Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One year of Andalusia with you......Happy New Year !

Mis queridos, my lovelies, the countdown will start in a few hours here...I still don't know what to wear to welcome the New tell the truth I don't know whether I really want to go to this party and celebrate or just cuddle in bed with Monchéri.

What I do know is that there was no way i would vanish without sending you, you and you, all of YOU, my best and warmest wishes for a HAPPY and BETTER New Year in spite of the alarming news. Let's all hope 2009 will be less bellicose and more luminous. In my eyes, we've already seen a ray of light with the election of Obama, let's pray we're heading towards a better world....

More than ever, I feel like declaiming one of the very few poems I know by fact the only my favorite e.e. cummings:

Dive for dreams

or a slogan may topple you

(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)

Trust your heart

if the seas catch fire

(and live love
though the stars walk backwards)

Honour the past

but welcome the future

(and dance your death
away at the wedding)

Never mind a world

with its villains or heroes

(for God likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)

and also I want to thank you for having shared one year of Andalusia with me ! So here's for you, my dear readers, a review of my fave pics of my little corner of the world....

a gaudi-esque beauty at El Corte Inglès

pomegranates, the emblem of Granada

my beloved Alhambra Moorish palace

fresh orange juice from the oranges in our sweet Lecrin valley

one of my favorite trendy cafés in Granada, MomentO2

the charming old little shops in Granada

my little neighbor round the corner

doggie having fun in Mirador San Nicolas in Granada

the traditional black clothes during Semana Santa in Granada

me too, I want to wear a lace mantilla

ok i'm not a fetichist but you have to admit, they are darn sexy !

batucada in Granada, on solidarity day

Nazari feast in Salobreña on the coast

one of the numerous houses decorated with plates in Salobreña

sardinas on the beach

no comment...(i'm just salivating in front of my screen)

the Moorish castle in Salobreña

the house I would love to buy in Granada (sorry you're just looking at the wall) - quite impossible at the moment because no money -

the incredible 1000 plates house in el barrio Sacromonte in Granada

Patti Smith giving an intimate concert at Federico Garcia Lorca's former summer house, in Granada
the flamenco festival in Restabal, one of the nearby villages in the valley. The pics were taken by my friend Tim. He also took the pic of my banner.

feria time.....and time to choose a dress

and a caballero
isn't he cute ?
cool concertist in Granada
Young men like to play the guitar in Granada

and practise in Mirador de San Nicolas, facing the Alhambra

one of my hobby jobs is baking cakes for a restaurant and cooking.....

.....with Monchéri....
......for the coolest music producer in the world, Youth. (on my right, -last summer south African rock star Arno Carstens - on my left - came to record his new album, a super cool and very kind guy)

chilling out on my friend Gym's roof terrace, under the Morroccan tent

a graceful street dancer in Granada
the shepherd and his goats

me dancing flamenco in Paris, a few years ago.....this year i must persevere !

and for me...the best of all is Monchéri !! especially when he helps me baking. Tim took this pic 3 years ago and unfortunately Monchéri cut his hair. Never mind, he still looks romantic....

My lovelies, Happy New Year to you all !!
Peace and love in your heart

Monday, December 29, 2008

My village still has a taste of innocence and.....i've been tagged

My village is not exactly pretty. It doesn't have the charm of the small picturesque villages nearby in the valley, surrounded by lemon and orange groves, but I call it home now. "But you are too parisienne to live here!", say my friends. I thought that too when I first moved in the village and little by little I came to like it and even miss it a lot whenever I'm away.

I have a weakness, I'm a sentimental person. It's in this village that I met Monchéri. Of course, meeting in Paris would have been romantic. Here, I like wandering through the narrow streets, smiling when I recognize a special spot where we kissed or had a stupid lover's quarrel.

Monchéri thinks we should move. We were discussing it the other day and he asked me what is it I like exactly about the village.

The first image which came to my mind is my neighbour next door wearing an apron and carrying some food to her daughter who lives two streets away. At lunch hour, between 1.30 pm and 2 pm, there's not a soul in the streets and most often there's a wonderful smell of grilled pepper or puchero (Andalusian stew) floating in the air.

I like this tranquillity, the absence of rush which sometimes is comical or absurd. Last week, as I was queuing up at the bank, one of the clerks got up and left his desk, saying placidly to the people waiting: bueno, ahora voy a desayunar, vuelvo enseguida. (I'm going to have breakfast, be back in a little while). And nobody protested. The man got hungry, it was 11 in the morning and the sandwich hour is sacred.

The siesta hour also is sacred. I must say I love it.

At the beginning I found people quite inquisitive. It often happened that someone would stop me in the street only to ask where I come from. Especially elderly is quite touching in fact. When I tell them I'm French, most often, they would say , ah Francia, estuve alli para trabajar...(ah France, I went there to work) and then we would start some conversation in French.

Like in most Andalusian villages, people say hello in the street, usually with a smile. It does make a huge difference.

I like this friendly atmosphere even if it remains superficial.

It is still very rural here although there is little money to earn for the local fruit producers. Now and then I see one of my neighbors, an old man, carrying wood or vegetables, on his mule, from the field. It moves me in a way as I realize he might be one of the last persons trotting on his mule through the village.

Mis queridos, I could go on a bit more on the subject but it's getting late and I need to eat !

a neighbor last summer in my street

another neighbor on his mule

Also Cynthia tagged me and I thought at least I should show some blogging good will before the end of the year…I actually feel bad, because I’ve been tagged before but never did my act. I promise to the people who tagged me to do so in the next year (I just have to find out what the tag was about)

Cynthia’s tag is easy and amusing : quote 6 random things about you

1) it’s nearly midnight here and until now, I keep "reliving" the dream I had last night. Do you know this sensation, when you're having a pleasant dream and don't want to wake up? Briefly, in this dream, I walk in an empty city street. I can see myself and I wear a very pretty white lace night gown and one white glove on my right hand. I pass by an imposing white building (palladian style) which is a very chic store displaying enormous sculptures all in pale green shade. Why only one glove ? It feels both pleasant and unpleasant to walk outdoors in a night gown. I feel like being in a Chirico painting. There is no brand on the store but in my dream, I tell myself it's a Hermès shop. Then I find myself in some very large stairs which are in fact like miniature houses. Each step has a flower garden and I slowly descend this amazing stairs in ravishment until the alarm clock starts to ring. Shit..

2) when I was a student I used to write down my dreams and send them to a dream analyst. I have very vivid memories of some dreams I made in my childhood. Here is one : enormous pink bubble gums bursting in the sky.

3) I thought I was a foodie. Well I am, but in reality I prefer to eat a simple burger prepared by Monchéri with an ordinary beer. We still contemplate making a reservation at El Bulli though. I know…it’s a snobby thing..

4) I love learning languages. I still have to improve my Spanish though, I'm trying to read La Casa Verde by Mario Vargas LLosa and find it difficult. At school, my 2nd language was German, after English and Latin. I love the words das Schicksal (fate). I also like to scare people, saying : ich bin Teüflich (i'm devilish)….rolling my eyes and waving my hands high in the air. But that's about all alas for German, I wasn't too good at it. I also think Latin is a must.

5) I realize I never told you about my design activity. I will in a proper post. (sorry, now i'm hungry and sleepy!).

6) From the blog, you would have guessed that I’m very much in love with my boyfriend. He inspires me a lot. I even thought of creating a blog especially about him but naturally, it’s a total no-no…and who would be interested anyway? just me I guess....ain't I pathetic...

I actually enjoyed this tag !! thanks Cynthia !!

Friday, December 26, 2008

a belated Feliz Navidad and a Provencal-Andalusian 13 desserts tradition

oh dear....I knew I could never make it and post last wednesday. It all went in a flash really....I mean the hours and the....13 desserts I prepared for Chrimast's eve ! so very peevishly, I present you what is left of them...It is actually the first time that I celebrate this tradition here in Andalusia. My sisters and I were born and raised in Provence and the 13 desserts were a much loved tradition. My elder sister who lives in France still follows it every year and always double-checks the count is right, otherwise she says, it won't be a good year. In the Christian tradition, the 13 desserts symbolize Jesus and his apostles. It also has a pagan meaning of rebirth. In Provence, they usually consist of : dried figs, almonds, nuts, walnuts, raisins, dattes, oranges or clementines, nougat (black and white), candied and fresh fruit and a special cake made with olive oil.

I deviated a bit to make it more Andalusian

almonds, raisins, walnuts, dattes, candied pear, a very hard turron (impossible to eat)

pomegranate because after all, it's our star fruit here, white grapes

dried figs from the Alpujarras, clementines from the valley, bugnes (a French specialty from the south of France which is also one the 13 desserts in some parts of France)

dried apricots
roscos de anis (a typical Andalusian pastry at Christmas) and polvoron (another typical Christmas sweet). These two counted as one, otherwise we had 14 desserts and I don't want to have a bad year !

Wish you a merry week end !

ps : this is the best Christmas tale I heard yesterday while listening to FIP radio : a man earned 8 millions euros at the Christmas lottery (can't remember if it was in the North of France or Belgium) and gave half of it to needy people in his village. Love it !

Monday, December 22, 2008

Olive branches, blue sky, blue ribbon and clementines.....

On Sunday, my friend Chris took me to a cortijo (orchard) which he looks after. He's just pruned the branches and I thought I could use some to decorate my little home for the holiday.

The sierra is still covered with snow but we're enjoying a very mild weather since yesterday.

back home, Monchéri and I made little circles with olive twigs and attached clementines with blue ribbon onto the chandelier

I added a crystal pear at the base

put some more blue ribbon on the mirrors as well. These colours are not Christmasy at all, I admit. It's just that I watched Elizabeth the golden age at least three times between friday and saturday and am under deep influence of the various shades of blue of some of the dresses.

we started to make pomanders, sticking cloves on oranges but after having painfully covered half an orange each, we gave up...I thought it would be fun but it really hurts your fingers...! I'll finish mine tomorrow if I have the courage. I'm quite happy this holiday decorating affair turned out to be very cheap : olive branches, fruit, ribbon, cloves. The only expensive item is this strassed sol key bought at the V&A shop in London two years ago.

we do not have a Christmas tree but a miniature olive grove which scintillates at night.....I love it so much I should have it in the bedroom. It will be like watching sparkling little stars before falling deeply asleep......

And to think....Christmas is this week.....!
I'll be back on wednesday to show you the 13 desserts....

Keep calm and carry on baking with a smile

ps : also I love this post so much I just had to share it with you. Thank you Tangobaby!
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