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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…

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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…

I’m trying desperately, desperately hard to remember where I am and why I should be happy. But godammit, I’m not. I’m afflicted with an imposing sense of malcontent, making me grumpy, angry even, with far more regularity than is usual or acceptable. The line down my brow has returned with a vengeance due to excessive scowling. The centre point beneath my ribcage feels fit to explode with frustration and a desire to do recklessness: the pressure of boredom. I remember the last time I had this feeling – when I was working at a supermarket and had no outside intellectual stimulus whatsoever. I would go to work, put on the customer service veneer for a few hours, and pound the walk home with my insides feeling like they wanted to burst out.

I’m bored on this island. It is pretty and warm and easy-going, and it is small and samey and cultureless. The same pish songs play relentlessly. There is nothing worthy of dancing to. Last weekend I was eating my breakfast when one such number began blaring from across the street. I had a fork in my hand and in all honesty that moment could have stabbed someone with it. The majority of the tourists are vacuous blonde types – educated, I mean they have brains in there, but not an interesting word seems to make it out of their mouths. The reprieve of anonymity is not available. Everyone sees and listens and gossips about everything you do in that small-town way that I detest my small-town hometown for so much. And you would not believe how tedious hot and sunny can get.

Therein lies another fundamental problem. Too much heat and too much sun fry the brain. I feel uninspired and by-and-large empty. Not much is going on up there. I hate to say it, but I need the winter. I need the edge of misery that comes with grim weather to needle the creative parts of my brain…

Despite the general discontent, moments of happiness do abound in small things. Drinking from a glass glass is a rare pleasure, as is an occasional dabble in hot water. Yesterday, I clambered over seaside rocks again. We located a source of plain yoghurt this week, and I earned enough money to splurge on some Danish cheese, which I ate on crackers with avocado whilst sipping a low-quality Chilean sauvignon, and by goodness did it make me smile. This morning I fed our adopted dog, Dingo – who is still terribly emaciated after suffering worms for so long – the remaining eggs from my brunch, which he enjoyed immensely. For a creature on the brink of starvation, he is unfathomably fussy, so I too was immensely happy that he ate the eggs.