This fisherman is trying for his daily catch on Valencia’s River Túria. I found him on the staircase of the Horchateria Santa Catalina.
Horchateria? Yes: it’s a café where you go to drink horchata, a traditional Valencian drink made with dried and sweetened tiger nuts. It’s rather good, if a little sweet.
Anyway, we were just leaving after our break when we spotted this bucolic scene. And it reminded me that we haven’t yet gone for a walk along the Túria, Valencia’s river-that-is-not-a-river. More of that tomorrow.
We travelled to London for Christmas quite late in the day on the 22nd. The moon was all-but full as it rose, at first barely peeking over the tree tops before eventually soaring high above us, in a clear black sky. I tracked its progress. Only my phone was to hand, but rather than lamenting the poor quality of these images, I liked the somewhat abstract quality they had. Here they are.
Then the next day, off we went, with Tom, Sarah, William and Zöe, to the Natural History Museum. More fool us for assuming it would be nearly empty so near to Christmas time. Outside though, was a man with a bucket of soapy water, and a couple of sticks linked with string, intent on play. He made bubbles. Lots of bubbles. I loved the abstract play of soft pinks and blues and sinuous curves set against the clean lines of the museum buildings beyond.
Here then is my contribution to today’s Ragtag Challenge: Abstract.
Winter childhood meant cold and frosty mornings, barely daring to get out of bed to shiver while washing in an icy bathroom, before returning to an equally icy room to muffle up in a vest, a blouse, a cosy cardigan and a sensible pleated skirt. Little girls didn’t wear trousers in those days and tights didn’t seem to exist, but I don’t remember my legs resenting being bare between sock-top and skirt bottom. But then boys of my age were wearing short trousers too.
I remember Jack Frost too. He had spent the early hours of the day sketching dizzyingly complex and beautiful patterns in luminous white on the inside of my bedroom window. It’s rare to see these intricate motifs on house windows these days. But the other day, arriving early in town, I passed a car park full of vehicles exhibiting examples of his artistry. I had to take a shot or two.
I’ve got two daughters who have the acting gene: who’ve often performed and entertained on stage over the years. Where did they get this gene from? Not me. I was a servant once in a school play, and spoke two whole lines. That’s my Drama CV.
Yet apparently, Malcolm and I will be part of a troupe appearing on stage for one night only at the Frazer Theatre Knaresborough, to perform an improvised drama about … well, what else?… Brexit.
It was Phil’s idea. He’s a professional theatre director, and he’s one of our People’s Vote team. He thought we needed something to entertain the campaigning troops all over North Yorkshire and bring us and a wider public together for something a little different. Adrian, also part of the team, offered practical and technical expertise.
And suddenly … there we were, rehearsing, about a dozen of us. Most of us had never met each other before. No script. No lines. No clear idea where this might go…. yet. This was to be Improvised Theatre. We played games. ‘Think of one thing you like about being part of Europe.’ (Just one?) ‘Now make a statue of it.’ We’ve made more statues, taught our poses to others, worked with them to make vignettes. We’ve played ball games, word games. We’ve told stories about our own experiences of Europe and of the-Brexit-to-be, and with Phil, woven these into scenes and tableaux . We’ve sung a sea shanty, improvised ‘Question Time’. Phil and Adrian persuaded someone to confect a video. All this weekend, we’ll be working solidly to pull everything together. Well, Phil will. He’s got an eye for when there’s a nugget worth mining for, a gem worth polishing.From the latest North Yorkshire for Europe newsletter.
On my way to yoga last Friday I was stopped in my tracks. There, high above me was that unmistakeable raucous calling that only flying geese can deliver. I watched, as ever transfixed by the cooperative and graceful weaving flight of these birds. They maintained their traditional V shape as they journeyed on, but I realised they weren’t constantly following the same Top Goose. First one, then another would fly forwards, only to be succeeded by another, only moments later. Always, however, they remained connected, a purposeful team.
I saw these geese at Marfield Wetlands exactly this time last year. Disobligingly, they did not formed perfect Vs for me.
Later, lying on my back in the yoga group, I glimpsed a red kite, wheeling and diving directly above the skylight.
A Good Morning.
These photos were taken this time last year. I still have no camera….
Ragtag Tuesday. It’s still there. As is Ragtag-every-other-day-of-the-week. Have a look. But I’ve moved to Saturday’s Ragtag Daily Prompt.
When we pop over to Bolton to do an overnight babysit for Ellie (er, not babysitting. Thirteen year old twins require a taxi-service rather than child-minding), dog walking is part of the deal. Here’s Sunday’s walk….
I was brought up on Any Questions, a topical radio debate programme which has been a firm part of the BBC Radio 4 schedules on Friday evenings for getting on for 70 years. Our family always listened when I was younger, but I don’t these days as it does terrible things to my blood pressure when right-wing Daily Mail readers take to the podium.
All the same. It was coming to Masham, the town-next-door. A loose cohort of us got free tickets. That’s not quite true. Malcolm and I didn’t, but meeting in the pub beforehand, we started to feel left out, and managed to snaffle two late-returns.
You have to turn up easily an hour ahead of transmission. If you want to, you write a question which might get included. You have to be warmed up. Radio Leeds presenter Andrew Edwards schooled us in the gentle art of clapping, cheering and booing to make our views clear to the listening audience (‘No heckling please’). The lucky questioners were announced. Two of our team made the cut, though in the end, only passionate 17-year-old ‘It’s our future’ Charlie had her question dealt with on air. I made the nearly-got-included list.
It was all fascinating stuff. Star of the show was probably the CEO of Siemens UK, Jurgen Maier: measured, lively and likeable. A Remainer, but desperate for business certainty, he’d back the current Brexit deal. Leaver Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse Minister, actually said ‘I don’t think any of us knew what we were going to get when we voted Leave….’, but nevertheless isn’t in favour of a People’s Vote on the Final Deal which Lord Adonis is campaigning for. There was Labour’s Shadow Brexit Minister, Jenny Chapman and the other MP was John Redwood (‘fervent Brexiteer’). He really is from the Dark Side. Uncivil, dogmatic, he didn’t attract much enthusiasm even from those who subscribe to his reactionary, long-held views in favour of Leave.
If you want a flavour of the debate, you can listen here if you’re eligible to listen to BBC transmissions.
And the next day, we went back to Remoaning in Harrogate again…