Thursday, 26 July 2012

Reading at the Beach

Agio Andrea beach Ilia Greece
A small beach with wonderful deep swimming water as you go in, someone to bring you a refreshment from the bar above, and some good books are all I require for the perfect decompression holiday. My reading eclectic at the best of times turns to wildly different authors for the beach. What did I take this year?
 A throwback to the adventure stories of my childhood with John Buchan's early 20th century spy novels (Greenmantle, Mr Standfast, the 39 steps and the 3 hostages; I reccomend the Wordsworth editions of the collected Dick Hannay stories, it has them all for a reasonable price).
To give me romance without turning to chick lit which bores me to tears, I have taken with me the Far Pavilions by MM Kaye. The author using her 1920's own experiences in India, tells a great love story spanning the British Raj.

Finally A greek holiday would not be complete without Gerald Durrell's A Corfu trilogy, delectable in its detailed descriptions of life in Corfu before the 2nd WW, throwing in a good measure of botany and biology.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Summer holidays

Kyllini beach in Northern Peloponnessos, Greece

Dear fellow bloggers and readers, To celebrate summer holidays I am attaching 3 videos  which represent the summer for me; Cliff Richard's 1962 Summer holidays from the film( watch the film; summum of kitch vintage 60's, great relaxer!); Doris day in "Que Sera Sera", and finally also from the 60's the Bee Gees and their "Holiday", slightly more melancholic. Yes, No apologies her for all this 60's revival, I am a fan, it hearks back to a more naif innocent period which makes me smile. In the current economic climate a must I would say! Happy holidays

cliff richard summer holiday
doris day que sera, que sera
bee gees holiday

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Summer coolness in Spain: tiles and porcelain

Summer coolness is best enjoyed in tiled interiors and exteriors as the mediterranean countries well know. Above a vieuw of the tiled veranda of the Catalan modernist Parque Guell in Barcelona. If you are in the north of Spain on the Meditteranean side this summer, it is well worth a visit. Designed by Antoni Gaudi,a catalan modernist archtitect in the early 20th Century, the park was intended as a lifestyle exercise combining livingspace, communalbuildings and a park. It proved extremely expensive to complete and so only the park was ever completed to the original design. If you ever wondered where the ideas of some of Spain's more famous artists from the movida period( post Franco 80's) found their inspiration,like Javier Mariscal (who designed the poster I attached), look at Gaudi's use of traditional materias such as old tiles, broke them and recoverted them in startling designs.

Another wonderful spot is down south in Sevilla,take an early morning or late afternoon walk to the Plaza de Espana. It was built also in the early part of the 20th Century, for a Spanish/LatinAmerican world exhibition. The square is bordered by a colonnade with seats. The colonnade and seats are tiled in those lovely Spanish tiles known as azulejos, each seat has a medallion representing a famous vieuw in Spain. What you next need is to take a summer picknick with you in the summer evening and sit down in either of these two spots. What I reccomend is to take a chilled bottle of Manzanilla (very dry sherry) or fresh young white Galician wine (Viura), accompany with a tortilla de patatas (spanish omelette)and some slices of spanish cured ham, the best being "Pata Negra". Then go down for a swim, the coast is not far in either case.If you are flush with cash or in need of some beautiful plates, why not go and visit the porcelain factory, La Cartuja de Sevilla,just outside Seville. It has some lovely services in vieux rose and royal blue which bring alive a dinner party al fresco on your veranda or garden.