I’ve always loved looking at the contributions to Thursday doors, where bloggers from around the world share images of their favourite doors. Somehow, I’ve never got round to joining in. But looking through my photos for something or other yesterday, I realised that I had the makings of a post about windows. Here it is.
Here’s an image from the last March for Europe in London in June. I’ll be there again, probably as you read this, marching for a People’s Vote on the Final Deal. I’m not sure how much I believe in another referendum, but what other hope have we got to turn the tide against the national disaster that is Brexit?
Happier times, happier pictures. I started off by including images from Europe too. But I’ll do England today, and maybe travel further afield another time.
We stopped off in Berga on our way to Barcelona. It’s a mediaeval city with a strong history of republicanism. In May 2012 for instance, the town council declared King Juan Carlos to be ‘persona non grata‘. Nobody’s likely though, to be keen on a king who goes elephant hunting in Africa as his country plunges ever deeper into recession.
Now its cause of choice is Catalan independence. I’m not going into the arguments here. Though sauntering along various Ramblas on a September evening as friends and families pop into a bar for a drink, or to a restaurant for dinner, it’s hard to accept their definition of themselves as an oppressed people; or to take entirely seriously their view that they and, for instance, the Kurds, are all in it together.
Mooch up and down the narrow alleys of Berga with us and look at the posters, the slogans, the street art which are such a feature of this town. A young man stopped me as I was snapping away. ‘We don’t all think that way here’ he said. But he admitted that he was in a minority .
A Catalan MP suspended and imprisoned for his part in the illegal independence referendum of October 2017.
Feminism and socialism are frequent bedfellows with the Independence movement.
We’ve just landed home from our epic car journey through France and Spain. 2,715 miles on the clock. The worst of those miles were those completed here in the UK.
I’m not being entirely fair. We had more than a few traffic-jam moments in Barcelona and Toulouse, but we’ve also enjoyed miles and miles of empty motorways and other roads, particularly in France, where driving was nothing but relaxing.
What really makes a difference though, are the motorway service areas. I’ve written before about France’s quiet uncommercial aires, which complement the ones with restaurants, shops and all the trimmings. Even these can be havens of peace though. Look at the Aire de la Porte de Corrèze. Yes, it’s got all the usual facilities. But it’s got space and peace too: a country path, a woodland walk, and a quiet pond.
Now look at the ‘Extra’ service area on the A1 M near Peterborough. Outside space is strictly for parking in. Land is scarce and ruinously expensive in the UK of course. But if only we could have stretched our legs and breathed a little fresh air as we took a break in our journey north. It would have made so much difference.
We’ve been on the move since my last post: firstly to friends near Laroque, then to Emily and Miquel in Barcelona. England – France – Spain – France and back to England again: passports required to get out of and back into England.
The trouble is, returning to England may prove tricky. No passports.
The first thing we did in Barcelona was to go and meet Emily and Miquel from their flight from Seville. I left Malcolm while I went to link up with them. A man wheeling a luggage trolley veered into the car, and so Malcolm jumped out to have words with him.
We were duped. As he did that, Luggage Trolley Man’s accomplice whipped my handbag out of the car. So …. no handbag, no purse, no credit cards, no camera with some 140 shots on it, some of which I wanted to share with you, no keys and NO PASSPORTS.
Thanks to Emily and Miquel, we’ve reported the whole thing to the Police, and since then we’ve applied online to the British Consulate for emergency travel documents. We’ve done every single piece of work towards getting these, and for a single-use piece of paper, we’ve been charged £100 each. New passports will be £75 each. Temporary migration for us was incredibly easy. Immigration – less so.
All the same, we’re having a high old time. We are neither political nor economic migrants. We need to keep things in perspective, and put it down to experience.
Last November, in Valencia, the building which first grabbed my attention was this one, and day and night, I always paused to enjoy its energetic entrance and attention-seeking windows.
This ebullient building now houses the National Ceramic Collection. Once it was the family seat of the Rabassa de Perellós – title-holders of the marquisate of Dos Aguas. Dos aguas: two waters – the nearby rivers Júcar and Turia which flow plentifully, twisting and turning, from the statue of the Virgin Mary which tops off the doorway. I’ve forgotten the rest of the story, and Google can’t help. Just enjoy this wonderfully rococo statuary, twisting round this exuberant doorway.
A contribution to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Twisted.
This week’s pictures hint at two or more stories: at that of the life of Jesus, from whose life and teaching spring one of the world’s great religions. And at the building of La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí’s cathedral celebrating Jesus’ family, created by thousands of craftspeople with special stories to tell, gathered over the last 136 years …. maybe only another eight or so to go.
‘Story’ is this week’s WordPress photo challenge. Click on any image to view full size.