Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
(image by The Boy)
Gripping each others' hands tightly we made our way through quiet streets, looking for the nearest hotel mentioned in that bastion of reassurance, the guide book. The streets were empty, the area around the bus station dead to the night, garages and repair shops shuttered and blank. We were quiet too, each aware of the other's relief and sadness. There was no need to talk for we had passed the same damaged and desperate men and women and children lining the docks, breathed the same putrid air as shallowly as we could and reeled at the same mosque, built with countless millions of public money while the city's public rotted around it.
After 10 minutes walking the empty streets we found the hotel. It too was empty, an air of desolation hanging in the atmosphere - a huge crumbling building as dark as a gothic mansion, the reception area watched over by a silent stuffed hog's head. We stood quietly at the desk, waiting for someone to come. An elderly woman in cleaning overalls stopped half way down the stairs, looked at us and turned back the way she came. Minutes later a young man appeared, her son perhaps. The sight of a young white couple, both tired but smiling and she little more than a teenager seemed to surprise him. More surprised still when we asked for a room. But without questions he led us down the long dark hallway, past a door tied with rope to the furthest room. Opening the door he looked doubtful, as if the sight of its stained walls and broken furniture would lead us to the decision that this was not the hotel for us, but he had not reckoned with our exhaustion and our sheer relief to have found somewhere to sleep. 'Fine' we nodded, we'll take it.
It took us a few hours to realise that we hadn't been given a key for our room, when we went to ask for one gestures were made to indicate that none of the rooms had keys, none of the doors were locked. We were too tired to care and with our cameras and what little was left of our money tucked under our pillows and our heavy rucksacks and a chair pushed tight against the door, we climbed under the itchy blankets and tried to sleep. I lay awake for an hour or so, the sights of the day playing in my troubled mind. He held me tight, my body curled into his as I listened to him breath slowly and steadily. I knew he was awake too but both too tired to talk we just lay there with the full moon casting strange shadows through the curtains that would not close and the bars on the windows which although decorative with their swirls, did not convey the the notion that they were there to serve a purpose of mere aesthetics.
Eventually I slept and for the first night in many weeks, I was not tormented with nightmares. Under the charging horsemen I slept so deeply I slept that the strange noises in the night barely registered, the barking barely disturbed, for since 10pm a loud and savage beast had yowled and howled and growled from behind the door tied with a piece of old rope.
I woke early as the sun was coming up. I lay still and quiet, still curled tightly in a ball, still nestled under the warm arm of the man I was falling more and more deeply in love with. I opened my eyes, my gaze falling to the windows, the gap between the curtains a foot wide and through the blinking early morning light saw the back of a man hurry by, shoulders stooped and tense and behind him a young woman, her large brown eyes looking in and catching my tired blue ones for a moment before turning quickly away. Twice more this scene played out, although neither of the other women looked in and neither of the other women play in my memory three years later.
I turned over and held the boy, whispering in his ear that we should try to find another hotel for this was one filled with sadness and desperation.
Friday, March 28, 2008
But it's oh so pretty, oh so lush. I have a feeling that even if I wouldn't have to sell a kidney, or maybe both, to buy it The Boy would veto it instantly. In fact I can see his face now.....'what the hell is that? Are those feathers? No way.'
I love it though!
Pop on over to East Side Bride for an utterly refreshing dose of wedding style. Modern yet with a healthy sprinkling of vintage, light hearted yet undoubtedly classy, Nomi is planning her wedding with style.
I particularly love her Groom Style series. I hate traditional groom style; tuxedos, big poofy ties, satin waistcoats, bleugh. And don't even let me get started on kilts. Aside from finding the whole traditional groom look deeply unstylish, it's so unimaginative. At our wedding The Boy will look like himself, no Rent-a-Groom for me. And I've got a feeling that Nomi's boy will look just as individual. Especially if he wears that damn sexy hat....
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
El Molo Woman. El Molo, Lake Turkana, Kenya
Samburu Man resting outside a butchery in South Horr.
Turkana Woman. Loyangalani, Kenya.
"The Turkana are Kenya's third-largest tribe and the second largest group of nomadic pastoralists (aftter Maasai). The majority live in Turkana District of Rift Valley in the arid northwest of Kenya. Most of Turkana are cattle herders, some engage in small-scale agriculture and fishing on Lake Turkana. They speak Turkana which is similar to the Maasai language and is considered to be of Nilotic in origin."
Frantisek Staud has also taken photographs of the (tiny) Scottish island I grew up on, which amuses me given the big wide world he has travelled and photographed. My island is not on the average list of 'must-see' places, even among the 'must-see' Scottish islands. It should be, but it's not. It's too hard to get to, the tourist industry is too under-developed and no celebrities have been married or opened restaurants there. But it is heaven on earth and one day I will share some pictures of it.
All images and italicised words from www.phototravels.net and copyright of Frantisek Staud
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Being a non-religious type, for me Easter is about celebrating Spring and the end of the long, dark, cold Scottish winter....
And what better way to celebrate than with food.....
Although I love chocolate I don't really go in for Easter eggs. Novelty chocolate doesn't really do it for me...
Baked goods do though. Oh how I love baked goods!
Happy Easter everyone!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Elsa Mora is a woman who makes dreams out of paper. And metal and petals and pencils and ink.
Elsita moved to America from Cuba, taking with her a unique talent for creating tiny worlds within objects. Whether a dress or a bumble bee sculpted from paper, an illustration infused with magic and romance or a necklace that seems to tell a story.
Her blog too is a magical place, a place where small children and family mingle with art and sculpture. A place where the unreal world of Hollywood becomes familiar and friendly.
Here are some of Elsa Mora's exquisite creations, pieces that I can't believe were made by human hands. Surely they were crafted by fairies and pixies and magical creatures of the woods...
I love these flower people, inspired by Elsita's young, and oh so adorable son Diego. Diego loves plants and flowers and leaves and Elsita made these little folk from elements of the plants he loves the most.
Healing Heart. A print from Elsita's Etsy shop. So sweet, so sad, so simple, so perfect. A print for every girl who has ever had her heart broken and who has found the strength to pick herself up and try to heal. A print that reminds me of a girl I know, a girl with long dark hair and red shoes, a brave and strong girl who is doing remarkable things to heal her heart....
Can you believe that these sculptures were made with human hands? With the same sort of fingers and thumbs that rest at the end of your very own arms? Do you feel as I do, that no matter what time and patience and practise you put into it, your hands would never be capable of such a thing?
The Jungle, a necklace made for a night at the Oscars, a night at the Oscars for Elsita and her husband, for her husband is a very talented man...
Another piece of magic, inspired by and created with Elsita's children. Elsita and her mother are making a book, a beautiful book filled with love and stories, filled with art and family. A book that will be given to Elsa's daughter Natalie.
Read, you will surely agree that a mother and a grandmother could not make a gift more meaningful, more destined to be treasured forever...
(all images from Elsita.typepad.com)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Every fortnight the Farmer's Market comes to our local park. This is no ordinary park, it is an beautiful Victorian creation with sweeping views of the city and grand stone stairways leading to a wide and elegant oak lined pathway. It is on this pathway that local butchers, bakers and pakora makers gather to sell their wares.
Things we came home with this week-
One organic sprouting broccoli, all dark green leaves and rich purple heads
Four organic parsnips, encrusted in mud with roots tapering to threads
Two indecently large and delicious muddy organic carrots, mistaken for sweet potatoes
One large organic batard, so soft and fresh we ate it within hours
One obscenely heavenly chocolate brownie, the best chocolate brownie in all of the world I would be willing to bet
One freshly barbecued ostrich burger, in a brown roll and smothered in tomato sauce (The Boy's breakfast, I'm a vegetarian)
Six large organic eggs, a small downy feather nestled in the box
Two freshly smoked mackerels, from a man with a sweet smile
A bulb of garlic that tastes as garlic should
10g of kalamata olives, small purple bruises in a clear plastic tub
One fruit scone, crumbling in a brown paper bag as it is nibbled on the way home.
Things that made my eyes wide and my mouth water, things I wish we'd bought before the purse ran empty -
A bunch of yellow daffodils, whispering that spring might be around the corner
A freshly baked flatbread, dotted with red peppers and roasted garlic
Fresh pesto, ladled into a tub by the woman who always gives you too much
Organic bread, of every variety
A small tub of vegetarian mousaka, from the Greek man with the delicious home made meals
Vegetable pakoras, from Tastes of the East, oil staining the brown paper bag see through
Organic bagels, oniony and delicious.
Fruit tarts, tiny and bite sized with glazed strawberries, such a treat in winter
Handmade soaps, dotted with lavender heads and smelling so fresh and clean