Friday, May 30, 2008


On my very early morning walk round Essouira the other day, I came upon a shop which looked delightful.........

........on closer inspection my suspicions were confirmed.........

See all the lanterns and pretty ceramics with Islamic calligraphy on. Really the sort of place to discover treasures.


I don't very often do these but sometimes they seem fun.
Gemma of Greyscale Territory in Tasmania (now there's an exotic spot for you!) who has a most fascinating and poetic blog tagged me for this one.
I hope I have got all the parts of it right.

10 years ago
We were in the middle of preparing to move from Long Island to an apartment in Manhattan. Our daughter was about to graduate from high school.
I was working as a teacher.

5 places you have lived:

You can tell from this that I'm a very lucky person.....

Oxford, England
Florence, Italy
Los Angles, California
Long Island, NY
Marrakech, Morocco

3 bad habits (I'm glad we only had to put three!)
Playing much too much online solitaire
Loving sugar
Being too early for everything

If I was a billionaire
Aside from fixing all the world's problems and making crusades against everything bad and giving universal health care and education and all that, and making people be kinder to one another......
On a personal level I would employ a wonderful, simple cook to make us lovely healthy meals that I didn't plan.
I would have a little farm with chickens and ducks, a donkey and a super huge garden
I would have a massage every day.......
This is fun, I could go on and on.
In fact I wouldn't need a billion dollars at all........

5 jobs I've had
Since I'm very ancient, I've had lots of jobs some odder than others.

My first real job was at Blackwell's antiquarian book shop in Oxford.
I sold hand-knitted sweaters to tourists opposite the Pitti Palace in Florence.
I taught English and History in Peckham, South London
I was a rather useless salesperson selling "Contemporary French Impressionist" paintings ( don't ask!) at the Wally Findlay Galleries on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
I taught creative writing for 22 years on Long Island while moonlighting as an art critic for LI Newsday

5 people to tag to pass the meme on

Please only do this if you have time.
Also anyone else who would like to join in, please do.........
These are just a few people with super blogs.........

Paz of Paz's New York Minute
Willow of Willow Cottage
Sara of Much Ado About Something
Constance of Rochambeau
Sarah of Passementeries Diary

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sea Urchins

L1000545.JPG, originally uploaded by schmidwix2.

A better photo - Robert took it with his camera which takes close-ups which mine refuses to.
I'm afraid I haven't been very good with visiting other blogs lately since we have had (delightful) house guests in the little house for 10 days. I feel a bit out of the loop but will try to get back to normal soon.

Moulay Bouzerktoun

One of my absolute favorite places in the world is Moulay Bouzerktoun which we first visited ten years ago. It is a tiny village on the coast some 25km north of Essouira. Now it has a tarmac road leading to it - then there was just a cart track.

It might be nice to live in a miniscule cottage there.

The beach is huge and desolate and we collected sea urchins. A farmer and his sheep and goats walked behind us towards the village. There are perfect sand dunes.

The mosque and the tomb of the saint seem almost to tumble into the Atlantic.
The three fishing boats are the very traditional blue.

The water was good for paddling but it was too cold to swim.

There is a rather lovely cafe high up overlooking the ocean and all the wonderful buildings.
Surfers come here in RV's - but not very many of them.

I wonder what it will be like ten years hence? One hopes it stays the same. This picture is looking south towards Essouira.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dawn on the Battlements

Looking east at 6 am.
We are on the coast in Essouira. This is taken from the Portuguese fortifications.

A very ancient door.............

...........and an intrepid cat.................

Walking back into town..............

We wanted to go to the beach but the weather was overcast. We ended up going anyway..........see tomorrow's entry.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Light Falls........

................on a House on Rue Prince Moulay Rachid just off the main square. I love the soft green of the window frames.
A palm tree casts a wonderful reflection over the front door......

This is the bank next to the previous house. The interior is wonderful French colonial architecture - but they won't let me take photos there.

This is at the Bahia Palace; the scalloped looking shadow is the edge of the roof tiles.

Also Bahia Palace where there are no windows but the light falls from above.

A long hallway..........

Friday, May 23, 2008


DSCN3343, originally uploaded by schmidwix2.

The Bahia Palace again - the falling apart bit.
Am overwhelmed with stuff to do.
Will attempt a better post soon.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Riad elArsa

We have a very little, charming house, but some of our friends have more wonderful ones.
For example, it would be lovely to have banana trees in the courtyard and a little pool to dip into on hot days.
The fruit trees mean the house is a real 'riad'.

An old, painted ceiling and some antiques would be lovely too.........

and lots of chairs to sit on in the courtyard.......

Some of our friends just live in the houses themselves, part or all of the year, and some have paying guests when they are not using all the rooms themselves.
Pretty nice to stay in a real home rather than The Holiday Inn or something generic.

The bedrooms are all on the second floor and look out onto the interior courtyard.

At our friends Susie and David's riad you can lounge on the roof and relax in the sun.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday Morning in the Jardin Majorelle

I have a great friend from Long Island, and one of her friends staying. So I'm in tour guide overdrive.
I am very fierce since I hate tourists and crowds.
Why do I live here? Hmm.

Anyway, it means I make the poor jet-lagged friends get up very early.
So we are the very first people anywhere.
The man at gate of The Jardin Majorelle told me we were numbers one two and three for the day.
The light is also better.

The colors!

They have repainted the little pavilion..............

Such fans of palms!

I always used to think I liked old houses - now I like the simplicity of things 'moderne'.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Morning at the Bahia Palace

If you get to things very early, before the hordes of tourists appear, everything is lovely and peaceful.
The best part of the palace is the most distant.
Looking from the courtyard into the furthest garden.............

where young women were cleaning the fountains............

Almost everything is rather ancient, decrepit, and falling apart........which is what makes it so wonderful.

Even the plastic bucket has a certain charm.

Inside the palace light falls through stained glass onto yet another marble basin........

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Musee de Marrakech

The internet went down for 2 days while I was in the middle of writing this post ( am writing this on Monday morning!) The photos here are from the Musee de Marrakech.
The part where they have contemporary art shows.

One of the rewards of blogging is meeting new and like-minded people.
After e-mails and so forth, one actually gets to put a name to the face.

Yesterday I went to Cafe France to meet Penny, Laurence and Toby
I always meet people here - very public -lots to look at.

After having mint tea, they took a tour of our little house where Robert was painting the salon - the whole place was a mess but they were very nice about it anyway....

Then we went to the Medersa ben Youssef and to the Museum - where as usual light falls in marvellous ways..........

We came back via the souks where, Toby looked into all sorts of fascinating shops with strange old things including very old, small sewing machines........

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Day: Wednesday May 15th

Frank Gardner, a wonderful painter who lives in Mexico was asked by Alicia Padron, a wonderful children's book illustrator, to write about a day in his life.
He did, and it was most interesting. I always see lots of similarities between Morocco and Mexico.
Needless to say, this being the blogosphere, he was asked to pass the idea along......

I wake up about six, or when the light through the green glass above the bedroom door looks bright.
Tea. E-mails. Write blog.
Squeeze oranges for fresh juice.
In the morning I write. Yesterday I was editing. I managed this for about three hours.
Robert painted and the kittens did kitten things like using cherries as soccer balls.

Since we live in a busy part of the medina, the streets are always full of people.

The other day I told someone I was going to do a post on stripy costumes. So I went looking for people to take photos of.
Then I felt stalkerish.

So I went to a little shop round the back of Cafe France where they sell the material to make the stripy djellabahs and took pictures of the fabrics instead. Attention Maryam -lots of wonderful fabrics here for you!

I also took a picture of a wall - which, as usual -looks like an abstract painting.
Then Robert and I had lunch in the courtyard.
Cheese, hobz -flat bread. Small tomatoes, olives, Crunchips - potato crisps/chips. Robert loves them - they are rather a luxury and Ismail always has some whenever he stops by.

I had been promising Amina, my Berber friend, that I'd have my hand henna'd for the longest time. I hadn't had it done since before we went to America.
I told Robert to take a picture of it with the henna still wet. He said we had lots of pictures of henna already. So I said - Take it anyway. He did.
Nap time. I try not to get the still wet henna on the bedclothes.

More writing..........

This is one of the many little children who play in the derb - some enchanting, some mischevious.......
He was playing on the shutters of "Bis" our nearest shop, which was obviously closed.
We had chicken for supper with lima beans and rice - cooked by me. Followed by peaches I had stewed at home - this is what you do if you haven't gobbled them all up already. They last longer poached with one little lump of sugar.
Then we watched an episode of "The Sopranos" that we had downloaded from the internet.
Then Robert read War and Peace. I read Antonio Tabucchi on Merisi's suggestion.
Went to sleep about 11pm.
A very satisfactory day.
Gosh, we are boring!