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After an unintentional Friday night out last week, which took in…

– a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant

– a power of wine before the food (mmm, ceviche) arrived –

– a plaza-full of squat bars

– a West African band (to my delight)

– dancing to bassy-dub-type sounds (also to my delight)

– a robbery (to no delight whatsoever)

– a contender for the worst toilet in the Western Hemisphere (to my nausea)

– and walking in a circle for an hour or so before finding the way home

…my Saturday plans were in ruination and I had to spend the entire day languishing, day-dreaming of eating the eggs and toast I was too sickly to get up and cook, and, unexpectedly, feeling an anxious longing to be among greenery, shrubbery, foliage, lush gardens of green.

Sunday, I did the only thing I could to soothe my botanical desires and took an afternoon stroll down by the Guadalquivir and into Maria Luisa park:

Muelles de la...

Not exactly verdant, but one of several fountains along a tidy section of the riverbank, which I assume are dedicated to the various barrios of riverside industriy that would at one time have been present, each fountain bearing a different name.

I put on my 50mm lens since I hadn'y used it is a while, a nice low f-number for making  a bokeh effect of the pink bush.

I put on my 50mm lens since I hadn’t used it in a while, a nice low f-number for making a slight bokeh effect of the pink bush.

GREEN - just what I was after. This was some sort of cheese plant sort. I had an obsession with cheese plants as a child. There was a huge one in the doctors' waiting room. See, cheese has always been on my mind...

GREEN. Just what I was after. This was some sort of cheese plant. I had an obsession with cheese plants when I was little. There used to be a huge one in the doctors’ waiting room. See, cheese has always been on my mind…

Children on tricycles, terrorising the park-going public. At some point I also saw a family of half a dozen or more, careering around on one of those bus-pedalo things, hooting ans screaming and having the time of their lives.

Children on tricycles (albeit with four wheels), terrorising the park-going public. At one point I also saw a family of half a dozen or more careering around on one of those bus-pedalo things, hooting and screaming and having the time of their lives.

Any musings of paradise were swiftly brought to an end, however, when I returned to my street and to the rubbish strike. This was on Sunday - they only called off the protest yesterday. The rubbish mountain is still there. You can imagine... On a political note,

Any musings of paradise were swiftly brought to an end, however, when I returned to my street and to the rubbish strike. This was on Sunday – they only called it off yesterday. The rubbish mountain is still there. You can imagine…  Despite the disruption, though, the strikers didn’t win any concessions and for that, I’m sad. Hard times in España, true dat.

I was refreshed and ready to take in a touch more nightlife again by Sunday evening, heading to Ánima for some live musics – a bar Andalucian in appearance, with an Austrian dueño who serves goulash and mulled wine, and, it seemed, frequented by a fortunate wealth of fit, bearded men. The band wore black hats and played in a klezmer style. I must say, I was relieved to find that there is a little music culture going on in Seville after all. I’d been starting to worry…

I made it out on Sunday night again to this venue, with

Ánima. You can just make out a silhouette of hat and clarinet by the door frame. Beard+hat, by the way – win-win combination.

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I had three tasks to fulfil this afternoon, all of which remain undone to nag another day. Instead, I went out into the wild gale that had woken me more than once in the night.  It was strangely enticing – an Andalucían storm.

Que vientoso! This was the only shot I'd initially set out to take today, one portraying the mad wind.

Que vientoso! This was the only shot I’d initially set out to take today, one to illustrate the mad wind.

I wanted to get some more postcards to send home so headed for the touristy district surrounding the Cathedral , then decided to wander on into Barrio Santa Cruz, also touristy and the surest place to lose your bearings in a flash. Narrow alleys of meandering trajectory, designed to keep out the choking summer heat; high, blank walls masking lush, fountained wombs from the curious flaneur.

But, I digressed... into monochrome. Look up in Santa Cruz, and this is what you may see. These iron sun-ray semi-circles that commonly designate the division between buildings in a block here

But, I digressed… into monochrome. These iron sun-ray semi-circles that commonly designate the division between buildings in a block, actually remind me of Havana. Of Calle Virtudes and my wonderful ‘casa particular’, where you could see these same things from the roof terrace.

The city took me by surprise when I reached the outer edge of Santa Cruz and crossed over a busy road into an area previously unknown. The transformation was stark – in a few steps from sightseers paradise to urban, recession reality. Abandoned factories, Soviet-style tower blocks on the horizon; sirens, smashing glass and yells of what I knew without doubt to be aggressive drunks, all carried on the screaming wind. It’s the first time I’ve stumbled upon a part of Seville like this, and I must say, I liked it.

'The rich Spaniards die first'. Seville, I think, like to think itself a bit 'pijo', a bit superior. But 'la crisis' looms here just as hard. There's a lot of homeless in Sevilla, and this abandoned market, scrawled with anarchist grafiti (mostly less incendiary than the statmement here

‘The rich Spaniards die first’. Seville, I think, likes to think itself a bit ‘pijo’, a bit superior. But ‘la crisis’ looms here just as hard. There’s a lot of homeless in Sevilla, and this abandoned market, scrawled with anarchist graffiti (most less incendiary than the above) strikes as one of their many haunts.

I’d already decided to shoot in monochrome due to the cloudy weather and resulting poor light. I couldn’t have done justice to the yellows and reds of the stucco, the oranges in the trees (the streets stank of oranges today, by the way, cast from the trees by the storm and smashed upon the pavement). But now I started to wonder if perhaps I just like to seek out the dark in places. Here I am, seeking with intent to turn up the dark side of the colourful crown of Andalucía.  This says more about me, of course, than it does about Sevilla.

I do have a fascination with the undersides of bridges. This one made a welcome reprieve from picturesque, historical central Sevilla.

I have a fascination with the undersides of bridges. This one made a welcome reprieve from the picturesque history of the centre.

Rain started to spit through so I turned back towards the Old Town. As I crossed back over the main road a jogger came the other way. Statuesque; not Spanish. I caught his eye; he looked Irish. He smiled at me, and left me wondering just what it is that I want…

Blowing in the wind - storm-blasted palms, shedding debris all over town.

Blowing in the wind – storm-blasted palms, shedding debris all over town.

On the way home I stopped off for a merienda (afternoon tea, usually consisting of coffee and cake, to tide you over until the late Spanish evening meal) at a place opposite the Cathedral. Good service is hard to come by here, most ‘hospitality’ staff suffering from catatonic indifference. But the first time I went into this place, after a morning of frustrating bureaucracy when I’d only just moved here, I hadn’t even got my coat off and the waiter was there to ask what I’d like to drink. The same guy was working this afternoon and despite the place being packed full, he acknowledged me right away. A blue-eyed man, sallow-skinned, heading towards middle-age and carrying a little weight. My favourite Seville waiter so far (even more than the beautiful boy who served me on my first day here, so beautiful I couldn’t even get out the words ‘quiero pagar’).

End of the road

I tried to lurk in this road end, waiting to better frame the next passer-by. It seemed wise to call a halt to this, though, when a scooter came racing round the corner. Playing pedestrian (or dim-witted photographer) in Sevilla is not the safest pursuit.

I was sat in a stool facing the back wall, the only free seat. At first this seemed a terrible position for people-watching (surely the best thing about stopping out for a coffee), but there was a small, immaculately clean mirror on the wall in front, positioned perfectly, like looking through a letterbox onto the café behind me. It seemed a great opportunity for a few sneak-shots, but alas, the camera battery did what it had been threatening for over an hour, and died.

Religious motifs and icons for sale. Que catòlico...

Religious motifs and icons for sale. Que católico…

Last Sunday (it rained today); a stroll from Arjona, down the riverbank and into town…

Man with a nice back. Looking over the Guadalquivir to Triana.

Man with a nice back. Looking over the Guadalquivir to Triana.

Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), originally a Moorish guard post, used by the Spanish to store gold plundered from the Americas. A classic Seville landmark.

Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), a classic Seville landmark. Originally a Moorish guard post, later used by the Spanish to store gold plundered from the Americas.

There are always rowers and kayakers going up and down the Guadalquivir. They're incredibly picturesque, especially at sunset.

There are always rowers and kayakers going up and down the Guadalquivir. They’re incredibly picturesque, especially at sunset – the way the ripples sweep out across the water. This isn’t a great shot – out of focus and I clicked the shutter a little too late. But I think the rowers will offer up many more opportunities…

Late afternoon silhouettes on the Puente de San Telmo, one of multiple bridges that now cross the Guadalquivir.

Late afternoon silhouettes on the Puente de San Telmo, one of multiple bridges that now cross the Guadalquivir. The barrio of Triana, on the other side from the old town, still maintains its independence from Sevilla, for many centuries only connected to the city by one bridge.

This one is a cheeky crop, but I wanted to be able to see the old lady's face better. I like the light and the colours in the scene, on the last day of Christmas.

This one is a cheeky crop, but I wanted  the old lady’s face to be more visible. I like the light and the colours in this scene, on the last day of Christmas.

Luminoso, on Calle Alfonso XII. Seville has quite a lot of these ridiculously ostentacious furnishings shops, in which I never see any customers.

Luminosity on Calle Alfonso XII. Seville has quite a lot of these ridiculously ostentatious furnishings shops, in which I never see any customers.

Yesterday’s sunny Autumn day offered a fine opportunity for a hilltop stroll…

The onslaught of Arctic winds (in all seriousness – straight from the NNW) froze my fingertips and made photographing a little challenging, but the images I came away with really capture the fluidity and drama of the light (and the weather) at this time of year…

Mmmm, desolation…

From desolate to picture-postcard in 5 minutes…

I have a couple of panoramas from the top of the Caterthun I’m going to try and stitch together.

And it was the last day of Autumn indeed – today, snow arrived on the wind…

Since I’ll be leaving the country again soon, and indefinitely, I thought I’d best make the most of my remaining time at home and get out into the landscape, by far the best thing about my homeland. My home county of Angus is a tourism backwater, and its dismal towns either suffer for it, or are the cause of it, it’s hard to say which. But the agricultural pastures which roll between hills and woodland and right to the cliffs of the North Sea shore make it the most beautiful of the land, in my opinion, and are what shall one day bring me back.

Though I took a lot of classic shots of that landscape today, I’ve chosen slightly abstract ones which display textures:


Light through the beech leaves and on the bare dreels, post-harvest.

I like this one cause it doesn’t really fit. It’s ambiguous, homogeneous even. It could be anywhere, though it makes me think of Kansas, or Nebraska. Not that I’ve ever been to either, but I did fly over them in an aeroplane once…

This is my favourite photograph from Dallas. Though the patchwork of analogous colours with the contrasting sky has an appeal, there is something in its proportionality that draws me more. I am always drawn to images with nice arrangements of lines. The pleasure in this sort of aesthetic seems to come from something mathematical, rather than classically visual elements, or the interest piqued by a subject.

A picture of nothing in particular, but something at all…

I have ventured into the ungainly medium of Flickr. See the rest of the set here.