In Practice on December 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm
The Plaza de San Francisco is one of Seville’s most regal, lined as it is with the facades of the Audiencia, the Ayuntamiento and the Adriatica’s curved corner, not to mention the terrace of balconied, 18th century town houses that would have accommodated the great and the good – chief benefactors of the city’s waning golden age. It’s one of those spots in Andalucia’s capital where you can stop for a moment, raise your nose in the air – otherwise scented with oranges or their blossoms – and still catch the reek of all the money that came pouring into this town, off the backs of South American slave miners for the most part, I would have thought.
Dark history aside, it’s a beautiful place, and rarely dark in this day and age. On the contrary, the plaza is sunny and colourful, a venue for everything from Christmas markets to Easter processions. At a distance from its southeastern corner, but tall enough to preside over it, is the Giralda – Seville Cathedral’s bell tower, symbol of Spain and former minaret, topped now with a 16th century addition: the belfry. People forget that the Moors built skyscrapers. The Almohads in particular – they erected the Giralda as well as its sister tower in Rabat in their native Morocco, both of them modelled on the Koutoubia minaret in Marrakesh. More
In Plenary, Production on June 8, 2011 at 9:02 am
Poulshone, County Wexford; Ireland‘s sunny south east. Usually that’s a comparative term and somewhat misleading but not this year – the hottest summer anyone can remember.
The hottest since ’47 in fact.
I’m sitting on a patch of beachgrass and shading my eyes as I look across a dune at the little house with the cool-tiled, sand-strewn floor. That’s where I need to get. It is Aisling’s house, or Samantha’s or whatever her name was.
Dad is still alive.
The arc of sky above me is polarised by memory; an impossibly deep, dark blue – the expanses of sand below it a blinding white. Seurat style dots of other colour in the distance; tiny swimsuits wavering in the heat where sand sinks beneath water. Buckets, spades, armbands and inflatables; orange, pink, yellow – shark shapes and crumbling castles.
An ice cream afternoon. More
In Plenary, Presentation on March 30, 2011 at 9:16 am
The Spanish use the same word for time that they do for weather. It seemed odd to me at first but is making more and more sense. You only have to watch cloud shadow play across a hillside or observe the changes in people as they live through the different weathers thrown at them by a passing year to understand the word. I look it up and in fact ten possible meanings are listed:
Time has changed. Apart from my three hours in the afternoons with the kids – Monday through Thursday – I manage my own these days. I am no longer a time-labourer; I’m the farmer. There’s only so much that can be harvested and I need it for teaching, for getting shots, for writing. I need it for K, for our home, for fun. To think, to try new things, to plan, to sleep. It’s hard work and I’m not good at it. Yet. More