Monday, August 24, 2009

Forced vacation at San Cecilio hospital in Granada

My lovelies, dear readers, if only I could tell you, I'm going to follow these two lovely girls on a tour but alas, this is not the case. Tomorrow morning, I'm heading to San Cecilia hospital in Granada for surgery. I've been postponing an operation for too long and now it's just become urgent.

At least last night, we spent a very pleasant evening watching a performance of Arabic-Andalusian dancing at El Corral del Carbon. The air was balmy and warm....a typical Andalusian night which always makes me feel very romantic. The night ended quietly and we leisurely wandered through the streets with our friends.

I'm supposed to stay four days at the hospital...pff...I can tell you I'm a bit reluctant to go but it needs to be done, so I have no other remedy than taking this forced vacation ! Here, when you have an operation pending - via the social security system - the hospital doesn't give you a fixed date. You just have to know that you'll get a call. That's it. So I went a little bit into a panic when the hospital called last thursday to say I was expected there on tuesday tomorrow.At the moment, we're right into what I call theChristmas card fever crisis, meaning we're rushing to get the new Christmas card collection finalized. In a way, it was a good thing for me to concentrate on the work so that I don't ask myself stupid questions like : what if I don't wake up after the anesthesia and so on...

I will surely miss my walks in Granada, buying tuberoses in the streets

I won't be able to dance in the streets for a few weeks..oh well....
there will be other days...

Oh I hope I can see the roofs of Granada through my window at the hospital. This would be a treat.

I leave you now and gosh I'll miss you !!

Have a great week.
Hopefully I'll be back on the blog next monday.



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sweet simplicity in Andalusia

I like the days when Monchéri cooks. It's nothing fancy or complicated. It's usually a dish of rice prepared the Andalusian way with sauté onions, red pepper, onions, garlic, chicken and white wine. I'm not allowed to enter the kitchen, not that he doesn't want to share the secret of his recipe but he likes his privacy; that is he likes to use the whole space, have all drawers open just in case he needs to grab a spatula or a knife.

And the music is very important too. Blues...John Lee Hooker and Etta James...preferably very loud....Monchéri says it helps him to concentrate on the rice cooking.
After one hour, I usually grow impatient and ask him if it's ready. He smiles and lights up a cigarette.

I sigh and go back to my work until he shouts out A comer ! (let's eat). He wants me to taste first. It's truly delicious and I eat it like food made with love.

Slowly and smiling.....If you'd ask me, what's your idea of a perfect summer day ?, I'm not too sure what my answers would be but for sure, I always cherish these easy simple days with no big expectation. These simple, ordinary days when life flows gently and the pleasures sum up to a quick nap under a tree and stealing mulberries from the

ps: for another simple pleasure, hop to my other blog !

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sneak peek on rehearsal in El Corral del Carbon

I wish I could tell you.....this is me dancing yesterday in El Corral del Carbon in Granada....Mais non ! We just happened to be there last night during the rehearsal of a classical Spanish play, La Venganza de Don Mendo.
El Corral del Carbon is one the greatest places in Granada to attend concerts and performances in summer.
Next sunday, we will go and see a performance of mixed flamenco and poetry....Can't wait!

ps : nothing to do with flamenco but I've been obsessed all week end by this

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dancing Picasso

I love it when my French friend Pascale texts me : Je suis à Roissy, je te prends le Côté Sud ?" I'm at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. Shall I buy Côté Sud for you? She's such a darling, she knows it's one of my favorite magazines and that I miss it more than French wine or cheese....well as much as real French croissants anyway !
So today, I had my precious magazine in hand, savouring each page of it and particularly the articles about Picasso and the various houses where he stayed in the south of France, among which the Château de Vauvenargues which will be opened to visitors this coming september. I was so charmed by the photo introducing the article, taken by American war photographer David Douglas Duncan, a close friend of the artist that I wanted to see more of the pictures he took of Picasso.

Duncan stayed with Picasso and Jacqueline, the artist's last love, at villa la Californie in Cannes. This is how Picasso greeted him when he arrived on february 8th 1956: from the bathtub with Jacqueline amorously scrubbing his back
here he is playing with his son Claude, whom he had with his former wife Françoise

I find this picture fantastic...Picasso does enjoy his fish ! and look at the dog standing by him...too cute
A lot had been said about Picasso's numerous lovers and tumultuous love life and conjugal infidelity but looking at the two photos below, all I see is the tender love of an aging man towards his younger wife
such a beautiful gesture of the can nearly feel the love....
In his book, Goodbye Picasso, Duncan wrote the following : "guests arriving at la Californie (those fortunate few of the day, or week, or even month when the gates opened to outsiders) were welcomed by Picasso, a host who was perhaps the best man on earth, certainly its most influential artist, who often garbed the visitor (and Jacqueline too) with gifts of his own creations...."

However, Picasso and Jacqueline will leave the big villa, La Californie, in Cannes for the château de Vauvenargues, in quest of more intimacy. I envy the happy few who will have the opportunity to go and visit !

(ps: to Mary's mom...thank you very much for your visit. I would love to go and visit your blog but i can't find the post on which you left your comment ! I've been checking on various old posts and just can't find it. Would you mind just leaving a comment with your link on this post so that I can click on it ? Thank you !)

all pics were taken by David Douglas at villa La Californie, between 1956 and 1960

first pic : Côté Sud - issue june-july 20o9

other pics from here

Monday, August 10, 2009

Granada in august....ici tout est calme, luxe et volupté

Ici tout est calme, luxe et volupté.....there all is order and beauty, luxury, peace and pleasure (translation William Aggeler)
Baudelaire wrote these verses thinking of the beautiful cities of the north but they apply so well to Granada, especially on a sunday in august. The granadinos escape from the city in august. Traffic is less, tourists are not so many, the weather is still hot but the heat is not so fierce. The pace is slow and I think it's a wonderful month to wander through the narrow streets of the Albayzin district at the foot of the Alhambra, drink some fresh mint tea in one of the numerous teterias (Moorish tea rooms) and just take in the beauty of the city.
Saturday night, we went to a jazz band concert in the village of Nigüelas featuring flamenco singer El colorado. It was a great night, filled with good spirit and mojitos....So the morning after, I left Monchéri in bed and went to Granada to do some scouting for the weddings. How I love Granada in august....There is such a feeling of peace, tranquility, quiet joy

I like the nice surprise of a fountain at the end of a little street

El paseo de los Tristes is certainly one the most picturesque street in Granada
if you look closely, you can see some people having a picnic, down by the river. Such a good idea !
I usually stop at my favorite place, Café au lait, for a fruit juice. There's always a guitar player around
yesterday, I visited two adorable hotels, set at the foot of the Alhambra and a lovely XVIth century palacete for the weddings (you can visit it on my other blog Un mariage au soleil). This is the inner patio of the second hotel. Naturally I will show you more pics very soon
indeed...this is nothing but luxury, peace and pleasure......

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sunshine and bloody mary

My lovelies, dear readers I wish you a great week end, whatever you do and wherever you are. We don't really have plans, besides visiting some new places in Granada for the weddings, a jazz concert on saturday may be. Surely on sunday morning, I'll miss this nice bloody mary my friends Josiane and Ernie prepared last week end. i'm posting more pics of their house today because I love it and am in love with these adorable 40s style iron benches below. Aren't they too cute ?
this says : "don't stare at me with your mouth open...just drink me!"
perfect sunshine
perfect shade
the rooms are filled with charming antique objects

the feeling is romantic
but the vital point of the house is the kitchen as Josiane and Ernie really really love cooking. And I mean it. While Ernie is making mojitos Josiane prepares some fish, this is what I call perfect team work !

now if I sum it all up, it's all perfect ingredients for a good relaxed summer holiday and look at those beautiful surroundings...

Have a great week end !

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Barcelona : the parc oasis of vegetation and extravaganza

This is surely one of the most wonderful public gardens in the world. The parc Güell designed by Gaudi between 1900 and 1914 had been commissioned to him by a rich entrepreneur Eusebi Güell whose wishes were to receive the social elite of Barcelona in amazing premises. The parc is so big, the ideal thing is to take a whole day to visit it. Unfortunately, time was a bit short for us but still we lingered a few hours in this stunning place where Gaudi's genius and creativity are definitely at their best. The day, we were there, the weather was warm and sunny. We strolled among the many tourists, passed by the casa-museo, this exquisite pale pink stylised building
the parc is situated in the north of Barcelona, with fantastic views on the port and the sea

We wanted to flee from the crowd of tourists...Imagine being in this romantic secluded house...

In the end, we lied down on the inviting grass. I took this pic of both of us, looking relaxed and so comfortable, we didn't want to leave and why leave ?
in front of us, this Gaudi-esque house intrigued us
above us, the olive branches made a perfect shade
the only thing we needed was more time to take in all this beauty really....

and to visit the other places we marked down on our list but skipped : the Arola restaurant (run by Sergi Arola, a former disciple of Ferran Adria) in the fabulous Arts hotel.

I also want to thank dear blogging friend David from Global Around Town. David posted about Barcelona some time ago and gave some very useful addresses. Also, in case, just like me, you look for hotels on Google, a friend gave me this very handy tip, a site called Hotels Combined (it gives you an extensive list of hotels, by price or category). This is how we found our hotel off the Ramblas and not too noisy !

I also wanted to say a big thank you to Caroline from Caroline's studio who very kindly mentioned my other blog Un mariage au soleil on her blog today. Caroline is a very gifted artist and designer so coming from her, it's very special....Thank you Caroline !

Also a big thank you to Des from Des in real life for mentioning my blog with such sweet words....

Monday, August 3, 2009


Dios mio, my blog is becoming like our days in august here....slow, merely inactive. I wish I could say "hot" too but not really and I apologize to my dear readers for not having come back on friday as I said to post more pics of Barcelona. Friday saw me half busy half lazy, then off we went for drinks and a concert. Saturday saw me sleepy and entirely lazy until the evening when a friend turned up and off we went to a party from which I've returned today. That is I shameless extended my stay and abused my friend's generous hospitality ! But tell me, honestly, if your friends are adorable hosts who serve you English breakfast in the morning served with a highly refreshing bloody mary and insist you stay a bit more and then a bit more...and tell you that in the evening, we'll prepare mojitos and grilled octopus, can you really say no ? Especially, if the hammock or sofa next to the swimming pool invites you for a siesta, after reading one of your host's fabulous Taschen coffee tables books on all types of interiors. So, this is what I have been doing until this morning : enjoying the Andalusian lazy hours.....
enjoying my luck really....and summer is so quickly gone that after all it's only justice to indulge in its simple pleasures, I'm sure you'd agree...
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