied by somewhat mournful singing. Segovia itself is a knockout. so many wonderful buildings–the aqueduct–the medieval city around the cathedral, the views for miles–and also the incredible hayfever to be had from being in the midst of Spain’s bread basket.!!

After  passing through what appeared to be Switzerland we arrived in what appeared to be Devon which is Cantabria. I was staying in Comillas, a perfect jewel of a place. It has a population of only 2000 and yet a selection of architectural wonders and a history of royalty and power, even a little delight of a building by Gaudi. The sea is surrounded by grass covered cliffs  grazed by herds of cows giving an even more Devonish atmosphere (that and the low temperature and frequent rain). All in all its been an interesting summer with lots to think about for the winter.

Since my return I’ve also been helping at a shamanic retreat run by a friend on a mountaintop nearby. Met an interesting bunch of people and was privileged to share their experiences. And now I’m trying to pickle and preserve the remains of the fruit still dropping from my trees. Either that or sit down and watch some adolescent film on tv. Or play with my lovely Mojo, champion hunter of all times and caretaker of his humanoid keeper (me). Until next time.

the pirate castle at Playasothe cathedral at segovia

rats and shamans

my personal sacred spring

That seems a bit unfair as a title as it appears to link the two which is not actually the case–just so happens to be the interesting things of this week I have a shaman in my spare room–not like packaged up or anything but around for conversations about the nature of reality and the spirit world–pretty good stuff I may say.

Meanwhile Mojo my adolescent kitten caught and ate a rat at least his size. He’s proving to be hunter supreme–king of the jungle and ninja master.

Had a lovely day out in Granada with my extended family. My nephew has a new flat overlooking the cathedral–not bad if you can get it.

I’m off travelling north to Comillas on Thursday so should have some more tales of interest hopefully. Went to a cave the other day–just literally down the road where they found evidence of life from as far back as you can go. Again almost no information to be found and talk about low key–it was my grandson, myself and two other people on the tour. I am doing a hunt for interesting archaeological sites which are under stated in this immediate area–LOTS!!

megalithic spain

I’m just back from a lovely week away in Mojacar . Lots of sea swimming and a bit of exploration. We stopped to have a quick look at the megalithic park near Gorafe which is pretty impressive.  Actually that’s an understatement–it is probably the nearest thing I’ve seen to the Grand Canyon. What amazes me more than anything is that I’ve never heard of it and its only a drive up the road. I spent so much time in the UK searching out ancient sites and find that I now live surrounded by some of the largest megalithic sites in Europe. Gorafe has 200 dolmens situated on a ridge above a gorge which literally takes your breath away. This will take some serious exploration.

While on my travels I went again to what is probably my favourite beach (so far) in Spain–Playaza in the Cabo de Gata. It has a stretch of immaculate sand, clear clear water, a pirate castle , rocks full of fossils and a rather tasty chiringuito. The nearest town, Rodalquilar was a gold mining town in the past. No hotels on the beach, no banging techno music, just bliss.

I dont think Mojo was too pleased that I was away–he’s taken a while to come and sit on me–abandonment issues I feel.

pirate castle at Playazo

The Curandero Tradition amongst other things

Had a lovely week end with visitors from Granada including a visit to the curandero who lives in the hermita above Frailes. There is a long standing tradition of curanderos (healers) in this area–in fact it is called La Ruta de Milagros or route of miracles. The place in question is truly amazing–long high views of range after range of mountains stretching to the sea. At the top there is a small cave which was used by Santo Custodio for his meditations. He is an unrecognised by the church but local saint and guardian who lived and devoted himself to healing and devotion–all both within the church and yet not–the church eventually brought him under their auspices by building a church on the spot–but he is still a saint of the people by the people for the people. The Spanish have an understandable ambivalent attitude to the Church–they are a decidedly Catholic nation and yet the more socialist folk (particularly rural) do not trust the clergy–hence the space for their own curanderos.

It’s been HOT! Although the temperature has dropped as of yesterday–from sufficient to bake a loaf of bread to bearable–it wont be long before my neighbours are all in their winter clothes while I’m still in the pool.

BIG NEWS__Mojo my hero ninja kitten caught his first mouse! Only 4 months old and already making himself useful! It looks like all his training has born fruit.

portal to the sky

helicopter or dragonfly?