Himalyan Rock Crystal Salt and English Bay

If possible, I shower, but with my roving life I have to adapt to the circumstances of my location.

Currently I bath – in the turret of a castle overlooking the South Downs; which does make up a bit for having no shower I must admit.

As autumn is an the advent we have beautiful balmy days but the garden is losing its summer brightness. Some roses are still blooming and the Michaelmas daisies are flowering. After Michaelmas you must not pick brambles. The old wives tale is that the devil spit on their leaves. The modern version of this tale is that there may be micotoxins on the fruit due to a fungus that grows on the plants later in the season. Same story, different words.

Just yesterday I saw butterflies on the Michaelmas daisies. The gardener thought they were Red Emporors, but then was uncertain because they had orange and no red. But then the type seems like the Emperor, and there is another variety, but that is called the Peacock Emperor, which has green in it, he is sure. Must be Red Emperor then. Odd, his face says.

Also there is Lavender and Sage and lots of Melissa (which was handy for my cold, it has good anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, apparently effective against fever blisters).

Timeless and without much regard for the seasons a magnificent Cedar stands against the light. This morning I am touch typing so that I would not have to take my eyes off the beautiful expanse in front of me.

Did you know that Cedars have biorhythms, like us? Apparently when it is overcast, they sleep in! What sensible trees.

But back to business, the bathwater is already running. A pinch from a gift of Himalayan Rock Crystal Salt is already dissolving in the warm water. The towel rail is moved conveniently close to the bath. The gown is handy. All is ready

But I forgot something. A wanted Bay for my bath. Well there is nothing for it; I have to run down into the garden to collect a twig. Down the stairs and through the lounge out the kitchen door, over the bridge that leads past the fountain, squeeze past the roses to go down to the hedge of Bay.

I wonder if the Lady of the Castle knows of the old belief that Bay protects against witchcraft.

Does she know that Bay put under the running water of your bath will relieve sore muscles?

Just the one twig and crush it to let the essence out.

Whenever I feel bad for another living thing, as I do when crushing plants to get their essence out, I think of the Bushmen (San) of Africa. One of the few peoples on earth who didn’t destroy their habitat.

Realising that they have to eat and that this implies eating another living thing, they overcome this problem, not by refraining from nourishing themselves, but by giving thanks to the animal who gave its life so that they can eat. And when they leave a camp site, they give thanks for the place that gave them a home for a time.

Perhaps that is what it is to walk in grace.

So I lay back in the bath and think of the Himalayan Mountains where these crystals were formed who knows how long ago. Out of the rocks of a mountain formed when the earth collided.

The subtle scent of the Bay just enough to revive and connect to ages past.

Tomorrow I think I will put some Rose petals in the bath…

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Couscous Salad

It’s a fusion recipe I guess. The cumin and mint gives it a Maroccan flavour that is very couscous, but then the fresh peach adds a twist.

Start by making a flavoured couscous

Mix a teespoonof fresh  cumin (slightly bashed) and a pinch of dried mixed herbs into the couscous before adding the water to prepare according to the box instructions.

When the couscous is ready and slightly cooled add the

mint leaves ( I prefer spearmint but its your salad) or use mint jelly if you do not have fresh

mix soy souce, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in parts so that no one taste is overpowering – if you used a sweet mint jelly you will need more vinegar

pour over the couscous

If you have the time it is best to let the couscous rest for a while so that the flavours can develop, the cummin needs some time to truly flavour the couscous

‘Filling’

crush some pecan nuts to your preference and add in

cut fresh nectarines in segments and add to salad

add some cut boerewors from last night’s braai (or any other cooked meat)

shred a handful of rocket and add

complete the salad with a tablespoon of mayo

Catalonia

Catalonia, one of the Spains with Barcelona as capital. The border used to be quite a way over the Pyrinee into France.

001-Placa Catalunya

Round the 1500’s, Catalonia was a mighty empire that stretched all the way to Greece. Today after years of oppression by a central regime in Madrid they have home rule in many affairs.

047-Paleis
Paleis – Barcelona

Gaudì figurehead of Catalan modernism and his Sagrada Familia is probably the most well known son of the region. He claimed that the mediteranian people own the image, the northerners may lay claim to fantasy, but the image belongs to the south. Interesting assertion really as he seems quite well acquinted with fantasy.

The director of the school of architecture said ‘ today we bestowed this academic title either on a genius or an idiot, time will tell’ when Gaudì qualified.

Strange that people feel these concepts are mutualy exclusive..

043-DSC01125

But let’s not forget Montseral Caballé, who can forget Baaarcelona, with Freddie Mercury?

Barcelona hawe
Barcelona hawe

By the way, did you know Freddy was Parsi? People for Persia who moved toIndia some time ago. Fire worshippers after Zoroaster. The first great Asian pop star. Hy was born in Zanzibar.

But off course you knew that..

`
Plaça St Jaume – Barcelona

And off course Salvador Dalì. And Joan Miró. We are almost getting an impression of the catalan people, right or wrong. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

Straatmark - Barcelona
Straatmark – Barcelona voor die Santa Maria del Pi

Your average Catalan is taller than the rest of Spain and apparently they have a way of tilting their heads to the side when they are listening. I see a siamese cat..

On my way from the airport to the hotel, I got lost. All went well, I found the bus and paid my Quenta e quenta 5 euro 50 , got off the bus at the Plaça Catalunya and started looking for the hotel. I know I had to go down the Ramblas but I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, two ladies I asked for directions took one look at my bags and warned me not to walk in that area after dark. I was to go back to the Ramblas post haste and go over to the other side where the old town is.

On my way I found the Lycee (where Montserat did her training) and made enquiries at the little ship.

It was my first day in Spain and I hadn’t spent a lot of time in Europe. To this day I remember the pride with which the girl told me, no, she speaks Catalan, she is Catalan. Up till then I thought it was just a story of some historic situation. But no, they are very much a nation and proud of the heritage as well as their language.

In the region typically you see three languages, Spanish, Catalan and French. In Cataln it is parlo vir I speak, somewhere between the Spanish hablo and the French je parle sort of..

The other half of Catalonia is off course in France. Not many people there speak Catalan any more. Too many French kings telling them they are FRENCH I suppose.

But still they have a nationalistic feeling and Canigou, a mountain in the Pyrinee is a symbol of national unity.

16-Uitsig vanaf Chateau op Canigou (ander dae)
Canigou

Hope you enjoyed this one and to see you again soon!

The Spains

The Spanish speak of ‘the Spains’ in plural.

With Aragon, Castille,  Valencia at the coast, Anducia in the south, Galicia on the Atlantic – Celts, and Catalonia on the French border on the Meditaranean there is indeed more than one Spain. Each with their own language and heritage.

And that’s without mentioning the Basques, their language is so unique it is not even part of the collected Indo European languages.

Only the old Hungarian and Finnish share the priviledge as far as I know. Apparently there is a tribe in Siberia who’s language is also related to the old Hungarian.

It's a trip

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