Train 2013 001

Dear Reader, I have neglected you, I know.

There are reasons but writers always have Very Good Reasons for not writing, so I won’t list them here.

Nor will I have any regrets though because since my last blog when I considered growing older I have been on so many adventures – in the circumstances I decided that was the best thing to do.

My partner and I travelled down through Spain to Morocco. Not only did we cross plains and mountains, we became time travellers too.  As neither of us speaks  Spanish it was sometimes like watching a foreign film with no subtitles, guessing at dialogue: a lovers’ tiff in a bar, two old women on a bus nudging each other and gesticulating, a mother pulling her bored daughter’s hair in the mosque-cathedral in Cordoba…

Moors & Christians 2013 003

Entering the Mezquita, the great medieval mosque-cathedral in Córdoba, everyone is dazzled by the stunning geometry of columns made with jasper, onyx, marble, granite.  If you listen to the audio guide it tells you first one ruler built a shrine to the glory of his God, then another came, knocked some of the first one down and built his new one on exactly the same spot sometimes using the very same materials, stones.  Side by side stand the arches and naves of two world religions, a reminder of that long-drawn conflict.

One thing I love about my city, Brighton & Hove,  is that each winter Palmeira Square lawns boast both a twinkly giant Chanukah menorah and a Xmas tree.

In places like  Córdoba’s mosque-cathedral, I always think how would I explain to, say, my young god-daughter what happened there.  I could tell her it was all a long time ago and we don’t do that anymore now but that wouldn’t be true.   How would I explain that people slaughtered and exploited each other thoughtlessly, mercilessly and, while doing so, they produced music, sculpture and architecture of such beauty it takes your breath away and makes your eyes sting?